ANJA SNELLMAN

"Sonia O. Was Here" by Anja Snellman. Photo: Tero Honkaniemi

Sexuality in Scandinavia

SEX IN THE (NORDIC) CITY

11/1/19: 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 >>

Book Review

A SWEATY BOOK THAT SMELLS OF LIFE

9/19/19: “Sonia O. Was Here has not lost any of its hunger for life over the years. The sweat has not dried, and the heart is beating as passionately and fervently as before,” writes book blogger Omppu Martin in her review. “Sonia O. doesn’t hold back, and her words haven’t lost their weight. Something absolutely essential would be missing from our literature this book. Its language is inventive, and the book proudly takes its place in the literary canon, with refreshing abandon and lack of pretense.” Continue >>

Turning Fear into a Resource

A LETTER TO MY YOUNGER SELF

8/23/19: I was born and raised in Kallio, a traditional working-class district of Helsinki. Growing up, I learned a certain street smartness that has profited me greatly in my work as an author and a therapist. Kallio was a rough neighborhood in the 1960s and 1970s; I have often compared its street life back then to Amarcord, a movie by Federico Fellini. When I was born, our family lived next to the local library. Continue >>

Snellman in Seattle

A VISIT TO UW AND THE NORDIC MUSEUM

4/2/19: Unfortunately, Anja Snellman’s visit to the University of Washington and the Nordic Museum has been canceled due to illness, and will be rescheduled, if possible. (Anja Snellman will be visiting Seattle April 1 to 4, 2019. Her itinerary includes a visit to the University of Washington and a talk and book signing at the Nordic Museum. At the University of Washington, Anja will appear at “Sexuality in Scandinavia,” a Scandinavian Studies course attended by 100 students with various majors.) Continue >>

101 Finnish Classics

BOOKS THAT STOOD THE TEST OF TIME

1/29/19: In celebration of the centenary of Finnish indepedence, the Finnish Broadcasting Company selected 101 classics, one book for each year of independence. Sonia O. Was Here by Anja Snellman (then Anja Kauranen) from 1981 was included in this list of modern classics as a book that portrays a new femininity and captures the reality of an entire generation. Continue >>

Leafy weather

SOME AUTHORS STAY WITH YOU FOR LIFE

1/29/19: Leafy weather. It often crosses my mind when I’m riding my bicycle in the city in the fall. Leaves are falling from trees and collecting on the streets and tram rails. This is how I remember it: A woman is riding her bike. She is in a hurry; the matter is urgent. The leaves are making the rails slippery, and the driver cannot control the tram. A sad, tragic accident. Continue >>

Urban storyteller

THE STORY BEGINS

1/29/19: First, the phone started ringing off the hook. Then my mailbox started filling up. What my e-mail inbox would have looked like—had there been e-mail in the fall of 1981—doesn’t even bear thinking about. The book was going to come out in mid-October, but the word started going around the press weeks before. Continue >>

Continents of Love

VISIT THE WORLD MAP OF LOVE

1/29/19: In Continents, Oona loves to picture each stage of a relationship as a continent. When two people fall in love, their journey usually begins in Asia and continues in Australia, or perhaps Africa. Some may continue to America, or even begin their journey there. Some may begin in Europe and eventually  find themselves in Asia. Continue >>

10 Facts of Life

WHERE I HAVE BEEN AND WHO I AM NOW

1/29/19: Anja Snellman grew up in the 1950s and 1960s in the working-class district of Kallio in Helsinki. Her childhood and youth were overshadowed by her father’s alcoholism. “Books and writing have always been my safe haven,” she says. “Without the troubles at home, I might never have sought refuge in hiding under the table and writing poems.” Continue >>

A Modern Classic

THE STORY OF SONIA O. LIVES ON

1/29/19: My blog was invited to participate in the Finnish Broadcasting Company’s 101 Books project in celebration of the centenary of Finnish independence. The purpose of the project was to choose 101 Finnish classics, the most significant book of each year of independence. The books to be reviewed by each blogger were selected randomly from among the works, and I was asked to read Sonia O. Was Here from 1981 by Anja Snellman. Continue >>

Continents Playlist

MUSIC IN YELLOW AND OTHER COLORS

1/29/19: In Continents, Oona throws a Yellow Party where the guests are asked to bring food, drinks, and music—any type of music was fine as long as its was yellow: Nino Rota, Kate Bush, Water Music, The Magic Flute, and so on. Visit the Continents website for the full list and listen to the playlist on Apple Music or Spotify. Continue >>

Closer

GREECE REVISITED

1/29/19: What do the endless economic crisis in Greece and twenty-something heroin addicts in Helsinki have in common? These two realities are intertwined in Closer, a novel by Anja Snellman. The Titanic replacement therapy clinic attracts people with multiple problems. The dockyard next door is building a luxury cruise liner, but this escapes the young people passing by. Continue >>

Autumn Prince

A PAST LOVE REMEMBERED

1/29/19: The story is personal. So personal that for two decades Anja Snellman refused all requests to have it adapted into a film. The story is told in Autumn Prince, a novel about her relationship with author Harri Sirola, who later struggled with depression and took his own life. In the early 1980s, Sirola was a promising debut author, at a time when a new generation of artists was rebelling against stuffy conventions. Continue >>


Photo: Tero Honkaniemi

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Recent articles

Leafy Weather. It often crosses my mind when I’m riding my bicycle in the city in the fall. This is how I remember it: A woman is riding her bike. She is in a hurry; the matter is urgent. The leaves are making the rails slippery, and the driver cannot control the tram. Continue

Palace of Wind. Anuji is standing behind me. I’m busy with my suitcase; a strap buckle is broken, and the name tag has fallen off. I haven’t seen my passport in ages, and the ticket for my connecting flight is nowhere to be found. Continue

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