1991 Nils-Aslak Valkeapää, The Sami Language Area: Beaivi, áhčážan

1991 Nils-Aslak Valkeapää, Det samiska språkområdet: Beaivi, áhčážan
Per-Ola Utsi

About the author

Nils Aslak Valkeapää was an internationally active Sami cultural personality. He grew up in family of reindeer herders and trained as a schoolteacher, but his interest in spreading Sami culture prevailed little by little. Joiks, poems, songs, visual art, film music, political written works – he had many strings to his bow or rather many images on his drum. His home was in the town of Beahttet on the Swedish-Finnish border. He said that he often felt lonely in big cities, but never on his farm in the open spaces among the winds, the river and the birds.

About the winning piece

The Sun, My father ­is an epic about the Sami people. Using images and poetry, he tells the story from the earliest known rock engravings until today’s Sapmi. Moreover, the book can also be read as an internal voyage in Sami cultural consciousness – with its intimate associations with nature and tradition. The book breathes justified pride in the strange ancient heritage, but, at the same time, it wants to be understood in a modern, urbanised world. It is well known that The Sun, My Father has represented a great source of inspiration for many young artistically active Sami.

Beaivi, áhčážan (The Sun, My father)

Published by: The publishing company DAT 

Publication year: 1988

This is what the Adjudicating Committee had to say

"The author has created a work which links the past and the present, documentation and fiction in an untried and innovative form. The book gives expression to Sami cultural history and shows the readers the riches of the Sami language. The double and multiple substance of the words inspires the reader to reflection, gives the Sami faith and pride on behalf of the language and has a ground-breaking effect on all one dimensional use of language."