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Sirpa Kähkönen

Sirpa Helena Kähkönen
Born September 15, 1964 Kuopio

Studies in literature, University of Tampere, and comparative literature and history (Swedish language) 1984–89, University of Helsinki

Freelance writer 1996–
Otava publishing house 1991–96
University of Helsinki history project 1988–90
Helsinki University Library 1987–88

Publications, awards and special achievements:

Novels: Kuu taskussa (‘Moon in your pocket’) 1991, Lukittu lähde (‘Closed source’) 1994, Mustat morsiamet (‘Black brides’) 1998, Rautayöt (‘Iron nights’) 2002, Jään ja tulen kevät (‘Springs of ice and fire’) 2004, Lakanasiivet (‘Linen wings’) 2007, Neidonkenkä (‘Calypso’) 2009, Hietakehto (‘Sand cradle’) 2012, Graniittimies (‘Granite man’)2014

Nonfiction: Valoa ja varjoa (‘Light and shadow’)(with Jaana Iso-Markun) 2007, Vihan ja rakkauden liekit (‘The flames of hate and love’) 2010, Kuopion taivaan alla (‘Under the Kuopio sky’) 2011

Plays: Tilkkuenkelit (‘Patchwork angels’) 2008, Helene S. – rakkaudella (‘Helene S. – with love’) 2014, Palava kaupunki (‘Burning city’) 2015.

Numerous translations into Finnish. Columnist for several newspapers and periodicals.

Pro Finlandia Medal 2015

Kiitos Kirjasta literary prize 2008

Savonia literary prize 1999

State Award for Children's and Youth literature 1992

Nominated for the Finlandia Prize 2007, 2014, and the Finlandia Prize for Nonfiction 2010.

Photo: Otava
Written by Sirpa Kähkönen (Kaija Hartikainen ed.)
Translated by Matthew Billington

My Dream

My dream is that in the Finland of the future it will still be possible for a girl from a poor family to make as great a leap as I have made. I dream that children living amidst hardship will receive help and support; that everyone will be afforded human dignity and the right to an education and the knowledge to allow them to live up to their full potential.

When it comes to my own growth as a human being, I dream about mastering the Russian language and being able to read Russian literature as it was originally written. As my time as the mother of a family will soon be over, and my daughter will begin an independent life, I hope that my strength and health will allow me see and experience the world with the same passion and curiosity I had when I backpacked across Europe as a penniless young woman. During those trips I delved deep into history and art. I hope I will find that same inspiration and that the same simplicity will still be enough: a piece of bread, a bottle of water, a brim hat, a pen and a notebook.

“Eat cat!” shouts the little girl with sailor cap. Photo from the home archive of Sirpa Kähkönen.
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