Author: Leena Parkkinen
 
 
Leena Parkkinen (b. 1979) has studied scriptwriting and advertising at the Turku Arts Academy and writing at the Critical Academy. She has worked in publishing, advertising, and as a bartender. She has written four novels: three for adults and one for children. Her novels have been published in several languages and her debut novel After you, Max was awarded with the Debutant of the Year Prize by Helsingin Sanomat news paper.

As an author, Leena Parkkinen is a third generation storyteller. She hails from a family in which a good tale has always been appreciated more than the truth. At parties, grandfather used to attract an audience who would listen to him in silence. Grandfather's son, Leena's father, became a famous children's author. The father told everyone that his son would one day become a great writer. Nature had other ideas. A daughter was born one week prematurely while the father was on a working trip to Uppsala in Sweden. According to Parkkinen, this was nature’s way of saying that sometimes it’s good to shake up things a little.

Leena Parkkinen was by no means always going to be a writer; as a child, she dreamt of becoming an artist. When the budding artist’s paper ran out, she drew on envelopes, till receipts and walls. Her childish scrawls could even be found on the father’s tax return. Parkkinen became a student of graphic design, because her mother was of the opinion that Leena had to get a proper job first, before doing other, more enjoyable things. Within a few years, Parkkinen found herself working for a publisher.

Parkkinen is fascinated by themes to do with identity, gender and otherness. That’s what books are for. So you can learn about things that you wouldn’t normally want to have anything to do with.

“I mostly start a story and then let it carry me. I see each chapter as a scene from a movie: I throw myself into the lives of my characters and the period that I describe. While writing my story, I cannot even listen to other kind of music other than the music of the period,” Parkkinen describes her writing process.


 

”Leena Parkkinen’s debut is an event. Parkkinen describes the experience of otherness as potently as any author could. A brilliant performance. Heady lightness slides into foundering weight and beauty becomes a ticket to perdition, in the manner of that other depictor of that era, F. Scott Fitzgerald.”
- Helsingin Sanomat
“...a celebration of lush storytelling. Powerfully sensual language, unexpected imagery and compelling dialogue establish this debut work as a supreme display of skill.”
- Keskisuomalainen
”After you, Max cleaves to the double-body of the Siamese twins and writes its membrane-fine balance into existence. In humanely dealing with the eternal theme of becoming attached to and severed from others, Parkkinen touches on sensitive terrain, and does so with delicacy and skill.”
- Turun Sanomat