Go Back

Jukka-Pekka Pietiäinen

Jukka-Pekka Pietiäinen
Born November 23, 1956,  Helsinki.

Master of Arts, 1978, Licentiate of Philosophy 1986, and Doctor of Philosophy (Finnish History), University of Helsinki
Docent, Finnish History, 1988-, University of Helsinki

Executive Director, Suomen tietokirjailijat ry - the Finnish Association of Non-fiction Writers
Chair, Bibliofiilien Seura (Finnish Society of Bibliophiles) , 2009-15
Book publisher, Edita, 1995-2006
Full-time historical author, 1981-95

Research interests: All aspects of independent Finland’s history, history, present and future of non-fiction writing in Finland.

Sulkakynä (‘The quill’) award, Pekka Tarjanne Fund

Photo: Linda Lappalainen
Written by Jukka-Pekka Pietiäinen (Riitta-Ilona Hurmerinta, ed.)
Translated by John Calton

My best memories of the University of Helsinki

I wrote my school-leaving examinations in 1975. I had wanted to study Finnish literature. Since I had been rather lazy during my last years at school, my mediocre final certificate rather ruled that out. But I was also interested in history. I noticed that the subject admitted a third of candidates on the basis of the entrance examination alone.

On the first attempt I was put on a reserve list. On the second attempt I was in: a place to study Finnish history at the University of Helsinki. This opened up an entirely new world, the like of which I could hardly dream of. Compared to school it would be possible to go at your own pace, a greater pace.

I wanted to learn and know more. I started subsidiary subject studies in the history of art and Finno-ugric ethnology for the simple reason that I wanted to get a proper education. I also tried and succeeded in getting a place in the Faculty of Political Science, where I also completed a number of courses. Exams posed little problem. I graduated quickly. I applied for a postgrad place largely for economic reasons. I applied and got funding in a situation where I didn’t have salaried employment. The University Library, the National Library of Finland, and the National Archives Service of Finland all became home from home. At the refectory of the National Archives I got to know some people very much my senior - Ilkka Mäntylä, Kari Selén, Henry Rask and Jussi Kuusanmäki. No topic was out of bounds in our lunch meetings. I often joined Professor Tuomo Polvinen for lunch. He has had a significant impact on my ideas about history, although he probably isn’t aware of it.

Among my immediate family I am the first to be awarded a Master’s, a licentiate and a doctoral degree. A mediocre school certificate was followed by a magna for the Master’s and topped by an eximia grade for the doctorate. My research career then changed in 1995 and somewhat to my surprise I became a publisher. And the surprises keep coming.

The Finnish National Library. Photo: Sanna Järvinen.​
The Finnish National Library. Photo: Sanna Järvinen.​


Go Back