Warm welcome to Hanne Heikkinen!

Kuvassa on punaiseen villatakkiin, paitaan ja tummiin housuihin pukeutunut nainen, joka seisoo parvella takanaan nkymä kirjaston saliin. The photo shows a woman dressed in red wool coat, dark shirt and trousers. She is standing on a loft, and behind her one can see the main hall of a librrary.

In May we thanked our long-term library director Taina Hyvönen for her distinguished work for Kuhmo’s library and culture services, wishing her all the best for her retirement – and welcomed our new library director and head of culture Hanne Heikkinen.

We have done collaborations throughout the year, and we are very delighted to officially introduce her to you.

Our warmest welcome, and thank you for joining the City of Literature team!

1. Could you tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m Hanne Heikkinen, Kuhmo’s library director and head of culture. I come from Kuhmo, and I studied in Oulu University majoring in Literature, with a minor in Information studies. One could say that the choice was made for the love of the game – I have always felt drawn towards books.

After getting my degree I worked in Kajaani as a librarian. Before long our family felt that it was time to return to Kuhmo. When the call for applications opened, I knew this was an opportunity that needed to be seized.

I belive that literature and culture have a great impact to our everyday life, and in they are a sorce of wellbeing in many ways. I wish to work towards making this true, especially in this home town of ours.

2. What makes Kuhmo a City of Literature?

It must be the heritage of the Kalevala epic, which can be be experienced in Kuhmo through many ways. We have the Juminkeko Centre, Kalevala area and story tradition, for example. In Kuhmo Kalevala and nature come together in a wonderful way.

For a city the size of this we have a very active base of library users, and compared to our total population there are many writers living in Kuhmo. We have already had some literary events, and we are working on further development. There are many interesting things coming up in the future.

I would say that people’s love for literature can be clearly seen in Kuhmo.

3. What is the most fascinating aspect of the City of Literature work you are looking forward to?

It is probably the international cooperation with the other member cities, and the opportunities the brings for our small City. The activities organised through the work give our residents, especially the youth and children, new ways to experience literature and culture. It is great to get connected to the people within our Network, and to be able to participate in the cultural exhange. It seems that the Network does many small, yet very nice projects – it does not always need to be large and lofty to be impactful.

4. Before we conclude our interview – could you share a reading tip, and recommend some local literary activity or sight everyone should experience at least once?

For books to read I recommend Marko Raassina’s Kalevala and Viena themed comics. Those are a fun interpretations of the Kalevala epic, and easily approachable for readers of many ages.

The first literary experience that comes to mind is runosinging that one can, on occasion, hear live performed in some of Kuhmo’s events. Of course I also warmly recommend that people visit our beautifully designed Town Libray, located near the gorgeus scenery of the Pajakkakoski rapids.