Mikael Niemi

Mikael Niemi

Swedish writer
Date of Birth: 13.08.1959
Country: Sweden

Biography of Mikael Niemi

Mikael Niemi is a Swedish writer and author of the internationally bestselling novel 'Populärmusik från Vittula' (Popular Music from Vittula). He was born on August 13, 1959, in the small Swedish town of Pajala, located just 10 kilometers from the Finnish border. The area itself is not particularly remarkable, except for the fact that during the Soviet-Finnish War in the spring of 1940, 134 bombs were dropped on it by Soviet planes. However, only two residents were slightly injured due to a fortunate coincidence. Today, Pajala has become a pilgrimage site for thousands of tourists from around the world who come to see with their own eyes everything they passionately read about in the book.

Mikael Niemi

Mikael Niemi is responsible for the city's fame, as he turned it and its surrounding areas into almost sacred places - places where every adult recognized their own memories, and even the stern charm of Scandinavian men was portrayed as particularly tender and emotional. 'Populärmusik från Vittula' was first published in 2000 and quickly became a hit in Sweden. It was soon translated into a dozen other languages, including Russian. As the author himself likes to say, he went to bed as a known writer in narrow circles and woke up as a world-famous one.

Mikael Niemi

'Populärmusik från Vittula' can hardly be called a novel; it is more like a string of childhood memories that acquire an unreal, magical tint over time and sometimes seem completely impossible. Literary scholars agree that Niemi's writing style is closest to magical realism, which, however, did not gain the most popularity in northern Sweden but rather in South America.

Mikael Niemi

The author himself shrugs it off, claiming that he wrote the book solely out of love for his small homeland - the very area of Vittula, which in Swedish translates to 'the hollow of a tree'. Readers, on the other hand, puzzle over whether all these events really happened and try to decipher whether they are the author's memories or skillful fiction.

With the release of the film adaptation in 2004, directed by Reza Bagher, the interest in the entire story only intensified, but readers still did not get any answers. The tragicomedy received positive reviews from critics, but it failed to provide answers to all the burning questions.

While Mikael Niemi's other books are popular in Sweden, they are still far from achieving the record-breaking success of 'Populärmusik från Vittula'. In the meantime, in Vittula, lonely tourists often encounter with a book clutched under their arm, wandering through the nearby forests and mountains, trying to relive everything that was part of their own childhood. Some even manage to meet Mikael himself, who still lives in the town to this day. Unfortunately, childhood remains far behind for many, so they have to reread Niemi's novel or the well-known childhood classic 'We Are All from Bullerby' by another Swedish writer, Astrid Lindgren, to once again immerse themselves in that atmosphere where everything seemed incredibly simple and yet absolutely unbelievable.

© BIOGRAPHS