Magical realism from Finland, in New Zealand – Finnish author bumps together two small weird countries - Osuuskumma

My Finnish Taniwha, a novel by Taru Kumara-Moisio, explores the differences and unexpected similarities of Finland and New Zealand, as well as the shared humanity of us all. Through the eyes of the young protagonist myths come to life and the ordinary becomes extraordinary.

‘This is our year abroad,’ Ella’s mother gushed on the aeroplane. ‘Bai bai, Finland!’

My Finnish Taniwha is a tragicomic novel about a Finnish family’s year in New Zealand. It is about fear, thirst for life, and the beauty and horror of the world. In a foreign environment, Ella learns to watch even familiar faces more closely than ever before. This magical-realist story delves into the heart of what it means to be human and speaks volumes by asking: who are we to one another?

Translated by Christina Saarinen.



Photo (c) Outi Puhakka


Taru Kumara-Moisio is a Finnish writer whose passion is to write touching science fiction and fantasy and other strange stories. She is particularly interested in myths and the boundaries of humanity. She has published two novels for adults and one for young adults, and her short stories can be found in various anthologies and magazines.

In addition to writing, Kumara-Moisio works as a high school teacher of Finnish and literature. She is well known for using live-action role-play as a teaching method and has written and led numerous educational live-action role-plays about climate change, literature and historical events.

She lived in New Zealand with her family in 2012–2014.

Author Homepage

Also check out Kumara-Moisio’s sessions in Worldcon 78.



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