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Merete Mazzarella

Signe Merete Mazzarella
Born February 4, 1945, Helsinki.

Master of Arts (English Philology), 1968, Doctor of Philosophy (Swedish Literature), 1981, University of Helsinki.

Acting Professor of Nordic Literature, 1995-8, Professor, University of Helsinki, 1998-2008
Lektor, Finnish Literature written in Swedish, University of Helsinki, 1973-95
Author, Literary Critic and Columnist

Literary and Research Interests:
Gender issues, autobiography, essay writing, medical humanities

Awards and Honours:
Längmanska fondens finlandssvenska pris (Längmanska Foundation Finland-Swedes Prize), 2015
Ehrnroothska säätiön kunniapalkinto (Ehrnrooth Foundation Special Award), 2010
State Prize for Public Information, 2008
Honorary Doctor (Medical Faculty), University of Uppsala, 2007
Tegnér Prize, 2007
De nios Prize 2005
Lundequistiska bokhandel prize 2004
State Prize for Art, 2002
Fredrika Runeberg prize, 1995
Folktingets förtjänstmedalj (Swedish parliament’s service medal), 1994
Swedish Literature Society Prize, 1986, 1990

Nominee for Nordic Council’s literature prize (2008), Finlandia prize, non-fiction category (2001), Finlandia Prize (2009), Runeberg Prize for Literature (2014)

Photo: Schildts & Söderströms / Lorna Bartram
Written by Merete Mazzarella (Tomas Sjöblom, ed.)
Translated by John Calton

My best memories from the University of Helsinki

From my student years, I remember with particular warmth, first, the young lecturers of English – especially Diana Webster – who fed my appetite for literature, and second, long discussions at the cafeteria with my fellow students. (Do students still talk to each other? Or do they just sit looking at their phones?)

As for my times as a university teacher, I remember how much fun it was to teach text analysis and essay writing. Sometimes the students would be so excited about text analysis that they would spontaneously stay in the lecture hall to talk about a poem. In the essay courses they would find their own voice. As professor, my most significant moment came when Holger Lillqvist handed in Avgrund och paradis ('The abyss and paradise'), his doctoral dissertation on the poet Edith Södergran  – it was the first doctoral dissertation in my subject since my own twenty years earlier.

Merete Mazzarella lecturing on writing and her book ”Fredrika Charlotta född Tengström” (2007) in 2008. Picture: Mika Federley.​
Merete Mazzarella lecturing on writing and her book ”Fredrika Charlotta född Tengström” (2007) in 2008. Picture: Mika Federley.​


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