Anja Snellman
Publication date
Format info
298 pages

Sonia O. Was Here

Sonja O. kävi täällä

A man’s odyssey must be among the most explored themes in literature, and we all know the story: the male ego always seems to remain intact, no matter how earthshaking the hardships. A myriad of literary works celebrate manly bravery and curiosity—if not glorified immaturity. Sonia O. Was Here presents a woman’s reply.

In the spirit of Bukowski, Miller, and Fellini, Anja Snellman depicts a young woman’s search for independence and freedom, her struggle to define her boundaries, and her encounters with the double standards of our society.

First published in 1981, Sonia O. Was Here continues to be discovered by new generations of readers. The book remains the highest-selling debut novel in the history of Finnish literature, and it was recently included in a list of 101 all-time Finnish classics. The works were selected by the Finnish Broadcasting Company in 2017, the centenary of Finnish independence.

The book still raises the question: beneath the surface, how much of all the progress we seem to have made is real?


Originally published under the author name Anja Kauranen.


Prizes, Awards

J.H. Erkko Award for the Best Debut novel 1981


Rights sold

English (New Terrain Press)
Czech (Ivo Železný)


Praise for the work

“Even a general message for us: that we should dare to crawl out of our oppressed and fearful burrows to blink in the cold, clear daylight where we really belong; that we should dare to discover there what our true limits are and where our purpose lies.” – World Literature Today, USA