Lauren Beukes (b. 1976) is a South African writer, columnist, and screenwriter, whose books have achieved international fame.
Beukes’ novels have been described as genre-blending, with a social conscience that examines the fracture points of society and what it means to be human. They have been praised by Gillian Flynn, Stephen King, and George R. R. Martin, among many others. Her works have been translated into 23 languages, for example Finnish.
She has won many awards for her works. When it was published in 2013, Shining Girls won The University of Johannesburg Prize, the August Derleth Award for Best Horror, The Strand Magazine Critics Award for Best Mystery Novel, the RT Thriller of the Year, and the Mbokodo Award for creative writing.
In addition to novels, Beukes has written comics, short stories, non-fiction, movie scripts, and essays. Among the texts she has written is for example the Fairiest comic, published by Vertigo. Beukes has also directed a documentary, Glitterboys & Ganglands. Her novel Shining Girls is being developed for TV.
Beukes has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Cape Town. Before her writing career she worked as a freelance journalist.
When she is not on tour, Beukes lives in Cape Town with her daughter.
Maverick: Extraordinary Women from South Africa’s Past (2005)
Zoo City (2010)
The Shining Girls (2013)
Broken Monsters (2014)
Beukes’ official website:
In 2018, for the first time in its history Finncon will have a Swedish-speaking Finn as its guest of honour. Maria Turtschaninoff is a fantasy author who has won several awards and has risen to popular fame in the recent years.
Turtschaninoff’s YA fiction is a mix of adventure, mythology, and growing up in both fantasy worlds and alternative Finland. One of the overarching themes in her works has been searching for and defining one’s gender identity.
Turtschaninoff is best known for her novel Maresi (2014), which won the Finlandia Junior Prize in 2014. Her previous book Arra, which takes place in the same fantasy world, was also nominated for the award when it was first published in 2009. Turtschaninoff has also been awarded the Society of Swedish Literature Prize for Arra in 2010 and the Finland-Swedish cultural prize in 2017, and she has been nominated for the 2018 Astrid Lindgren Memory Award.
In addition to YA fiction Turtschaninoff has written a children’s book called De ännu inte valda (2007), which on the surface is an adventure in a magical world with a touch of stepfamily thematism. A year before that, she debuted with Min mat och mammas, a cook book written together with her mother. Turtschaninoff has worked as a journalist and is Master of Philosophy with a degree in human ecology.
Pushkin Press has world English rights to and has published English translations of the first two books, Maresi (2016) and Naondel (2017) in Turtschaninoff’s Red Abbey Chronicles -trilogy.
Works (in Swedish):
Min mat och mammas (2006), with Christine Saarukka
De ännu inte valda (2007)
Anaché: Myter från akkade (2012)
Maresi: Krönikor från Röda klostret (2014)
Turtschaninoff’s official website: https://www.mariaturtschaninoff.com/english
Our guest scholar is Dr Merja Polvinen. She is an Adjunct Professor of Comparative Literature and a Senior Lecturer in English Philology at the University of Helsinki. Polvinen has been involved in Finfar, the Finnish Society of Science Fiction and Fantasy, since it was founded. She is also the Chair of the Advisory Board of the society’s publication Fafnir.
Polvinen’s research interests lie in for example cognitive approaches to science fiction, and she is a steering group member in the Cognitive Futures in the Arts and Humanities network. She completed her dissertation Reading the Texture of Reality: Chaos Theory, Literature and the Humanist Perspective in 2008. You can take a closer look at her research on her profile at the University of Helsinki website.
Polvinen was in charge of the Academic Track at the Worldcon in Helsinki in 2017. Another piece of her fandom history is that in the 1990s, she was the Chair of the Finnish Tolkien Society Kontu for a term.
Translation: Sanni Lappalainen, Turtschaninoff’s picture: Karin Lindroos