He was awarded the Nobel Prize of Literature in 1939: for his deep understanding of his country's peasantry and the exquisite art with which he has portrayed their way of life and their relationship with Nature, and he is still the only Finn awarded that prize.
Frans Eemil Sillanpää was born into a peasant family in Hämeenkyrö. Although his parents were poor, they managed to send him to school in Tampere. In 1908 he moved to Helsinki to study medicine. Here his acquaintances included the painter Eero Järnefelt, Jean Sibelius, Juhani Aho and Pekka Halonen.
In 1913 Sillanpää moved from Helsinki to his old home village and devoted himself to writing.
He won international fame for his novel Nuorena nukkunut (The Maid Silja/Fallen Asleep While Young) in 1931.