Tapio Koivukari

Author and translator Tapio Koivukari (b. 1959) has a master’s degree in theology. As a writer, Koivukari is a man of epic rhythms and seaside stories: he is known particularly for his depictions of Finnish archipelago life and as a translator of Icelandic literature. His narration is marked by the complexity of life and the power of words to create new worlds

Koivukari has studied in Helsinki and lived and worked in Iceland. He currently lives in his hometown of Rauma, on Finland’s west coast.



Awake, Ye Sleepers (Unissasaarnaaja, novel, Johnny Kniga 2015)
– published also in Icelandic
The Deserters
(Käpykaartilaiset, novel, Johnny Kniga 2013)
Ariasman. A Whaler’s Tale
(Ariasman. Kertomus valaanpyytäjistä, novel, Johnny Kniga 2011)
– published also in Basque and Icelandic
Log of the Fog (Sumun lokikirja, novel, Johnny Kniga 2009)
Have a Taste, So You Will Recall (Maista, niin muistat, short stories, Johnny Kniga 2008)
Over the Sea, Behind Bars (Meren yli, kiven sisään, novel, Johnny Kniga 2007)
– published also in Icelandic
Where the Waves Break (Missä aallot murtuvat, novel, LIKE 2005, Johnny Kniga 2009)
Land of the North-West Wind (Luodetuulen maa, novel, LIKE 2002, Johnny Kniga 2009)
True Stories (Tosia tarinoita, short stories, LIKE 1998)
Strawberry Fields Forever (Mansikkapellot, iankaikkisesti, short stories, LIKE 1994)
Óðin´s Raven (Odinnin korppi, novel, LIKE 1990)
Samurai of the Archipelago (Saariston samurait, novel, LIKE 1988)



2016 Runeberg Prize
2016 Culture Prize of Saint Henry Foundation
2008 Satakunta Provincial Art Council’s Prize “Luomuna”
2002 Reward of Rauma City
1999 Nortamo Prize
1990 Koskenkorva Prize


Praise for Tapio Koivukari’s work

“The enchantment of Tapio Koivukari’s novels lies in two factors. They depict historical eras that are poorly known to Finns; the Rauma of the past is almost like a foreign country. Koivukari’s other strength is his exhaustive knowledge of epoch: Koivukari has a solid grasp of not only language, but of the techniques used to carve wooden keels.” – Helsingin Sanomat

”Koivukari’s jocular narrative voice somehow calls to mind the story-telling of Lars Sund. Fish of all stripes spawn below the surface of the closed-minded communities in Awake, Ye Sleepers. Koivukari’s novel provides a more vivid depiction of post-war Finland than many historical opuses.” – Helsingin Sanomat

“In his novel The Deserters, Koivukari has written an ingenious micro-history from the perspective of an average western Finnish village. His narration is a masterful blend of fact and fiction. The setting, the village of Nihtamo, doesn’t exist on maps, but the dialect makes it easy to place in the vicinity of Laitila–Rauma. (…) The Deserters is good old Koivukari. A warm novel about a difficult topic. One wonders why it was not nominated for the Finlandia Fiction Prize.” – Demokraatti

“Enthusiasts of accurate historical realism will particularly enjoy Ariasman; the zeitgeist is both perfect and perfectly detailed. Furthermore, the crises arising out of cross-cultural encounters are dealt with in a way that is both timeless and timely.” – Kiiltomato

“It took a Finn to recount one of the most horrific incidents in Icelandic history: the massacre of the island’s whalers. Tapio Koivukari’s sensitivity, joy in narration, and the pure ingenuity of his writing are as if he’d been an eyewitness to these events. A feat only the most accomplished authors achieve.” – Gerður Kristný (Iceland)

Ariasman is brilliant, the best historical novel I have read in ages.” – Ragnheiður Sverrisdóttir, Morgunblaðið (Iceland)