Sofi Oksanen

One of the most awarded literary authors in Scandinavia and translated into 46 languages and sold in more than 2 million copies, Finnish-Estonian novelist, librettist and playwright Sofi Oksanen (b. 1977) is an icon of her field. Called a “literary phenomenon” by The Times, Oksanen has since her international breakthrough novel, Purge, proved time and again that she is a mistress of human drama, incorporating historical and contemporary issues that move the reader. Her most recent work is Same River Twice – Putin’s War on Women, a literary essay on colonialism and oppression, women, and war.


Olivier Award (Best New Opera Production) UK 2024
Finland National Prize Finland 2023
Vilhelm Moberg-Society Prize Sweden 2023
Cross of Merit by the Estonian Foreign Ministry (II Class) Estonia 2023
Usedom Literature Prize Usedom Island 2023
Shortlisted for the Fedora Opera Prize 2021
Medal of Honor by the Ukrainian Association in Finland Finland 2021
Chevalier Medal of Honour by Ordre des Arts et des Lettres France 2019
Nominated for The New Academy Prize in Literature Sweden 2018
Shortlisted for the Ambassador of Finnish Culture award (The Culture Gala of the Century) Finland 2017
Longlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award Ireland – Kun kyyhkyset katosivat When the Doves Disappeared 2017
Shortlisted for the Young Aleksis Literature Prize Finland – Norma Norma 2016
The Budapest Grand Prize Hungary 2013
The Swedish Academy Nordic Prize Sweden 2013
Order of the Lion of Finland – the Pro Finlandia Medal Finland 2012
The French Bookseller’s Prize France – Puhdistus Purge 2012
Shortlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award Ireland – Puhdistus Purge 2011
Shortlisted for the Green Carnation Prize UK – Puhdistus Purge 2011
The European Book Prize France – Puhdistus Purge 2010
The Prix du roman Fnac France – Puhdistus Purge 2010
The Prix Femina Étranger France – Puhdistus Purge 2010
The Nordic Council’s Literature Prize The Nordic Councils – Puhdistus Purge 2010
Shortlisted for the Prix Médicis France – Puhdistus Purge 2010
The Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana (IV class) Estonia 2010
The Runeberg Award Finland – Puhdistus Purge 2009
The Finlandia Award Finland – Puhdistus Purge 2008
The Kalevi Jäntti Prize Finland – Puhdistus Purge 2008
The Mika Waltari Award Finland – Puhdistus Purge 2008
The SSKK Recognition Award Finland – Puhdistus Purge 2008
The Kristiina of the Year Award Finland – Puhdistus Purge 2008
The Great Finnish Book Club Prize Finland – Puhdistus Purge 2008
Shortlisted for the Runeberg Award Finland – Stalinin lehmät Stalin’s Cows 2004
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The Estonian Quartet

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Anders & Anette de la Motte, Ulf Lundell and Sofi Oksanen on the Swedish bestseller list

The first installment in Anders and Anette de la Motte’s new murder mystery series, Death on Capri, claims the No. 1 spot on the Swedish bestseller list for hardcovers this week. Moreover, Ulf Lundell’s Weekdays 10, from the celebrated collection of excerpts from his private diary, comes in at No. 3. On the non-fiction list, Sofi Oksanen’s critically acclaimed Same River Twice – Putin’s War Against Women, lands the No. 5 spot.


Toni Härkönen Photo: Toni Härkönen

‘Innocence’ opera winner of a 2024 Olivier Award

The lauded opera Innocence has received a 2024 Olivier Award for Best New Opera Production. The Olivier Award is one of the most prestigious awards in theatre, and the ceremony took place at Royal Albert Hall in London on Sunday.

Innocence was composed by Kaija Saariaho with the libretto written by Sofi Oksanen. The opera had its world premiere at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence in 2021 and premiered at London’s Royal Opera House in April 2023.

Photo: Toni Härkönen

Sofi Oksanen awarded the Finland National Prize

Sofi Oksanen has just been awarded the Finland National Prize of 2023.

Oksanen is being honored for her rich body of work with a motivation which reads:

“Sofi Oksanen is one of the most internationally successful Finnish writers, whose works have been translated into 40 languages. Oksanen writes about war, humanity, the position of women and the problems of society in an analytical and perceptive way. Oksanen made her breakthrough with the novel Purge, which she wrote based on a play she had written for the Finnish National Theatre. In her most recent essay, Same River Twice – Putin’s War Against Women, the author describes the logic of Russia’s warfare and especially its relationship with women: sexual violence, child deportations and disinformation campaigns, offering new information and a fresh perspective on a current topic that affects us all.”

The Finland National Prize is a cultural award conferred by the Ministry of Education and Culture of Finland and has been handed out annually since 1993 to Finnish artists of great importance.

‘Same River Twice’ published in Finland

Twenty years after the publication of Stalin’s Cows, Sofi Oksanen is back with an impactful essay, Same River Twice, depicting how Russia is repeating its old playbook in Ukraine, a playbook first executed by Catherine the Great in Crimea in 1783, and again on a larger and bloodier scale by the Soviet Union and Stalin.

Russia has never confronted its imperialist past. Instead, the Kremlin has focused on creating enemies, using them to lay the groundwork for the sexual violence it employs in wars and dehumanizing those who become victims of human rights abuses. Gender equality progress is in decline in Putin’s Russia. Russia silences women, uses rape as a weapon, and humiliates its victims in the media, threatening them with further sexual violence.

This essay on colonialism, oppression and genocide is also a story of war and of women. It addresses the necessity of talking about war, and about war crimes, arguing that no matter what happens, silence cannot ever win.

Photo: Toni Härkönen

‘The Dog Park’ shortlisted for the Christine Award

Sofi Oksanen’s The Dog Park has just been shortlisted for the Christine Award 2023. The award is issued by Bücherfrauen – Women in Publishing, a German organization which works to support women in publishing. The Christine Award was established in 2021 and is given every two years to a writer who through their writing contributes to gender equality and empowers women. The winner, endowed with 10 000 euros, will be announced on October 19th at the Frankfurt Bookfair. 

Toni Härkönen Photo: Toni Härkönen

Sofi Oksanen awarded the Vilhelm Moberg-Society Prize 2023

The prestigious literary prize of the Vilhelm Moberg-Society is this year awarded to Sofi Oksanen.

The society argues that Sofi Oksanen is a tremendous author that takes great courage in discussing difficult issues and therefore is an obvious winner. She is one of the most influential and important contemporary authors, not least due to her ability to illustrate hardship and different forms of oppression.

The Vilhelm Moberg-Society Prize is awarded annually on April 6th, and the ceremony takes place August 19th in Sweden.


Toni Härkönen Photo: Toni Härkönen

Sofi Oksanen at the Swedish Academy

On March 22nd, Sofi Oksanen spoke at the Swedish Academy. With reference to the freedom of speech and democracy, the theme of this year’s Academy Conference was “Thought and Truth under Pressure”.

Sofi spoke on ‘Russia’s war against Women’, inquiring into misogyny as a state policy and an instrument of imperialism.

Her speech was incredibly well received, with reviews describing it as “powerful”, “on point” and “important”.

Click HERE to watch the speech.

Photo: Toni Härkönen

Sofi Oksanen awarded the Estonia Foreign Ministry’s Cross of Merit, Second Class

This year, the Crosses of Merit of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are awarded to diplomats and partners from Estonia and beyond for their notable contribution to the Estonian foreign service, foreign policy objectives and Estonian statehood.

Sofi Oksanen received the Cross of Merit, Second Class, by virtue of having raised awareness of Estonian history, and boosting Estonia’s profile internationally, through her writing.

Toni Härkönen Photo: Toni Härkönen

Sofi Oksanen awarded the Usedom Literature Prize 2023

Sofi Oksanen has been awarded the Usedom Literary Prize 2023. The Usedom Literature Prize is awarded annually since 2011, to literary figures who appear strongly committed to the European dialogue, both past and present. The award is intended to promote the continued exchange of ideas and to further the literary tradition on the Baltic Island of Usedom.

The jury’s motivation is as follows:

“In her oeuvre, Sofi Oksanen links Finland and Estonia, two European countries, two historical spaces with a socio-cultural present. She makes them experienceable in a transnational and profoundly European context. In a masterful and moving way, Sofi Oksanen portrays unimaginably painful and complex human biographies, marked by the totalitarian experiences of the 20th century. These cast long shadows on this part of our continent to this day. For what was experienced then continues to have an effect today with the survival strategies that were developed. Sofi Oksanen thus also poses questions to all of us. With a view to memory, she challenges us to seriously reflect on our attitudes and values.”

The award ceremony will take place May 6th.

Toni Härkönen

Sofi Oksanen appointed literary godmother to Finland’s prime minister

Sofi Oksanen is one of sixteen authors entrusted with the role of literary godparent to Finnish political decision-makers. Sanasto, an organization dedicated to copyright issues in literature, has launched a program where they connect authors and decision-makers in order to create a link between literature and politics. The authors entrusted with this mission will uphold a conversation about literature, the book industry and copyright matters.

Oksanen’s three godchildren include prime minister Sanna Marin, speaker of parliament Anu Vehviläinen, and chairman of the education and culture committee Paula Risikko.

Toni Härkönen

‘Innocence’ opera nominated in two categories at the Culture Gala in Finland

The opera Innocence, with the libretto written by Sofi Oksanen, has been nominated for the Cultural Achievement of the Year in Finland. Innocence is also nominated in the category International Achievement.

Voting for Cultural Achievement of the Year will continue through November 9th, and the winners will be announced at the Culture Gala in Tammerfors on November 25th.

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