Owen Witesman was born in California in 1977 and now lives in the ridiculously picturesque state of Utah with his wife and daughters, one of whom is accompanying him during his stay in Helsinki. He is a freelance literary translator of Finnish into English with past experience in Estonian as well. Nowadays he translates fiction almost exclusively, although the occasional non-fiction project does cross his desk. Owen is also an amateur alpinist and avid orchardist.
Owen holds a BA in Linguistics from Brigham Young University, an MA in Central Eurasian Studies (Finnish and Estonian) from Indiana University, and is a PhD candidate in public management at the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs. He has attended translation workshops organized by FILI—Finnish Literature Exchange and led one such seminar, as well as lecturing on literary translation as a profession. He is a founding member of the Finnish-English Literary Translation Cooperative, FELT.
Owen has translated the work of dozens of Finnish authors. Recent or upcoming publications include books from Leena Lehtolainen, Karo Hämäläinen, Risto Isomäki, Salla Simukka, Pekka Hiltunen, Kari Hotakainen, and Juhani Aho. Later this year he is slated to translate Sofi Oksanen’s most recent book, Norma. During his HIAP residency, Owen will be translating a young adult steampunk novel by Magdalena Hai, The Beggar Princess, as well as completing the editing of Karo Hämäläinen’s Cruel is the Night.
The residency is realized in collaboration with FILI – Finnish Literature Exchange.