Arto Paasilinna was born on April 20, 1942 in the Alakylä part of the municipality of Kittilä, in Lapland, Finland. Arto Paasilinna studied at the General and Elementary School Line at the Lapland Folk Academy. He initially worked as a journalist at Nuoren Voiman Liitto, Nuori Voima-lehti and various newspapers as writer and editor. At the weekly magazine Apu, he was an editor from 1968 - 1970 and later a columnist from 1975 - 1988. In 1975 he wrote The Year of the Hare in response to his feeling that journalism was becoming superficial and meaningless. The book was an immediate success and from 1975 on Paasilinna became an independent writer. He still writes journalism articles and has been a columnist on Finnish radio. In 2002, for Paasilinna's 60th anniversary, journalist Eino Leino published a biography of Paasilinna called Lentojätkä. Arto Paasilinnan elämä" ("The Flight Dude"). The same year Paasilinna published his own autobiography called Yhdeksän unelmaa ("Nine Night's Dream"). As of 2009, Paasilinna has published about 12 non-fiction books and 35 novels, with almost one novel each year from 1972 to 2009. Paasilinna's books reflect quite common Finnish life, usually from a middle-aged male perspective, and in rural Finland. His title Year of the Hare made the New York Times Best Seller list for 2011.
Pico Iyer lives in suburban Japan.