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Paula Havaste

Paula Valpuri Havaste (née  Aho)
Born April 15, 1962, Rovaniemi

Master of Arts, 1989 and Licentiate of Philosophy (Finnish Literature), 1991, University of Helsinki
Doctor of Philosophy, 1998, University of Oulu

Programme Director and Events manager 2004-, Heureka Science Park
Assistant, 1990-96, Department of Finnish Literature, University of Helsinki
Publicist, 1997-2004, Finnish National Theatre

Awards and current positions of trust
Kalle Päätalo Award 2004
Laila Hirvisaari Award 2004
Konstiniekka Cultural Award, Nurmijärvi Municipality 2012
Deputy chair, Tieteen tiedotus ry (’Publicising science’)
Board member, Lauri Jäntti Foundation
Board member, Union of Finnish Writers
Member, literature division, Alfred Kordelin Foundation

Photo: Marek Sabogal
Written by Paula Havaste
Translated by John Calton

In my dreams I write

I have been publishing literature since 2003. Writing is a cherished, earnest and demanding pastime, because creative writing is somehow never ready. There’s always room for improvement, things to learn and try out, and meanwhile you have to able to ease yourself over the high barbed-wire fence of self-doubt. You have to recognise when the text is fit for publication, even if it’s not perfect. You have to let go, and the same goes for factual writing. A good work of non-fiction should be engaging – in structure and language a skillfully wrought piece.

My dream would be to write everything that I’ve had planned to write. I have a few ideas for books, but more pressing is the work-in-progress on a third long series, and a fourth if we count the fairy tale. And my head is buzzing with the subjects for the two next novel series.  What is it that makes me spend evenings and weekends, holidays and days off writing the next novel? The moment when the plot slots into place makes it all worthwhile. It’s great to realise that I’ve come up with the idea that’s kept me busy for a number of years.

Even more fantastic is the writing process itself. When a carefully worked out synopsis runs away from me and is hijacked by a text that I haven’t planned for, but still fits in and opens up completely new possibilities, the writing experience is profound. Call it flow if you like, but the best is that it’s spontaneous. Flow is something you can entice, you can set it up, but the moment it happens you’d better forget cold logic and method. It’s the moment that makes it all worth it.

Photo: Kari Havaste.​
Photo: Kari Havaste.​


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