New Plays from Finland
Sofi Oksanen (born 1977) is Finland’s most internationally acclaimed and domestically awarded Finnish-Estonian author and playwright. Her works have been translated into over fifty languages and her novels have sold millions of copies worldwide. Her higher education background is also expansive: she has studied literature in the University of Helsinki, writing in the University of Jyväskylä, and dramaturgy at the Helsinki Theatre Academy.
Oksanen categorizes herself as a feminist, which is also noticeable in her stories and characters. The themes in her works tend to focus on current socio-political issues and the inner lives of women. Some of the topics dealt with in her plays include xenophobia, eating disorders, mental health, oppression, corruption and sexuality. Many of her works contain an element of autofiction combined with the element of history repeating itself in the present.
Oksanen's body of work is not solely tied to novels, but also plays, operas, films and other mediums. She is particularly recognized for her 2007 play, Purge (Puhdistus), which received awards such as the Finlandia Award (2008), France’s Prix Femina Award (2010), and was later turned into a novel, a film script and an opera libretto. It has been staged and performed internationally in countries such as Estonia, Slovenia, and the United States.
Other notable works which have been adapted into plays or films include Stalins's Cows (Stalinin lehmät, 2003), Baby Jane (2005) and Too Short Skirt – Tales from the Kitchen (Liian lyhyt hame – Kertomuksia keittiöstä, 2011).
Her most recent novel from 2019, The Dog Park (Koirapuisto), deals with Western greed in the form of the lucrative fertility industry. The play was born from a commissioned playlet about the current state of Europe for the Burgtheater (in Vienna). Oksanen’s female characters are often praised for their ability to transform history into something personal and modern.