Sanna Tapionkaski

children’s and young adult fantasy, fan studies, language and gender, identity, critical discourse studies, feminist discourse studies, narrative studies, culture studies, literary studies, (new) media discourses

My research is situated in the area of identity, language and children and youth cultures. My earlier research investigated discourses of identity and power in children’s fantasy literature, focusing on intersections of gender and age but also touching upon sexuality, class, ethnicity and nationality. My continuing interest is in narratives that rewrite, challenge and question stereotypes and conventional representations of gendered identities and power structures. In my current research I have been interested in online, transnational fan cultures where fans, inspired by fictional narratives, negotiate and perform their identities in creative ways through their fan practices. Apart from fantasy books, I am currently interested in animated series and games produced and marketed for children but attracting adult fans as well.


FT, University of Jyväskylä 2010
PhD, Macquarie University, 2010 (joint degree with University of Jyväskylä)

Current affiliation:

Senior lecturer, applied linguistics/discourse studies. Department of Languages, University of Jyväskylä

Selected publications:

Lehtonen, Sanna 2015. Writing Oneself into Someone Else's Story – Experiments With Identity And Speculative Life Writing in Twilight Fan Fiction. Fafnir: Nordic Journal ofScience Fiction and Fantasy Research, 2 (2), 7–18. Available at

Lehtonen, Sanna 2014. Tarzan of the Apes – The Bearman Tarsa: Discourses of National Identity and Colonialism in a Finnish Adaptation of an American Classic. In S. Geerts and S. Van den Bossche (eds), Neverending Stories: Adaptation, Canonisation and Ideology in Children’s Literature, 23–43.

Lehtonen, Sanna 2013. Girls Transforming: Invisibility and Age-Shifting in Children's Fantasy Fiction Since the 1970s. Jefferson: McFarland.

Lehtonen, Sanna 2012. “I’m glad I was designed”: Un/doing gender and class in Susan Price’s ”Odin Trilogy”. Children’s Literature in Education, 43 (3), 242–259. DOI 10.1007/s10583-012-9162-7. Available at

Lehtonen, Sanna 2011. Shifting back to and away from girlhood: magic changes in age in children's fantasy novels by Diana Wynne Jones. Papers: Explorations into Children's Literature, 21.1, 19–32. Available at

Lehtonen, Sanna 2010. Coal-tinged Realism Meets Female Gothic: Gender, class and desire in The Ghost Wife by Susan Price. The Journal of Children’s Literature Studies, 7.3, 1–18. Available at

Lehtonen, Sanna 2010. “If you thought this story sour, sweeten it with your own telling” – Cross-cultural intertextuality and a feminist poetics of rewriting in Susan Price’s Ghost Dance. Barnboken – Journal of Children’s Literature Research, 33.1, 5–16. Available at

Lehtonen, Sanna 2008. Invisible Girls – Discourses of Femininity and Power in Children’s Fantasy. International Research in Children’s Literature, 1.2, 213–226. Available at


Department of Languages, University of Jyväskylä, staff page: