Anja Snellman


Roni Rekomaa/Lehtikuva



Author Anja Snellman celebrated her 70th birthday on May 23, 2024.

“I feel quite ageless,” Snellman said in a recent interview. “I don’t know what I should be like as a seventy-year-old, and to be honest, I’m not that interested in knowing. I don’t think about age, not my own or that of others.”

She says we tend to pay too much attention to attributes such as generation and age group. Even as a child, as a “precocious bookworm,” she was interested in people of all ages.

Her approach to life is “cubistic.”

“Life doesn’t need to be lived in a certain order, from education to getting a job, starting a family, and retiring. A life story doesn’t need to be predictable. You can always change plans and direction.”

SNELLMAN HAS written 27 novels and several works of nonfiction and collections of poetry. She is the most widely read author of her generation in her native Finland. Her works have been translated into more than 20 languages.

Her entry to the literary scene was exceptionally powerful: first published in 1981, Sonia O. Was Here remains the highest-selling debut novel in the history of Finnish literature. Readers fell in love with its virtuosic language and Fellini-like gallery of characters.

In addition to her beautiful use of language, Snellman is known for her ability to skillfully and effortlessly combine documentary and fictional elements and personal and universal aspects in works such as Continents: A Love Story, in which autobiographical elements merge with insights of global and universal proportions.

SNELLMAN ENCOURAGES people to have “lifelong curiosity.”

She studied applied psychology, English philology, Finnish literature and general literature at the University of Helsinki in the late 1970s, earning a bachelor’s degree.

In her fifties, she returned to the university to pursue a master’s degree and become a psychotherapist.

She considers herself fortunate to have reached a point in her life where she can enjoy inspiring synergies: literature can have the same effect as therapy, and a good therapeutic dialogue can resemble literary art.

“An author listens and asks. A therapist asks and listens. A journalist asks, listens, and questions,” says Snellman.

NEXT, she is planning to study forensic psychology at the University of Edinburgh.

Source: Turun Sanomat

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