Finnish novelist, Arto Paasilinna, Died at 76

Arto Tapio Paasilinna was born on April 20, 1942, in Lapland, Finland and died on October 15, 2018.

He was a Finnish writer.

Also a former journalist turned comic novelist.

Paasilinna is a prominent novelist in Finland.

Paasilinna was also a broad readership outside of Finland in a way few other Finnish authors have before.

His work has been translated into 27 languages and over seven million copies of his books have been sold worldwide, and he has been claimed as “instrumental in generating the current level of interest in books from Finland”.

His 1975 novel, The Year of the Hare (Jäniksen vuosi) earned best-seller in France and Finland, translated into 18 languages, awarded three international prizes and adapted twice into feature films.

His brothers are authors Erno Paasilinna, Reino Paasilinna and Mauri Paasilinna.

Arto Paasilinna’s parents were Väinö Paasilinna (1902–1950, born Gullstén, he changed his surname in 1934 after a family conflict) and Hilda-Maria Paasilinna (1908–1983, born Niva).

Together his parents had seven children, five sons, and two daughters, including the writer Erno Paasilinna; the author, MEP, and TV personality Reino Paasilinna; the painter Sirpa Paasilinna-Schlagenwarth; and the writer Mauri Paasilinna.

He studied at the General and Elementary School Line at the Lapland Folk Academy.

Initially, Paasilinna worked as a journalist at Nuoren Voiman Liitto, Nuori Voima-lehti and various newspapers as writer and editor.

Paasilinna was an editor at the weekly magazine Apu(1968–1970) and later a columnist (1975–1988).

In 1975, at the age of 33, Paasilinna found journalism growing “more superficial and meaningless” and desired a change; that summer, he sold his boat to fund the writing of The Year of the Hare.

The book was an immediate success and from 1975 on Paasilinna became an independent writer able to support himself with his novels, signed to Finnish publisher WSOY since 1977.

He wrote journal articles and was a columnist on Finnish radio.

In 2000, Paasilinna was included in the 6th edition of literary critic Pekka Tarkka(fi)’s dictionary Suomalaisia nykykirjailijoita (“Finnish Literary Authors”, 1st ed. 1967).

In 2002, for Paasilinna’s 60th anniversary, journalist Eino Leino published a biography of Paasilinna called Lentojätkä; Arto Paasilinnan elämä” (“The Flight Dude”).

The same year Paasilinna published his own autobiography called Yhdeksän unelmaa (“Nine Night’s Dream”).
Personal life

In Espoo where he lived (2008 and 2009), Paasilinna was featured in Finnish tabloids for his incoherent behaviour, including reckless driving.

During October 2009 he was rushed to a hospital due to a stroke.

In April 2010 Paasilinna was moved to a convalescent home for recovery, and his son named as his treasurer.

He died in a nursing home in Espoo, Finland.

Arto Tapio Paasilinna died at 76 years old.

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