Thursday, 28 January 2010

A valley in the violence

In Hbl Philip Teir interviews Finnish-Estonian writer Sofi Oksanen, whose work is being published in Sweden and who is tipped to win this year's Nordic Council Literature Prize. Excerpt:
After Sofi Oksanen appeared on a Danish TV culture show and depicted the Finnish people as depressive and uncommunicative she heard criticism from many quarters. The fact that Finland has two brutal school shootings behind it and a bleak set of statistics relating to violence was no excuse. This is stuff one shouldn't talk about to foreign journalists... "It isn't sanitary," was the view of Finland's Professor Laura Kolbe.

"I've learned that while many people don't mind as long as you stick to writing books and winning prizes ... as soon as you say something like this, the reaction is "Get back to Russia, you Estonian whore," says Oksanen, who grew up in Jyväskylä with a father who is Finnish and a mother who is Estonian.

See also: Knocking Finland

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