Miki Liukkonen in memoriam (1989-2023)

Miki Liukkonen. Portrait: Tero Ahonen / WSOY

Author Miki Liukkonen has died in Helsinki on July 4th, 2023. Liukkonen was one of Finland’s most luminous writers of contemporary literature.

Born in Oulu, Miki Liukkonen graduated from the Madetoja Music High School in 2009; the same year he won the J. H. Erkko writing competition. Liukkonen’s debut poetry collection Valkoisia runoja (”White Poems”) was published in 2011 by WSOY, and was shortlisted for the Helsingin Sanomat Literature Prize.

By the age of thirty-three, Liukkonen had authored numerous remarkable works, combining the characteristics of international experimental literature with a superb command of the Finnish language. His three poetry collections, five novels and a picture book aimed at grown-ups are filled with extravagant metaphor and obsessive characters trying to navigate through their chaotic present.

His magnificent novel, O (2017) attracted several nominations, including for the Finlandia Prize for Fiction, with critics hailing it one of the most significant Finnish novels of the 2010s, and the most convincing tour de force of Finnish literature in the 21st century. Le Monde characterized it as ”an erudite labyrinth and a magnetic monster of a book.”

Liukkonen’s magnum opus Elämä: Esipuhe (”Life: A Prologue”) was published in 2021 both as a regular edition and in an author’s unabridged edition. In 2022, Liukkonen took on the persona of an imaginary author Silvia Classic and published Johnny Mitten & Ville-Valle rotkon reunalla (”Johnny Mitten & Ville Valle on the Edge of an Abyss”), illustrated by Ville Ranta. Liukkonen’s last novel Vierastila (”Guest Mode”) will be published posthumously in September 2023. His works have been translated into French and Polish.

Samuli Knuuti, Liukkonen’s long-standing friend and editor paid the following tribute to him:

”Sometimes words fail us, but write we must. This is one of those moments. Miki Liukkonen was a dear friend of mine, a generous listener, and, in my opinion, the most talented author of his generation. I had the privilege to work with him for the years during which he authored four novels and four poetry collections. These books will live on, but it is impossible for me to accept that their author is gone. But loss is love’s accounting, its unit of measure as a metre is made of centimetres, and the day of counting the costs has come.

Miki often told me that life is too much for him. This was a sentiment he let flow into his novels, and the masterful Elämä: Esipuhe put on display everything human in such an abundant, funny and precise manner that its author seemed to carry within him many lives, many personae, many worlds. Now all of that is gone. This is a cliché, but sometimes clichés are all we’ve got. Rest in peace, Miki.”


Works by Miki Liukkonen:

Valkoisia runoja (2011)
Elisabet (2012)
Raivon historia (2015)
Lapset auringon alla (2013)
O (2017)
Hiljaisuuden mestari (2019)
Elämä: esipuhe (2021)
Silvia Classic: Johnny Mitten & Ville-Valle rotkon reunalla (2022)
Vierastila (2023)

In addition to these works, Miki Liukkonen’s poetry has been included in several anthologies, and he wrote the monologue play Tornado. Liukkonen was the guitarist and composer in the rock band The Scenes, who released several studio albums. Liukkonen hosted two seasons of the television show Sivullinen for Yle, the Finnish Broadcasting Company.


The family of Miki Liukkonen requests privacy at this difficult time.