New Plays from Finland
Kari Hotakainen (born 1957) is an author and playwright who has written in a wide range of genres such as fiction, books for young audiences, poems, plays, columns, newspaper articles, and advertisement texts. Hotakainen has won several literary awards such as the Finlandia Prize in 2002 for his novel Trench Road (Juoksuhaudantie), the Nordic Drama Award in 2006 for his play Border Crossing (Punahukka), and France’s Prix Courrier International award for best translated novel in 2011 for The Human Part (Ihmisen Osa, 2009). His works have been translated into over twenty languages.
Language plays a key role in Hotakainen’s texts, revealing through its complexity the inner psyches of his characters. The protagonists of his works are ordinary people who have lost their dignity but have begun to fight against their own antagonisms and misapprehensions. Hotakainen observes daily life and always finds new and unexpected meanings wherever he looks.
His monologue play, At Your Service (Palvelija, 2015), examines the nature of servanthood and its social position. Occupational groups and service jobs are a typical topic in his plays, prompting questions about the boundaries of servanthood and who serves whom. Hotakainen has turned At Your Service into a novel titled Lifeline (Henkireikä, 2015). According to the Finlandia award council, “Hotakainen handles the taboos of our time in an insightful and fun way.”