© Otava / Jukka Mykkänen

Joel Haahtela


Joel Haahtela (b. 1972) is an author and a psychiatrist. People’s stories are important to him in both of his professions, and the self is a key theme in Haahtela’s writing. Haahtela was inspired to specialise in psychiatry after reading Oliver Sacks’ book The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat. Haahtela aspires to understand the human condition and the meaning of people’s own decisions in their lives. His parallel careers complement each other very well, and Haahtela believes he will never stop writing. Haahtela is known as a master of subtle, tantalisingly enigmatic prose. His debut novel, Twice Disappeared, was published in the spring of 1999.

Haahtela’s literary output includes two novels that have been nominated for the prestigious Finlandia Prize: Elena in 2003 and Vanishing Point in 2010.

Joel Haahtela’s works have been translated into German (Piper Verlag), Russian (Text Publishers) and Estonian (Hea Lugu).


Press quotes

Haahtela writes so cuttingly, yet so comfortingly. – Gloria

In his books, silences can speak and the atmosphere is palpably minute and intimate. At the same time, there is a great sense of storytelling. – Savon Sanomat

This skilled prose author is both a realist as well as an absurdist. – Keskisuomalainen

Searching, confusion, estrangement, chance and fate, as well as precise visual descriptions and atmospheric, almost poetic sentences, have been central to many of Haahtela’s works. – Hämeen Sanomat

Haahtela’s way of writing and storytelling is sensitive and richly nuanced. – Hämeen Sanomat

Haahtela’s style of writing is controlled and beautiful. – Kainuun Sanomat

Haahtela is an utterly fascinating writer and unashamedly literary. – Kauppalehti Optio



  • Twice Disappeared (Kaksi kertaa kadonnut, 1999)
  • Women Looking Against the Light (Naiset katsovat vastavaloon, 2000)
  • Come to the Crossroads at Seven (Tule risteykseen seitsemältä, 2002)
  • Elena (Elena, 2003)
  • The Butterfly Collector (Perhoskerääjä, 2006)
  • The Snow Diary (Lumipäiväkirja, 2008)
  • Vanishing Point (Katoamispiste, 2010)
  • Traumbach (Traumbach, 2012)
  • Star-bright, Snow-white (Tähtikirkas, lumivalkea, 2013)



Olvi Literature Prize, 2002

Works published in / Rights sold to:

Estonia (Hea Lugu, Loomingu Raamatukogu)
Germany (Berlin Verlag, Piper)
Israel (Carmel)
Russia (Text Publishers)



Published books