Eeva Joenpelto

1921 - 2004


Eeva Joenpelto was born into a grocer’s family, passed the upper secondary school leaving examination in 1940, and worked as a journalist and editor as well as professor of arts from 1980 to 1985. She made her debut in 1950 with an account of ordinary lives in Kaakerholman kaupunki, but made a name for herself with her novels Johannes Vain, 1952, and Neito kulkee vetten päällä (1955; Eng. tr. Maiden Walks upon the Water), which establishes the relationship that recurs in her later works: weak man versus single-minded woman.

Eeva Joenpelto was again successful with her so-called Lojo series in four parts about Finland after 1918, which starts with Vetää kaikista ovista, 1974. This novel suite about events in a Västnyland village mirror on a microcosmic level the transformations taking place in society at large. Her epic narrative style is characterised by strong, dramatic expression. Her novels from the 1980s Elämän rouva, rouva Glad, 1982, Rikas ja kunniallinen (1984; Eng. tr. Rich and Respected), Jottei varjos haalistu, 1986, and Ei ryppyä, ei tahraa, 1989, deal with the themes of sacrifice, guilt, and materialism versus idealism. She won the Finlandia Prize for her work Tuomari Müller, hieno mies, 1994.

Additions by the editorial team 2011:

The above biography was first published in 1998. Since then, Eeva Joenpelto wrote the novel Uskomattomia uhrauksia, 2000.