Anja Snellman


Ewa Doktór


40 Years Later

Forty years ago, I was nervous as hell. I had been working on my manuscript for seven years, and my first novel, Sonia O. Was Here, was scheduled for publication in October 1981.

The book came out, and my life was never the same. The book was read publicly and secretly, and it provoked the full gamut of emotions, from joy and delight to annoyance and rage. The feedback varied widely, and I was delivered not only roses, but also shit in a packet. Literally, believe it or not.

Some people prayed for my soul. Women bought the book for their partners, sons, and brothers. “You must read this!”

THE LATE Pentti Saarikoski, a legendary Finnish poet and writer, wanted to translate my book into Swedish. 

Incidentally, I would later marry his son, Saska. His mother told me that he had read the book in the bathtub soon after its publication. The copy that I had given to his father later returned to my bookshelf as part of Saarikoski’s estate that my husband inherited.

My current husband, Jukka, borrowed the book from one of his bandmates back in 1981.

TODAY, 40 years later, I am nervous as hell again. Soon I will submit the manuscript for my 26th novel, All My Fathers, to my Finnish publisher.

The book will come out in October. Some people will be delighted; some will still be annoyed, even outraged. I will start writing my next book.

Anja Snellman

Skin by Anja Snellman will be published in English in 2023 to celebrate her 40th anniversary as an author.

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