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Kersti Juva

Kersti Anna Linnea Juva
Born September 17, 1948, Helsinki

Bachelor of Arts, 1972, Master of Arts (English Philology), 2002, University of Helsinki

Finnish Translator of classic English authors, children’s literature, contemporary fiction, detective fiction as well as plays and radio dramas



Best known Finnish translations: J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, and works by Shakespeare, Jane Austen and A.A. Milne.

State Prize for Literature, 1976 (for Taru Sormusten Herrasta ~The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien and Ruohometsän kansa ~ Watership Down, Adams) and 1986 (for Hobitti ~ The Hobbit, Tolkien and Paperimiehet ~The Paper Men, Golding)
Finnish Cultural Foundation, Special Commendation, 2006
Arts Professor, 2008
Honorary Doctorate, University of Eastern Finland, Faculty of Arts, 2014

Photo: Sami Kero/HS
Written by Kersti Juva and Kaija Hartikainen (ed.)
Translated by John Calton

My best memory of the University of Helsinki

I was a 20-year-old student girl when my parents came to tell me, with grave expressions on their faces, that I had been asked to be the yleinen seppeleensitojattar, literally 'general laurel binder', guiding the others binding the ceremonial laurels for the new graduands for the Faculty of Arts graduation ceremony in 1969. I agreed without hesitation. The old student building had been occupied the previous winter and mobilisation was already underway at the University. The graduation committee even thought that it might be the last festive graduation ceremony. I did not regret my decision. I had loads of fun, regardless of the fact that two days before the ceremony I had crashed my little light blue scooter on my way home from dance practice. I had to have 19 stitches to my face and the ultimus, who had been riding pillion, broke a rib. I took part in the ceremony festooned with a black eye.

Since then I have been entitled to attend nearly all of the Faculty of Arts graduation ceremonies: you could call me General Ms Laurel Binder. In 2002 I finally stood erect on Mount Parnassus myself.

Laurel wreath binder in 1969. The newly-graduated Masters of Art lift the wreath binder in a sedan chair.​
Laurel wreath binder in 1969. The newly-graduated Masters of Art lift the wreath binder in a sedan chair.​


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