Principal Investigators

Mari Hatavara

Mari Hatavara, PhD, Professor of Finnish Literature, University of Tampere. Hatavara specializes in narrative theory and literary narratology, intermediality, fiction and fictionality. She is author of two monographs on historical fiction and metafiction (in Finnish), and co-editor of Narrative Theory, Literature and New Media. Narrative Minds and Virtual Worlds (Routledge 2015), with Matti Hyvärinen, Maria Mäkelä and Frans Mäyrä; The Travelling Concepts of Narrative (Benjamins 2013), with Matti Hyvärinen and Lars-Christer Hydén; Natural and Unnatural Narratives. Directions of Postclassical Narratology (Gaudeamus 2010, in Finnish), with Pekka Tammi and Markku Lehtimäki. Her published research on narrative theory includes articles on free indirect discourse, (unnatural) narrative communication, ekphrasis, fictionality, methodological exchange between different disciplinary traditions of narrative theory and analysis, and the poetics of historical fiction and metafiction. Hatavara will spend the spring 2016 at The Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies working on the project “Mediating Experience: Voices, Images and Narrative Self”, and is a Visiting Professor for York University Interdisciplinary Centre for Narrative Studies Jan 2nd to April 2nd, 2017. Research activities, see research database.

Mikko Keskinen

Mikko Keskinen, PhD, Docent, Professor of Comparative
Literature, University of Jyväskylä.
Keskinen specializes in narrative theory, intermediality, and experimental fiction. He is the author of Response, Resistance, Deconstruction (Jyväskylä UP, 1998) and Audio Book: Essays on Sound Technologies in Narrative Fiction (Lexington Books, 2008). His articles on literary theory and contemporary American, British, and French fiction have been published in Critique, PsyArt, The Romanic Review, and Imaginaires, as well as in various edited volumes, e.g. Terrorism, Media, and the Ethics of Fiction (Continuum, 2010), and Theory of Mind and Literature (Purdue UP, 2010). His articles on Foer’s Tree of Codes and Rawle’s Woman’s World are forthcoming in L’art comme texte (Editions Hermann, 2016) and Image& Narrative, respectively.

Pirjo Lyytikäinen

Pirjo Lyytikäinen, PhD, Professor of Finnish literature, University of Helsinki. Lyytikäinen has specialized in Finnish and European fin-the-siècle and early modernism with many publications on allegory and on genre research. Her current research interests in literature and emotions focus on developing a cognitive poetics of emotion effects: i.e. studying how emotions and affects are expressed and mediated in literary texts. Lyytikäinen’s publications include several monographs in Finnish (the latest on ‘Allegorical Cities in Leena Krohn‘ 2013) and numerous articles in English. She has edited and co-edited the following anthologies in English: Values in Literature (2015), Imagining Spaces and Places (2013), Rethinking Mimesis (2012), Genre and Interpretation (2010), The Angel of History: Literature, History and Culture (2009) and Changing Scenes: Encounters between European and Finnish Fin de Siècle (2003). She has been active in the international PhDnet Literary and Cultural Studies since its founding in 2008 and was director of the Finnish Doctoral Programme for Literary Studies (2007-2013) and member of the Executive council of International Comparative Literature Assosiation (2011-2013).


Anna Hollsten
Anna Hollsten, PhD, University Lecturer in Finnish Literature, University of Helsinki. Hollsten specializes in theory of poetry, word and image studies, environmental criticism, modern confessional writing, literary celebrity, and most recently in the study of affects and emotions in literature. Her doctoral thesis, published in 2004, explored the poetics of the Finland-Swedish writer Bo Carpelan. Additionally, her publications include several articles investigating Finnish poetry from 1945 onwards published in Avain, Kulttuurintutkimus and Life Writing as well as in various edited volumes. In LILI Hollsten contributes primarily for the work package of Literature and emotions: creating emotion effects and affecting readers. Her project focuses on the emotional poetics of Finnish family elegies of the 1960s and the 1970s.

Matti Hyvärinen
Matti Hyvärinen, PhD, Professor of Sociology, University of Tampere. Hyvärinen has studied the conceptual history of narrative, the narrative turns and interdisciplinary narrative theory. His most recent foci of interest include folk psychology, narrative minds, and socionarratology. He is the co-editor of the volumes Narrative Theory, Literature, and New Media. Narrative Minds and Virtual Worlds (Routledge 2015), The Travelling Concepts of Narrative, John Benjamins 2013, and Beyond Narrative Coherence, John Benjamins 2010. He has published research articles in Partial Answers, Qualitative Inquiry and Narrative Works, and in several edited volumes, including the entry on narrative genres in the Handbook of Narrative Analysis, edited by Anna De Fina and Alexandra Georgakopoulou (Wiley, 2015). In Finnish, he has co-edited the volume Hajoava perhe [Disintegrating family] which is an interdisciplinary study on Ian McEwan’s novel On Chesil Beach. He severs as editorial board member in Storyworlds and Narrative Works.

Juri Joensuu
Juri Joensuu, PhD, Junior Lecturer in Literary Studies / Writing Program, University of Jyväskylä. Joensuu has concentrated on different literary-historical, methodical, technological, poetic, and mental implications of experimental writing. His other areas of interest include digital and procedural literature, conceptual literature in Finland, literary 1960’s, and psychotic writing. His doctoral dissertation ”Methods, Experiments, Machines. Procedural Writing in Poetics, Literary History, and in the Finnish Experimental Literature” (in Finnish) was examined in October 2012. His present interest in literary comedy and comical writing also stems — partly — from this background; insights to writing that innovative and supposedly ”marginal” approaches can yield. He is a member of MKS (Mahdollisen Kirjallisuuden Seura, The Society of Expanding Literary Possibilities).

Maria Laakso
Maria Laakso, PhD, Junior Lecturer in Literary Studies, University of Tampere. Laakso is a researcher and teacher of literary studies and she is specialized on Finnish literature. She has published several articles on literary humor, the societal themes of contemporary Finnish fiction, and children’s literature. Her doctoral thesis “From Nonsense to Parody, From Irony to Wordplay. Multi-level Humour and Dual Audience Address in Kari Hotakainen’s Children’s Fiction” (2014, in Finnish) she examined the relationship between literary humor and the audience structures in Finnish children’s novels. In this project she explores the forms, tools and methods that create humorous registers used to produce shared meanings about economic and social problems in contemporary society.

Maria Mäkelä
Maria Mäkelä, PhD, Senior Lecturer in Comparative Literature, University of Tampere. In 2014-2018, Mäkelä works as Postdoctoral Researcher in her project Voice as Experience: Life-Storying in Contemporary Media, funded by the Academy of Finland and accociated with LILI. She has worked as guest lecturer at the Aarhus University Intensive Programme in Narratology international summer school 2009-2012 as well as Visiting Professor at Aarhus University Centre for Fictionality Studies in 2014, and she is a founding member of the Unnatural Narratology Research Group. She is the author of a PhD thesis in Finnish “Textual Deceptions and the Unfaithful Mind: Conventions of Literary Cosnciousness Representation as a Narratological Challenge” (2011) and co-editor of the books Narrative, Interrupted: The Plotless, the Disturbing and the Trivial in Literature (De Gruyter 2012) and Narrative Theory, Literature, and New Media: Narrative Minds and Virtual Worlds (Routledge 2015). Her main areas of research are consciousness representation, voice and realism across media, the literary tradition of adultery, and the methodological exchange between classical and postclassical as well as between unnatural and cognitive narratology.

Elise Nykänen
Elise Nykänen, PhD, Post-Doctoral Researcher in Finnish Literature, University of Helsinki. Nykänen is an expert in the study of fictional minds, cognitive and affective narratology, possible world theory, and fictional dialogue. Her dissertation Worlds Within and Without. Presenting Fictional Minds in Marja-Liisa Vartio’s Narrative Prose was published in 2014. Nykänen has also published several articles on her research topics in Finnish and international volumes, journals, and conference proceedings and co-edited the volume Dialogi kaunokirjallisuudessa (Dialogue in Fiction, 2013). Her current post-doctoral project examines existential feelings and moods in character narration and consciousness presentation in Finnish modernist prose fiction. Nykänen has worked as a Visiting Scholar at Project Narrative at The Ohio State University (2015‒2016) and as a Visiting PhD Scholar at the International Graduate Center for the Study of Culture (GCSC) at Justus Liebig University in Giessen (2013). For more information on Nykänen’s publications and other academic activities, please visit:

Laura Piippo
Laura Piippo, MA, PhD Student in Literary Studies, University of Jyväskylä. Piippo is currently working on her doctoral thesis Indefinitely identifiable. Repetitive Poetics of Neuromaani (2012). In this research she focuses on the experimentalism, poetics and affects of a prominent Finnish novel by Jaakko Yli-Juonikas (b. 1976), mainly through the concepts of repetition, assemblage and détournement, thus contributing primarily to the LILI work package of Poetics and Politics of Contemporary Finnish Experimental Literature. Piippo has gained, through her international and domestic conference presentations, an increasingly visible status in the study of repetition and found texts applying theories of affects, narrative and materiality to experimental prose. Her international and domestic articles on these subjects are forthcoming in edited volumes (UCL Press, Nykykulttuuri) in 2016–2017. Piippo will spend the spring 2016 at the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis ASCA (University of Amsterdam) working on an article on the postmodernist and cognitive aspects of Neuromaani. For more information on Piippo’s publications, presentations and other academic activities, please visit:

Riikka Rossi
Riikka Rossi, PhD, Docent of Finnish Literature, University of Helsinki. Rossi is the Principal investigator in the University of Helsinki research project Rethinking Realistic Worldmaking. Her research interests include the theory and history of realism and naturalism, the study of poetics and literary genres, and most recently the study of emotions. She has authored Le naturalisme finlandais. Une conception entropique du quotidien (a doctoral dissertation; SKS, 2007) and co-edited Rethinking Mimesis: Concepts and Practices of Literary Representation (CSP 2012, with S. Isomaa, S. Kivistö, P. Lyytikäinen, S. Nyqvist and M. Polvinen) and Re-reading Zola and Worldwide Naturalism (CSP 2013, with Carolyn Snipes-Hoyt and Marie-Sophie Armstrong). Her articles and essays on Finnish and French naturalism, representations of the primitive and everyday life have appeared in collections and journals such as Les Cahiers naturalistes, Excavatio, Scandinavian Studies, Nordlit, The Canadian Review of Comparative Studies and Avain. Her LILI project explores the affective aspects of literary realism and the role of negative emotion effects in literature and culture. For more information on Riikka Rossi’s publications, please visit her website:

Jarkko Toikkanen
Jarkko Toikkanen, PhD, Senior Lecturer in English, University of Tampere. Toikkanen specializes in experience of horror in literature, word and image theory, deconstruction and aesthetics, and general literary theory. He is the author of The Intermedial Experience of Horror: Suspended Failures (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), an exploration of the phenomenon of horror from an unusual angle. Focusing on reading specific examples of literature from Romanticism to Modernism, the study brings together the phenomenon of horror with the topical concepts of experience and intermediality and highlights the complex relations they present. Horror is explored as an experience, one defined and brought into being by a break between the media of words and image. In literature, where images as such are frequently absent and the reader works from words alone, the experience of horror hinges on a suspended failure of the imagination. In the project, Toikkanen will be in charge of the work package “Intermedial Experience and Affectivity”. The study of intermedial experiences focuses on two issues: the concepts of intermediality and experience. Firstly, what kinds of effects do transitions from one medium to another – word to image, for instance – have in terms of how one makes sense of the event? What kinds of affects relate to such transitions? Secondly, as experience is a subjective phenomenon whose representation must happen in language to which others have access, the question of the success or failure of this shift from the private to the public has to be taken seriously. This work package has a close look at these kinds of experiences with varying degrees of success in transitions between media, making visible the intricate theoretical mechanism involved.

Hanna Rautajoki
Hanna Rautajoki, PhD, Post-Doctoral Researcher in Social Sciences, University of Tampere. Rautajoki has a PhD (2014) in sociology: Hyvät “kanssalaiset”! Yhteiskunnallistamisen strategiat televisiokeskustelun vuorovaikutuksessa [Dear Citizens of Ours: The Strategies of Managing Participation and Societization in Television Discussions]. Her PhD investigates the multimodal formation of participation framework in political discussion programs on 9/11. Rautajoki has studied the concept of civil religion in journalistic telling (2007), the staging of news stories in television discussions (2009), the dramaturgical use of membership categorization (2012) and the use of emotional communication in designing the recipient of broadcast talk (2014). Rautajoki is skilled in the detailed study of situated and mediated interactions, cultural membership categories and the resources for multimodal communication in naturally occurring institutional talk. Throughout her career, Rautajoki has collaborated with other disciplines (e.g. media studies and political science). Interdisciplinary approach is embedded in her research and in her capabilities for transdisciplinary dialogue. In the Literary in Life project Rautajoki is contributing primarily for the work package of Intermedial Experience and Affectivity. She will analyze the intersection of communicative forms in making sense of shattering news stories in the context of political debate.