… Holopainen has shown her ability to write with versatility for young and older readers. Central themes in her work are friendship, love and trust, combined with diverse adventures and exciting plots. Her special strength is the use of differing realistic female characters.
- Merja Leppälahti (transl. Liisa Rantalaiho) / Cosmos Pen
I’m Anu Holopainen, a Finnish novelist, feminist and freelance journalist. I’ve written fantasy and scifi for young people since 1996, and my first novel for adults was published in 2010. My first science fiction novel, Molemmin jaloin (With Both Feet), was candidate for the Finlandia Junior Literary Prize in 2006.
As a journalist I write about any and all topics, but my main interest is health, both medical science and alternative medicine, as well as general well-being (nutrition, exercise etc).
I’m a member of the Union of Finnish Writers, the Union of Journalists in Finland, Terveystoimittajat ry (Association of Health Journalists), the Finnish Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association and PEN Finland.
I was born in 1968 and I have lived my whole life in Helsinki. My hobbies include videogames, crossword puzzles & sudokus, the outdoors and a bit of layman-level photography. This blog (“Kirjailijan kävelyretkiä” means “Writer’s Walks”) is mainly for my observations on nature and thoughts on writing.
Kristallien valtakunta (Kingdom of Crystals)
Fantasy / pseudohistory, Karisto 1996
My “firstborn” novel and the first book of the Sonja series. Sonja, an ordinary Finnish girl, travels through time to ancient Atlantis. There she finds friends, foes, adventure and love.
Noitien hovi (The Witches’ Court)
Fantasy / pseudohistory, Karisto 1997
Sonja and Zadar move forward in time and end up in Celtic-era Ireland. From there they go to Scotland and the Witches’ Court, ruled by the witch Gwyneth. Sonja and Zadar get help from the mysterious Hexa, who is a little more than you can tell from the surface…
Gae Bolga (Gae Bolga)
Fantasy / pseudohistory, Karisto 2000
Sonja and Zadar find themselves serving as mercenaries for the Pict king. Behind it all is the mythical weapon, Gae Bolga, sought by many power-hungry people.
Pohjoistuuli (The North Wind) series:
Boreaksen lapset (Children of Boreas)
Arctic fantasy, Karisto 1998
The magical willow flute finds its way into the hands of Bork the Healer, who has to take it through the winter landscape to the Mountain of the North Wind. On his journey he finds a new friend, the faithful dog Caspari.
Musta liekki (The Black Flame)
Arctic fantasy, Karisto 1999
The son of Khorútan the Shaman disappears, and a selected group of shamans and seitas – northern witches – enter the Kingdom of the Dead to find him. After meeting the Lake Serpent guarding the gate, they must still face many challenges before they reach the White Wizard who can help find the lost son.
Sinisilmä (Blue Eye)
Arctic fantasy, Karisto 2001
Katinna, who gets given the name “Blue Eye” by her friend Marten, has the skill of turning into a spirit wolf. Marten finds his own talent when they reach Shamans’ Island. However, the wilderness of the north is filled with dangers, and the bite of an ice lizard brings them both into the Kingdom of the Dead.
Syysmaa (Autumnland) series:
Welman tytöt (Welma’s Girls)
Feminist fantasy, Karisto 2003
Welma takes abandoned and banished girls under her wing in the Shadowcastle. She also takes in Adaira, who wants to avoid the marriage arranged by her father. Adaira gets to know Wild Rowan, the holy tree of women, and learns a new way of looking at life and the world.
Sisarpuut (Sister Trees)
Feminist fantasy, Karisto 2004
While Welma’s girls travel north, Javona is pregnant with her first child, who turns out to be a girl. That doesn’t go well among worshippers of the Iron Oak, so Javona seeks refuge with her daughter in Wild Rowan’s Redberry village.
Viinikauppias (The Wine Merchant)
Feminist fantasy, Karisto 2005
Zara gives Merkinos and Adaira a mission in the big city. Meanwhile Javona, who has settled among worshippers of Forest Linden, realises that life outside the system may not be for her after all.
This book is dedicated to all Thief-players, “you’re the Life of the Party!”
Yölaakso (The Night Valley)
Feminist fantasy, Karisto 2009
Lorana has a secret affair outside her marriage, and when she gets caught, her whole life turns upside down. She runs to the Living Mountains – and through them, into the dark, quiet world where people are very different and strange.
Feminist fantasy, Karisto 2011
Lorana arrives to the village of Redberry, accompanied by a quiet, pale man from the other side of the mountains. Zara is having doubts of her own leadership over Redberry village, and feels the Wild Rowan is threatened by the non-religious refugee from Night valley, but also by Rakhenes’ faith in Forest Linden. Lorana sees an opportunity for herself in Zara’s inner turmoil.
Feminist fantasy, Karisto 2012
Years have passed after the banishment from Redberry village, and the refugees have built a new home in the forest. Yvana, now a young woman, and Lorana’s son Marrkah want bigger life with bigger opportunities, so they set off to the seaport of Alimankas, hoping to travel all the way to Summerland. Things don’t go as smoothly as they hope, and Yvana’s old mystical ailment makes things even worse.
Molemmin jaloin (With Both Feet)
Science fiction, Karisto 2006
Livia is living year 239 New Time, after the great destructive war. Livia’s best friend talks her into applying to the Mother Centre. There her “inhibitor” is disabled to start her hormonal system, so she can procreate. The experience is raw and powerful, and the consequences shake the whole Centre.
Yksi kaksi kolme neljä viisi NYT! (One two three four five NOW!)
Short story in collection Taskunovellit (Pocket Stories), Karisto 2013
Two young girls and a glimmering summer day, cows in pasture and the big dog with clinking chain, the dim dusty light of a hay barn – and a sudden surprise.
Ilmeetön mies (The Blank Man)
Magic realism, Karisto 2010
Irma has had a hard life, and she doesn’t even know what lead to what or where it all began. She is running from her man, avoids close relationships and escapes reality into her own imagination. When she meets a quiet man living in the same building, she finds a channel into her deepest memories and feelings.
All novels and stories are in Finnish.