Johanna Laitila

Johanna Laitila (b. 1986) was born in the Arctic city of Rovaniemi, Northern Finland. For several years, she lived on the east coast of Scotland, and she still calls St Andrews her other home. In Scotland, Laitila studied, researched and taught English literature and film. She did her PhD at the University of St Andrews School of English, and her monograph, Melodrama, Self, and Nation in Post-War British Popular Film, was published by Routledge (2018).

Laitila’s first novel, Lilium Regale (2019), was praised for its unique language and poetic realism. Hatching (2020) is her second novel, rewritten in English by the accomplished author herself.

Laitila’s writing is characterised by her original voice and fierce, lyrical use of language. Her multi-layered prose celebrates the power of senses and the melody of words. In her works, language and the body are intertwined and in perpetual search for connection. As an author, Laitila is interested in exploring different ways of using and abusing power, as well as revealing the blind spots of history and stories that have been silenced. The nuances of gender identity and sexuality are at the core of both Hatching and Lilium Regale.
In her upcoming third novel, The Thirst for Snow
(2022), she will write about lost language and forgotten roots. The story examines the future of the North, as its characteristic nature is disappearing, and portrays mourning for a culture one is alienated from.

‘A great overture to a literary career – the novel breathes linguistically and describes how carefully preserved taboos can be opened.’

– Helsingin Sanomat newspaper on Lilium Regale

‘An interesting and linguistically breath-taking masterpiece… with refreshing frenzy and certainty in the narration.’  

– Lapin Kansa newspaper on Lilium Regale

‘The book is a surprise of such magnitude that I’m a snowy owl if it isn’t the best debut of the year!

– Literature blogger Leena Lumi on Lilium Regale

Photo: © Niclas Mäkelä 2020

Related Content

  • 29 Jan 2021

    Rights & Brands Podcast episode 9: Johanna Laitila recomposes historical Helsinki in melodic narrative

  • 26 Nov 2020

    Author Johanna Laitila joins Rights and Brands along with novel Hatching

    Read more

Awards & Nominations


  • Toisinkoinen Literature Prize


  • Runeberg Prize


Related publishing

  • Hatching

    Johanna Laitila
    Read more
  • Lilium regale

    Johanna Laitila
    Read more