© Otava / Ville Juurikkala

Petri Tamminen


Petri Tamminen (b. 1966) is a Finnish author and freelance journalist. His debut work, Lives (Elämiä), was published in 1994, and since then Tamminen has become known as a master of short prose and laconic humour. “Finnish humour is like a truffle: it takes a pig to find it.” This bon mot by Petri Tamminen is a brilliant illustration of the standard of his writing. The secret of his concise expression is simple: “I trust in the reader’s understanding, but not their patience.”

The key themes in Tamminen’s works include existential issues of the Finnish male and the never-ending feeling of inadequacy in fulfilling the role of a modern man. Other favourite topics are shyness and shame, which he describes via his personal experiences, using his wry humour and not sparing himself.

Petri Tamminen has been awarded a number of literary prizes. He first rose to the public prominence in 2006 as a Finlandia Prize nominee for his novel What My Uncle Taught Me (Enon opetukset). That book has also been adapted into a made-for-TV movie.

Petri Tamminen’s works include short stories, short prose pieces, novels and radio plays.


Press quotes

Like Kaurismäki, Tamminen also paints with an economy of expression. Life is not improved by shouting excuses. When you stand aside in silence, you can make out the blowhards’ empty words. – Savon Sanomat

Petri Tamminen’s sentence is brief and declarative, but it contains everything. – Kansan Uutiset

The author has virtually made the serious sentence tinged with humour and irony into his own trademark. – Demari

Tamminen does things on a small scale and with great economy of expression, but a whisper can be more effective than a shout. – Etelä-Suomen Sanomat

Petri Tamminen knows how to blend the serious with the humorous. – Uutispäivä Demari

Throughout all his writing, Petri Tamminen has directed his passion towards the sentence. It’s true that the sentence is the hammer and nail in the author’s toolbox. Without a good sentence, no significant literature can come about. – Author Marko Kulmala, judge of the Finlandia Sentence Prize



  • Lives (Elämiä), 1994, short stories
  • Male Blues (Miehen ikävä), 1997, short stories
  • The Wrong Attitude (Väärä asenne), 2000, novel
  • In Hiding (Piiloutujan maa), 2002, short prose
  • Memoirs (Muistelmat), 2004, short prose
  • What My Uncle Taught Me (Enon opetukset), 2006, novel
  • What Happiness Is (Mitä onni on), 2008, novel
  • Other Fine Qualities (Muita hyviä ominaisuuksia), 2010, novel
  • Crime Novel (Rikosromaani), 2012, novel
  • Sea Novel (Meriromaani), 2015, novel



  • Finland Prize for Young Artists, 1997
  • City of Tampere literature prize, 1995
  • Koskenkorva Prize, 1997
  • Kalevi Jäntti Prize, 2002
  • Häme Arts Council Award, 2002
  • Great Finnish Bookclub Award, 2002
  • Finlandia Sentence Prize, 2011


Works published in / Rights sold to:

Canada (Aspasia Books)
Czech Republic (Mladá Fronta)
Denmark (Turbine)
Germany (Suhrkamp, Mare Verlag)
Poland (Fundacja Im. Adama Wittmanna)
Spain (meettok)
Sweden (Natur och Kultur)
USA / World English (Frisch & Co. Electronic Books Inc.)



Published books