© Paula Kukkonen

Hannu Väisänen

Hannu Väisänen is one of the best-known and most appreciated contemporary artists in Finland. He is both a painter and a novelist as well as a skillful musician: a true all-rounder in arts.

Väisänen has received all the most distinguished fine art awards in Finland. He has had several solo exhibitions and his works have been on display at home and abroad. The first novel in his autobiographical series, Breaking Bread, was published in 2004. The second volume, The Other Shoes, Received the Finlandia Prize in 2007.

Väisänen’s five novels draw a colourful portrait of an artist and of the time when Finnish art and design were opening up to the world. The series is beloved by critics and readers alike, and all the volumes have been bestsellers in Finland. Väisänen describes how the young boy Antero grows up in a garrison area in small-town Finland, then leaves his home, gradually opening himself up to the world, and becoming an artist. In the fifth volume Antero settles in Paris.

Väisänen reveres his idol Marcel Proust with his intens sensations and rich associations. Väisänen’s prose pulls together all the senses − seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, touching − inviting readers to marvel at the wonder of perceiving.

Väisänen’s stories abound with humor and light self-deprecation: Antero tends to cross paths with oddballs, and he keeps finding himself in hilarious situations that are silly enough to ring true.

Originally from Northern Finland, Hannu Väisänen now lives in France.



  • Breaking Bread (Vanikan palat), 2004 Otava
  • The Other Shoes (Toiset kengät), 2007 Otava
  • Finer Arts (Kuperat ja koverat), 2010 Otava
  • Celestial Guardians (Taivaanvartijat), 2013 Otava
  • Quicksilver (Elohopea), 2016 Otava


  • Thank You for the Book Medal, 2005
  • Finlandia Prize, 2007

Published books