Karen Anne Buljo

Karen Anne Buljo
Marie Louise Somby
Karen Anne Buljo: Šiellaspeajal. Poetry collection, Davvi Girji, 2017.

Šiellaspeajal (“The Amulet Mirror” in English - unpublished) is a collection of poems for young people written in North Sami by Karen Anne Buljo.

The book is a guide for young people to the symbol-rich world of Sami narrative tradition and a Sami worldview that has been handed down from generation to generation.

The title, Šiellaspeajal, alludes to the core values laid down by the ancestors to protect future generations. The poems offer an insight into the Sami world of symbolism, the joik, stories, and people’s close relationship with nature.

Through the poems, the author wants to demonstrate how this mindset can help to give young people strength in volatile times. The poems are about existential questions, about being a child, a young person, an adult, and a grandparent, about an upbringing in which the mythical is part of life, and about growing up in the Sami environment with the fear of losing one’s language and existence in the future. Young Sami people can relate to this in their day-to-day lives, and many of them are searching for their own Sami identity.

The oral narrative tradition is still an important part of the Sami reality. The author makes unique use of the potential of the Sami language and Sami narrative tradition to address key issues for young people, such as love, longing, disappointment, and sadness.

The author has such understanding of the Sami language and musicality in her way of using the language that she stands out. This is why the nomination committee has selected this book as the candidate of the Sami language area for the 2019 Nordic Council Children and Young People’s Literature Prize.