Finnish author and film director Katja Kettu discusses her English-language debut novel The Midwife (AmazonCrossing, October 2016). Kettu’s novel brings to life a long-suppressed period of Finnish history. From the brutality of the World War II prison camps to the splendor of the aurora borealis over the Arctic Sea, The Midwife tells of a stormy romance, the desolate beauty of a protective fjord, and the deeply personal battles waged at the war’s end.
Kettu, in conversation with Tuomas Hiltunen, will discuss the inspiration for her novel, her creative process, and her carefully crafted language, which is simultaneously grotesque and magical.
A screening of the film adaption of The Midwife will follow the talk.
Copies of The Midwife will be available for purchase and signing following the book talk.
Finnish director Antti J. Jokinen directed The Midwife/Kätilö, which is based on Katja Kettu’s award winning novel of the same name. Jokinen and Kettu wrote the screenplay together. The movie premiered in Finland in 2015. Krista Kosonen and Lauri Tilkanen play the leading roles of Helena and Johannes. (118 min. In Finnish with English subtitles).
“The Midwife is a revealing motion picture about the end of an era in Finland’s history…The movie is a strong statement about the events that took place, facts that many regular Finns of today do not know.”—Hollywood Foreign Press Association
About Katja Kettu
Katja Kettu is an award-winning Finnish writer. Born in Rovaniemi, Finland in 1978, Kettu works not only as a novelist but also as a columnist and director of animated films. Her books are suffused with traditional Finnish nature mysticism and the richness of northern Finnish dialects.
Kettu is also known for startling plots and original, poetic language. After her 2005 debut, Surujenkerääjä (The Sorrow Collector), Kettu released several books that portray lives on the margins of history, including Hitsaaja (The Welder), which combines the fate of the cruise ship Estonia with the story of the Far North.
About Tuomas Hiltunen
Tuomas Hiltunen is an Adjunct Lecturer in Finnish at Columbia University in New York. His research interests primarily focus on Finnish literature and culture, as well as Nordic drama, opera, film, and design. In addition to Columbia University’s Finnish Studies Program, Hiltunen teaches at the theatre department at Barnard College, and is the Director of Administration and Management at the Barenboim-Said Foundation USA. Hiltunen received his MFA as a Fulbright, ASF, and Finlandia Foundation Fellow at the School of the Arts at Columbia University.
He was awarded the BA Honors degree at Guildhall School of Music & Drama at the City University in London. Hiltunen co-wrote with Aili Flint, Ph.D., a concert program with narration, Jean Sibelius & Ida Ekman: A Composer and His Muse, which premiered at the Embassy of Finland in Washington D.C. in 2013. This production was performed in Finnish at the Turku Music Festival and Alexander’s Theatre in Helsinki in 2014.