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Jussi Valtonen’s fourth novel cops Finlandia Prize

The prestigious Finlandia Prize for literature has been awarded to psychologist and novelist Jussi Valtonen for his title, “They know not what they do”. The winner was selected from six finalists by business leader and academic Professor Anne Brunila.

Jussi Valtonen
Jussi Valtonen Image: Vesa Moilanen / Lehtikuva

The geographical setting for Valtonen’s fourth novel is the United States and Finland. Tensions build when a researcher who conducts animal tests is pitted against his son, a staunch defender of animal rights. In laying out the rationale for choosing Valtonen’s work for the prize, Brunila described the book as a "mind-blowing work".

"I haven’t read any comparable contemporary domestic portrayal," Brunila added.

"The book is an amazing combination of the perceptive description of relationships, profound moral and ethical reflection, science fiction and suspense," she continued.

Jussi Valtonen studied psychology, theoretical philosophy and English philology at Helsinki University and is also a graduate of Johns Hopkins University in the USA, where he read neuropsychology. He is a father of two and plays guitar for two rock bands in his spare time.

The Helsinki resident published his first novel in 2003, and will take home 30,000 euros with the Finlandia prize.

Other finalists short-listed for the award were Heidi Jaatinen, Olli Jalonen, Tommi Kinnunen, Anni Kytömäki and Sirpa Kähkönen.

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