Photo by Outi Puhakka
J.S. Meresmaa (b. 1983, she/they) is an award-winning Finnish author who mainly writes fantasy and other speculative fiction. This versatile storyteller’s works have been nominated for several literature prizes, and they have gotten glowing reviews from critics and readers alike.
Meresmaa’s backlist includes the epic fantasy series Mifonki, two short story collections, two YA novella trilogies, a vampire duology and verse novels, to name a few. She has also written children's books, the most recent being Hirviöhoitola series (The Little Monster Rescue). Her latest YA fantasy novel is titled Tytär hämärän, piika pimeän (The Daughter of Dusk, the Maid of Darkness), and it combines Finnish folklore and clockpunk. It is the first book in Rauniara duology.
Many of her short stories have been translated into languages other than Finnish. Meresmaa’s YA verse novel Dodo won the Blogistania Kuopus Award and was nominated for the best YA novel in 2020 (Topelius Prize). Mifonki series received a Kuvastaja Honorary Mention in 2021.
The main themes in Meresmaa’s stories are love and friendships, the formation of one’s identity, power structures between individuals as well as between societies, and the empowerment of those who belong to minorities or lower rungs in the hierarchy. Many of her stories have feminist aspects and queer characters. She has a talent for bringing fictional characters to life, and a keen sense of great plot twists and pacing. Her writing style is both emotive, strong, and engaging. Meresmaa is an incurable romantic, but never shies away from doing the groundwork to get her stories’ facts right.
Meresmaa, who previously worked as a gardener and warehouse worker, is now a full-time author. In addition to writing, she teaches courses about verse novels and has been the editor of many anthologies. Meresmaa is also a founding member of the co-operative publishing house Osuuskumma and previous chair of the board. She resides in Tampere, Finland, surrounded by a horde of books, plants and guinea pigs.