Sofi Oksanen

Sofi Oksanen ( born January 7, 1977 in Jyväskylä, Finland ) is a Finnish- Estonian writer and dramaturge. Oksanen has so far written three novels and a play. Her third novel, Purgatory, was awarded several literary prizes.


Sofi Oksanen was born in Jyväskylä, central Finland and grew up there. Her father is a Finnish electrician, her mother an Estonian graduate engineer. Oksanen and has studied at the Universities of Jyväskylä and Helsinki Literature and later at the Higher School of Theatre dramaturgy. Oksanen learned from her mother the Estonian language, but she writes in Finnish. Literature she reads but also in Estonian. Oksanen is actively involved in the public debate in Finland and comments on current issues in their columns and in various talk shows. She is a feminist.


Stalinin lehmät

The debut novel Stalinin lehmät (literally: Stalin's Cows in Finnish 2003) is from Estonia during the Soviet times, of immigrants and of eating disorders. It depicts the life of Estonians in Finland in the 1960s and 1970s, when the so-called colored Finlandisation the official policy. At that time, the Estonians were often abused as Russians in Finland and Estonia denigrated women as prostitutes. It is a Finnish- Estonian Bildungsroman, which represents the reality of the Nordic gender equality in question. The debut novel, Oksanen has been nominated as a candidate for the Runeberg Prize and for the debut novel prize of national newspaper Helsingin Sanomat.

  • German by Angela Plöger: Stalin's Cows, Roman. Kiepenheuer & Petrovich, Cologne 2012, ISBN 978-3-462-04374-7. as an audio book with Catherine Bach and Anna Thal Thal Bach. Audiobook Hamburg 2012, ISBN 978-3-89903391-5.

Baby Jane

In her second novel Baby Jane ( Finnish 2005) Sofi Oksanen treated panic attacks and how they act on their fellow human beings and violence in relationships with women. In contrast to the other two novels Baby Jane plays in Finland ( Helsinki in the 1990s).


With her ​​first play, Purgatory ( Original title: Puhdistus ), Oksanen 2007, the breakthrough achieved at the national level, with her novel a year later internationally. The novel has been translated into 38 languages, and honored with numerous, including major awards; his success reacts on the piece that 2011/12 in several countries Premiere has (had ). The German -language premiere will take place at Theater Osnabrück on October 15, 2011.

Thematically linked Oksanen on her first novel, Stalinin lehmät, and returns to neighboring Estonia. By letting ( ie shortly after regaining the independence of Estonia ) play the few -day action in 1992, it moves closer to the present time, but on the other hand goes even further back in the history of this country. With such a voltage Poland and the encounter of the two protagonists is charged: Old vs. Young, Estin against Russian, long-time residents against intruder. However, with the exception of the first opposition no remains; Common is more important than separates and yet does not lead in the drama even in the novel to an end, which can be described as a " happy ending ".

Based on a screenplay by Marko Leino Puhdistus is also made ​​into a film in 2012 and come to the big screen.


The works of Sofi Oksanen were issued until 2010 by the publishing house WSOY. In June 2010, however, WSOY announced in a press release to end the collaboration with Sofi Oksanen with immediate effect. The reason given for step with the public criticism expressed Oksanen to their publisher. She had complained especially about their opinion, insufficient marketing policy of WSOY.


The following national and international literary awards were previously awarded Oksanen for purgatory:

  • Finlandia Prize, 2008
  • Runeberg Prize, 2009
  • Literature Prize of the Nordic Council, 2010
  • Prix ​​Femina Etranger, 2010
  • Prix ​​du Roman fnac, 2010

Purgatory is so far the only work that was awarded in Finland with both the Finlandia and the Runeberg Prize. Oksanen is also the recent author who has won one of these prizes. Finally, it is also the first foreign author of the Prix du Roman fnac was awarded.


Oksanen says that she likes to "Auto fiction" writing, ie it combines autobiographical stories with fiction. Other Finnish counterpart Windwärts authors as the winner of the Finlandia Prize Pirkko Saisio and Anja Snell man writing autofiction. Oksanen is a diverse and reflective writer who is not afraid to write about difficult and unfamiliar topics. You will also unconditionally hanger for her work in her own life.

Other activities

Sofi Oksanen has also written columns for the Finnish magazine Sihteeri & Assistentti and for Finnish newspapers Sunnuntaisuomalainen, Metro and Aamulehti. The columns treat, among other multinational identity, Internet censorship, human rights and freedom of speech. Other topics in Oksanen are the lack of history and the dual identity in the life of Estonian women.

Together with the Estonian Imbi Paju Sofi Oksanen 2009, the Finnish-language collection of articles caiques takana oli Pelko (literally: Behind all this stood anxiety) published that describes the Estonian history during the Soviet occupation. In the introduction to the book Oksanen justified the publication so that the communist social system is one of the verderbenbringendsten of world history, has to date not often addressed as opposed to National Socialism.