Anja Snellman

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10 facts of life

Since childhood, Anja Snellman had wanted to become a poet. However, after a colleague saw a piece of her prose at a summer camp for young writers, he persuaded her to give prose a try. She started writing her first novel in 1974. It took her seven years—and a great deal of encouragement from her publisher—to complete her first book. The response to her debut novel was overwhelming. Continue >>

How do you like your books?

Print, digital, or audio? New or used? Physical books seem to have maintained their popularity, contrary to predictions suggesting otherwise. According to the Association of American Publishers, print books generated around 75% of book sales revenue in 2019, while e-books accounted for some 7%. The remaining portion, around 18%, consisted of other formats, such as audiobooks. Continue >>

Does literature have gender?

A study published in 2019 found that it is more difficult for female writers to receive review coverage, because women continue to be pigeonholed as domestic rather than being taken seriously as authors. “I have often wondered at which point boys and young men are assumed to suddenly lose interest in girls’ and young women’s thoughts, so at thirty they can sigh dramatically: woman is a mystery.” Continue >>

A letter to my younger self

I was born long after my sister, when my parents were already older. I was shy and wild at the same time, with a vivid imagination. My nickname as a child was Patent, because I came up with all kinds of tricks and gimmicks and new games all the time. The world of books and the arts was also very important to me. I took up classical ballet, loved drawing, and was good at sports: sprinting and skating. Continue >>

The Cretan patient

Those close to me know that I always carry a copy of The English Patient with me, and I mean always. The original version, at the very least, accompanies me on longer journeys in my purse or backpack or rolled up in my pocket. In most cases, I also take the Finnish and French translations with me. At home, I always have the book at hand on a desk or a nightstand or the bookshelf in the dining room. Continue >>

On the fate of Camille Claudel

Camille Claudel (1864–1943) was a French sculptor known for her beautiful work in bronze and stone. At the age of 19, she was introduced to Auguste Rodin, who was 24 years her senior. Rodin became her mentor and lover. Described as “torturous,” their relationship lasted for ten years. After their breakup, she continued to work independently, but it was difficult for her as a woman to secure funding for her art. Continue >>

Play it again, Sam

Recently, on a tram in Helsinki, I overheard four young women talking about audiobooks. They recommended to each other novels they had last listened to. Then they started to talk about slowness. Apparently, reading a physical or digital book is not an option. Too slow. But how to deal with audiobook narrators who speak so unbearably and infuriatingly slowly that you must speed up the book? Continue >>

Bournemouth 1971

Mother insisted that I take the red carnations with me. I tried to resist, but she was adamant. I shoved the carnations into the bottom of my travel bag. On the plane, I pushed the bag under the seat in front of me. I had never given anyone flowers, and I didn’t know what I was supposed to say. What kind of expression should I wear? What kind of smile? For a British lady—a complete stranger to me. Continue >>

Decades of love

In Continents: A Love Story, Anja Snellman compares each stage of a relationship to a continent. Relationships evolve over time, and people grow and change. We asked the author how she thinks love changes with age, from your twenties to your sixties. “In my early twenties, I had no idea what a loving relationship means. My parents’ marriage cannot really be described as a loving relationship.” Continue >>

Sex and the (Nordic) city

 I am an author, but I am also a psychotherapist and sexual therapist. What do my clients want to talk about? The mismatch of desires in a relationship, sexual identity, polyamory, sex in the busy years of life, sex and porn addiction. Sex and loneliness—something slightly reminiscent of what Carrie Bradshaw felt in Sex and the City. But without the glamour of Manhattan and a group of wonderful friends. Continue >>

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