Mika Keränen

Children’s stories Mika Keränen

Mika Arto Juhani Keränen (b. 24. XI 1973) is an Estonian children’s author of Finnish origin, and a patriot of the Tartu region, who has become known for his series of crime stories addressed to children, in which the adventures are set in the Supilinn area of Tartu.

Born in Helsinki, he grew up in Ilomantsi in the most easterly corner of Karelian Finland. He graduated from Kitee Secondary School in 1992. His studies at Ilomantsi Horticultural College and in the forestry department of the Estonian Agricultural University were not completed. In 1999 he graduated in Estonian as a foreign language from the University of Tartu. Thereafter he worked as a researcher at the Institute for the Languages of Finland and as an Estonian-Finnish interpreter for translation agencies. From 2002 to 2006 he was the director of the Estonian Institute in Finland. Since 2006 he has lived and worked in Tartu, Estonia. He has worked as a consultant in the office of foreign relations at the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research, and at the University of Tartu as a Finnish language instructor. He is one of the founders of the Tartu Young Authors’ Association. In 2010 he won the Literature Endowment Annual Award. His outside passion is football.

Under the pseudonym Mihkel Kera, Keränen published the poetry collection Tähelepanekuid noorusaastatest (‘Observations from Youth’, 2003). He has written a series of crime books for children, in the course of whose tense and exciting events, crimes are solved inventively by under-age master detectives. The stories introduce the interesting characters of Supilinn, a strange part of Tartu with its special atmosphere. In his debut novel Varastatud oranž jalgratas (‘The Stolen Orange Bicycle’, 2008), the young detectives are on the track of a gang of bicycle thieves; in the story Peidetud hõbedane aardelaegas (‘The Hidden Silver Treasure Box’, 2009) the group of friends are after a hoard buried during the war in the town’s botanical gardens. In the following books, Vana roosa maja (‘The Old Pink House’, 2010), Salapärane lillenäppaja (‘The Secret Flower-snatcher’, 2011), Professor Must (‘Professor Black’, 2013), Kuldne Lurich (‘Golden Lurich’, 2014), Küttepuuvargad (‘The Firewood Thieves’, 2015), Jõmmu (2016) and Fantoomrattur (‘The Phantom Cyclist’, 2017), the secret society of Supilinn children continues its adventures. Armando (2012), written for younger school-age children, tells of the difficulties of adaptation of a schoolboy who moves from Argentina to Estonia, and about tolerance towards other nationalities.

Based on Keränen’s children’s books, an adventure film for family viewing, Supilinna salaselts (‘The Supilinn Secret Society’) has been made as a Finnish-Estonian collaboration (2015, director Margus Paju). The Estonian Drama Theatre has staged productions for children of ‘The Stolen Orange Bicycle’ (2010), ‘The Old Pink House’ (2012) and ‘Golden Lurich’ (2014; all directed by Ingomar Vihmar). Life in Supilinn has also been depicted in the popular so-called ‘My’-series of travelogues by the publishing house Petrone Print: Minu Supilinn (‘My Supilinn’, 2012), which describes things, places and people encountered by the author there. He has written an adventure story for young people in Finnish, Maaliviivalla (‘On the Goal Line’, 2014; in Estonian Väravajoonel, 2014). His works have been translated into Finnish, Russian and Latvian. He himself has translated works by Mehis Heinsaar, Andrus Kivirähk, Hasso Krull, Veiko Märka and Wimberg into Finnish.

A. O. (Translated by C. M.)

Books in Estonian

Children’s and young adult books
Varastatud oranž jalgratas. Tallinn: Jutulind, 2008, 87 lk. [2. trükk: 2010.]
Peidetud hõbedane aardelaegas. Tallinn: Jutulind, 2009, 115 lk.
Vana roosa maja. Tallinn: Jutulind, 2010, 92 lk.
Salapärane lillenäppaja. Tartu: Keropää, 2011, 141 lk.
Armando. Tallinn: Tallinna Keskraamatukogu, 2012, 44 lk. [2. trükk: Tartu: Keropää, 2015, 80 lk.]
Professor Must. Tartu: Keropää, 2013, 140 lk.
Kuldne Lurich. Tartu: Keropää, 2014, 146 lk.
Küttepuuvargad. Tartu: Keropää, 2015, 118 lk.
Jõmmu. Tartu: Keropää, 2016, 157 lk.
Fantoomrattur. Tartu: Keropää, 2017, 157 lk.

Mihkel Kera, Tähelepanekuid noorusaastatest. Helsinki: Kirja Kerrallaan, 2003, 124 lk.

A memoir / travelogue
Minu Supilinn: tõelise elu mekk. Tartu: Petrone Print, 2012, 196 lk.

Books in Finnish

Maaliviivalla. Helsinki: WSOY, 2014, 207 lk. [Young adult novel.]

Indrek Koff, Mika Keränen, Oi Suomi on. Eräänlainen selviytymistarina. Vironkielisestä alkuperäisteoksesta […] suomen oloihin koulinut Mika Keränen; kannen suunnittelu ja taitto: Piia Ruber, valokuvat: Mika Keränen. Tartu: Keropää, 2018, 69 lk. [Adaptation of Indrek Koff’s ’Eestluse elujõust: hüsteeriline traktaat’.]