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Virpi Hämeen-Anttila

Virpi Helena Hämeen-Anttila
Born October 15, 1958, Espoo.

Bachelor of Arts, 1987, Master of Arts (South Asian Studies), 1996, University of Helsinki

Author, teacher, researcher, translator
Hourly-paid teacher, University of Helsinki, 1997-.
Project Assistant, Indus seals, documentation and publication, University of Helsinki, 1983-6.
Illustrator (scientific), various publishers incl. Weilin & Göös, Otava, Cambridge University Press, Tiede-lehti.
Translator (of English, French, Sanskrit, Bali, Hindi, Bengali, Tamil), the Finnish Oriental Society, Basam Books, Jalava.
Author (published with Otava, WSOY, Minerva).

Chairperson, Lahti International Writers’ Reunion, 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013.
Chairperson, writers’ division, copyright organisation Sanasto ry, 2012-

Research interests

Sanskrit and South Asian literature, esp. Sanskrit writing from pre-classical and classical period (600 BCE – 1200 CE), its narrative fiction and structures; main publication and (forthcoming) doctoral thesis topic: the origins and development of frame story technique in Sanskrit literature.

Publications, research projects and other academic activity

Awards and special achievements
Eino Leino Prize (for literature), 2002 (with Jaakko Hämeen-Anttila)
Finnish booksellers’ Laila Hirvisaari Prize, 2003
Vuoden tieteentekijän palkinto 2004
Vantaa-palkinto 2009 (with Jaakko Hämeen-Anttila)
Academic of the Year 2004, Finnish Union of University Researchers and Teachers
City of Vantaa Award, 2009 (with Jaakko Hämeen-Anttila)

Photo: Mirva Kakko/Otava
Written by Virpi Hämeen-Anttila (Kaija Hartikainen, toim.)
Translated by John Calton

My Best Memory from the University of Helsinki

In 1981 my passion as a researcher was ignited by a subject called Sanskrit and Comparative Indo-European Literature. It was taught at the then Department of Oriental Languages. The courses offered at the department were esoteric with few students, which suited me just fine.

I was particularly fond of the Seminar Library at 24 Fabianinkatu street. The smallest of its rooms was reserved for South Asian Studies and Indo-European Studies. I spent many blissful hours there studying Sanskrit, Greek, Latin, Gothic, Irish and other ancient languages. Although I later changed my major and graduated with a degree in South Asian Studies, I never failed to see the benefit of my long and varied studies and of my interest in several languages. Ferdinand de Saussure, the father of modern linguistics, and Johan Huizinga, author of the magnificent Herfsttij der Middeleeuwen, (Engl. The Autumn of the Middle Ages), studied Sanskrit as well. Sanskrit can help you do anything! The Seminar Library was also where I found my husband, Jaakko Hämeen-Anttila.

Virpi Hämeen-Anttila as a young student in the seminar library in 1983. Photo: Virpi Hämeen-Anttila.​
Virpi Hämeen-Anttila as a young student in the seminar library in 1983. Photo: Virpi Hämeen-Anttila.​


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