Johan Turi bigraphy, stories - Norwegian writer

Johan Turi : biography

March 12, 1854 - November 30, 1936

Johan Turi, born Johannes Olsen Thuri also spelt Johan Tuuri or Johan Thuri or Johan Thuuri (March 12, 1854, Kautokeino, Norway – November 30, 1936 Jukkasjärvi, Sweden) was the first Sami author to publish a secular work in a Sami language. His first book was called Muitalus sámiid birra ("An Account of the Sami") and tells about the life of people herding reindeer in the Jukkasjärvi region of northern Sweden at the beginning of the 20th century. An eclectic and nuanced text, Muitalus includes details on Sami traditions of child rearing, hunting, healing, yoik, and folklore. At its heart the text aims to draw outsiders' attention to the intrinsic value of Sami culture.

In 1904, Turi met the art student Emilie Demant Hatt on a train in northern Scandinavia. Through an interpreter, he told her he wanted to write a book about Lapps, while she told him she wanted to be a nomad. Three years later, having learned the Sami language, Demant-Hatt returned to northern Scandinavia and lived with Turi's family. In 1908, Turi and Demant-Hatt lived in a mountain cabin where she assisted him with his manuscript.

The book has been translated into some ten languages, including Swedish, Danish, Finnish, English, Norwegian, German, French, Italian and Japanese.

In 2011, [ Nordic Studies Press] published an English edition of Turi's "An Account of the Sami," translated by folklorist and Sami scholar Thomas A. DuBois


  • 1910: Muitalus sámiid birra
  • 1920: Sámi deavsttat (Texts in Sami)
  • 1931: Duoddaris (From the mountain)
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