Jukka Viikilä won the Finlandia Prize for Fiction for the second time, and with record speed. Bo Carpela and Olli Jalonen have won twice before.
The year 2021 The Finlandia Prize for Fiction is awarded to a writer-playwright Jukka Viikilä with his work Heavenly Reception (Big Dipper).
The winner was chosen this year by a film director Zaida Bergroth.
In his reasoning, Bergroth describes the winning work as “unique in its linguistic accuracy and the originality and relevance of its findings”.
“Its fragmentary, experimental structure is surprisingly natural, and after reading it feels light but nourished,” Bergroth continues.
“Heavenly Reception erodes, obscures, refines, and leaves the reader grateful, ”he sums up in his award ceremony.
This is a rare double victory for Viikilä. In the past, Finnish fiction has twice won Bo Carpelan and Olli Jalonen.
But once again, Viikilä was rewarded with record speed: Watercolors from the city of Engel won the award just five years ago. Carpelan’s remuneration interval was 12 years and Jalonen’s 28 years.
The uniqueness of Viikilä’s victory is compounded by the fact that he has published only these two novels, both of which have now been awarded. In addition to these, he has published collections of poetry and a poetic encyclopedia.
On the telephone the new double winner sounds stunned:
“I don’t know if I can fully say how this feels. It must be a bit divisive. On the other hand, it feels extremely joyful, joyful and lavish, above all because the book deals with difficult personal matters. That is why it is more wonderful than usual to receive such a favorable reception for those texts, ”Viikilä says and continues:
“On the other hand, it raises concerns about how this will affect the kindness with which my texts are treated in the future.”
Viikilä thinks Bergroth’s solution may divide the readership.
“Above all, because of the attitude toward this accumulation of awards and attention, and the book is such that it has aroused more dividing lines in readers than the previous novel.”
Heavenly Reception is not a traditional plot and character novel. Its polyphonic group of speakers commented on Jan Holm’s heartfelt Reception. There are all sorts of gossip about the award-winning author, but the speakers have their own worries as well as endless opinions.
Viikilä points out, amused, that the highest odds were given to his work on the bookmaker ‘s website:.
“If someone has bet Heavenly reception has got his money back tenfold, ”he says with a laugh.
Viikilä thinks that the high odds are due to the fact that his novel has a reputation as a theoretical work, where in the past the technical aspect of the novel may have been emphasized in connection with the Finlandia awards.
Not the author himself consider his work to be actually “experimental,” as described in the critiques and award criteria.
“I wanted to write as freely and openly as possible from different and even conflicting perspectives. But of course it is only a matter of apparent freedom. As the work begins to evolve, it becomes more and more artistic and does not take in anything, ”he describes.
Viikilä, who started his career as a poet, once revealed that Watercolors from the city of Engel smuggled lyric inside a more commercial novel form. Heavenly Reception could have been in the bookstores, in turn, in the fiction books department, he ponders.
“It’s such an emotional pillowcase. Not at all difficult to approach, but easy to read. ”
Not this not a novel about open heart surgery, but open heart surgery.
Viikilä wrote Heavenly reception recovering from heart surgery in two and a half years. At the same time, daily writing became part of the healing routine.
“Heart surgery did good for the work. It brought bloodiness and removed theory. I approached cardiology through my own feelings and my body, which felt like valuable material. ”
In his previous award speech, Viikilä emphasized that a more significant factor than an individual author is the history of literature from which the work is created and to which it is attached. Heavenly Reception contains a lot of talk about literature but also about music.
He used music as inspiration and as part of the work process. William Basinski: Disintegration loops, Max Richter: Sleep, Philip Glassin the most radical works of the early period, Viikilä lists.
“I’ve listened to a lot of long, extensive and endless-feeling electronic albums. The kind of really lustful muse that is like one space. I think even a novel happens in one big lobby or hall like that.I needed compressed and permanent music. ”
The word “compressed” also fits well into Viikilä’s style. The individual sentences in the novel encapsulate a lot of things.
“The prevailing aesthetics of the work follow the modernist ideal of a concise sentence. I wanted to get as many things as possible in four to five hundred pages, bundle and buoy the whole world. ”
Viikilä says that he is especially proud to have written dark corners in the work, which the reader may not remember after the first reading.
“Then the world of the work is in a way endless and inexhaustible. It’s like a building you can re-enter from anywhere. ”
Finlandia winner In Viikilä’s words, the work contains a lot of “torsional” opinions, and they are also enough from Finnish literature, for example:
Finnish novels are either ideological or childish. Ideological ones are written by ordinary people, they have a moral emphasis on the state of the world, a world that is common and clear to all of them: it is clear where its boundaries go, what needs to be done to it, who are its enemies and who are the decent types. These books are as predictable as children’s books. Children’s books are written by boys, ideological by both girls and boys. Childish books write strange, funny, and light surprises without a tense relationship with the world and its facts. They are books produced by other books.
For example, how much does this observation relate to Jukka Viikilä’s own views?
“The multitude of speakers provides opportunities to share daily truths. That is, for example, a rhetorical truth that then settles among other perspectives in the book, ”he replies.
“On the other hand, every claim in the work is kind of true, but not necessarily the next day. The novel provided an opportunity for momentary feelings and truths. ”
In Viikilä’s opinion The works selected for the Finnish Finals of Fiction are “fantastic novels, which will probably include future classics”.
“The choices show that the audiobook has not been able to do at least complete destruction yet,” says Viikilä and continues:
“The decisions of the pre-jury show vision. The choice of this spruce encourages and encourages, because at times it feels like we don’t see literature as art but as some kind of pleasure or entertainment machinery. It’s a little surprising that kind of triumph and hegemony of a story-driven novel, even compared to other art forms, music, or visual arts. The literature is used to be used for some need, to dive into stories, or to be put on when going for a run. But at Amos Rex or Musiikkitalo, one wonders why this art is so strange. ”
After a long fire speech, Viikilä wakes up: “I didn’t have to make any cultural-political declarations here,” he says with a laugh.
His next work is, by chance, a small-scale and storytelling novel, in Viikilä’s words, “more carnal” than previous works.
“I can’t rewrite the same book anymore,” he explains.
Previously In an interview with HS the author described that heart surgery emptied the table after the humus caused by Finlandia, and he was able to write freely again. Does double victory bring back the pressure?
“The hope is that I could rule out this hassle that I could just create. On the other hand, this brought faith and certainty to writing that there is permission to continue this work. It is hoped that the effect of the award will be more reassuring, ”he replies.
The monetary value of the Finlandia Prize is EUR 30,000. Most recently, Viikilä said he would give the entire prize money to his wife, who had supported his written work for years. Is he now taking the prize money for his own use?
“As such, this money will now come in a good seam when one of our adults has started studying and the family now includes two schoolchildren, a mother and a child.. The prize money goes to all the necessary stuff. ”
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