J is for Jyväskylä

a-to-z-letters-jToday’s letter in the A-Z Challenge is J. While trying to think of a writerly topic to do with J, i started thinking about where my career began and why, and that took my back to a small Finnish city in the centre of the country.


Jyväskylä in Spring. Photo taken from Harju tower.

I moved to Finland in 2009 to study a Master’s in music, mind and technology at the University of Jyväskylä (You-vah-skew-lah). Between assignments and exams, I started writing fiction again. I wrote short stories mostly and even attempted a novel, which turned out to be terrible but taught me I could actually get to 50k words.

At the same time I started looking for an extra source of income. I was lucky and earned my first paycheck for writing after having a tiny article published in a pretty well known English language paper. After that, I approached my university’s newspaper, Jylkkari, and started writing monthly features for them on topics ranging from how to grow your own veggies to gay clubbing.

I owe the editors of Jylkkari a huge amount of thanks. It was because of that newspaper that I started to pursue a career in writing and began to believe that it was more than just a pipe-dream.


The northern lights above Jyväsjärvi (the huge lake in the centre of Jyväskylä)

It was in Jyväskylä that I sold my first short story, that I signed my first publishing contract and that I decided to make the career leap from musician to writer. I miss this city. I miss its quaintness and cosy coffee shops dotted along the only central shopping street. I miss skating on the lake in winter and sitting on the shore for summer picnics. I spent a wonderful 2.5 years in this little city and who’s to say I won’t end up back there one day.


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  • Vikki Thompson

    Just stopping by from the A-Z Challenge list to say “Hi”

    Really enjoyed your post honey.

    Good luck with the rest of the challenge 🙂


    • Suzanne_Writer

      Thank you for stopping by 😉

  • Tyrean Martinson

    Wonderful introduction to the city! It’s wonderful to hear that you sold your first story there.

    • Suzanne_Writer

      Thanks 🙂

  • Sylvia

    Very cool! Thanks for sharing. New follower here. I’m stopping by from
    the “A to Z” challenge and I look forward to visiting again.


    • Suzanne_Writer

      Thank you! 🙂 Heading over to your blog presently 🙂

  • cds

    You already know I’d like to visit Finland one day, and this seems like a great place to visit. Somewhere small where you can get a taste for what Finland and the Finnish people are like. And you can see the Northern Lights!! Cool post, and cool pictures. 🙂

    • Suzanne_Writer

      Jyväskylä is the Athens of Finland – really beautiful in summer 🙂 I hope you get to see it one day 🙂

  • Carol Kilgore

    Stopping by from A-Z and Texas. Husband has been to Finland several times. Mostly Turku and Pori. Good to meet you.

    • Suzanne_Writer

      Turku is lovely – very chilled and it has a castle! Thanks for stopping by 🙂