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Viljami Puustinen

Antti Viljami Puustinen
Born December 18, 1969, Helsinki

Master of Arts (Theatre Research) 2006, University of Helsinki
Vocational qualification in Business and Administration 1992, Espoonlahti Business College

Freelance journalist and writer of non-fiction 2011–
Editor-in-chief 2007–2011, Rumba-lehti
Assistant, inter alia, Ylioppilaslehti, Like Uutiset, Johnny Kniga kertoo, Kauppalehti, Bisnes.fi, Image, Iso Numero (Finnish version of the Big Issue)
Record shop salesman 1992–1994, Fazer Music Itäkeskus

Kingston Wall – Petri Wallin saaga, Like 2014
22-Pistepirkko, Like 2005
This is USA – Hellsinki rock&roll underground ‘89–‘99, Like 2000

Photo: Pete Leppänen / Like Kustannus

Written by Riitta-Ilona Hurmerinta
Translated by Matthew Billington

Knowledge Can Be Found by Those Who Seek It

Viljami Puustinen spell as editor-in-chief of the music magazine Rumba was limited to five years. He is also done with books on the history of rock music, at least for the time being. Now he is concentrating on writing about the cultural history of late 19th century Finland.

– At the moment I am a freelance journalist and a non-fiction writer. Of course I would like to have steady employment, but because of the economic situation in our country there is no work as an editor available. The worst part of it all is that constant austerity measures have led to jobs being cut and magazines dying. In spirit more than anything.

Puustinen is accustomed to making good use of libraries and archives for his writing. When he interviews artists or writes articles for magazines, he always begins by finding the necessary background material. He has naturally required many kinds of sources for his non-fiction books.

– At university I learned how to handle an enormous amount of material and to find information from different libraries and archives. I also learned how to use sources and proper citation.

For his next book, Puustinen is trying to discover the location of a specific country-house in Sikosaari, Porvoo. He has already found written sources, but that is not quite enough to begin writing.

– I have to delve deeper into local history, call museums and visit the place once more to capture the atmosphere at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century.

The upcoming book deals with Akseli Gallen-Kallela and his older brother, Claes Uno Gallén. There is plenty of material on Gallen-Kallela, his art being central to the historical development of Finnish national identity, but the life of Uno Gallén is largely shrouded in mystery.

– Akseli and Uno were close in their childhood when they lived in Tyrvää and both went to school in Helsinki. Together they experienced the cultural gatherings at the Kämp hotel and the rise of Finnish culture in the 1890s, but they lost contact with each other when Uno moved to New York in 1902. I am pursuing the story of Uno, why he chose the life of an official and not that of a violinist, for which he appeared to have both the talent and the opportunity.

Viljami Puustinen
Giving a speech at the 150th anniversary of Akseli Gallen-Kallela on April 26, 2015, at the Cultural Centre Jaatsi in Tyrvää. Photo by Juha Ketola / Tyrvään Sanomat newspaper.


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