The first texts in Saami were religious. In addition to these, only a few individual poems were published in Saami before the 1800s. The first book in Saami was published by the Saami Johan Turi (1854–‍1936). His book Muittalus samid birra was published in 1910 in both Saami and Danish. It was published in Finnish in 1979 (Kertomus saamelaisista), and over the years in several other languages, including English in 2011 (An Account of the Sámi).

The best-known Saami author and artist is Nils-Aslak Valkeapää (1943–‍2001), also known as Áillohas. He also played a key role in the rise of Saami culture in the 1970s. He was shortlisted several times for the Nordic Council Literature Price and won the prize in 1991 for his book Beaivi, áhčážan [The Sun, My Father].

Nils-Aslak Valkeapää (1943–‍2001) was one of the nationally and internationally best-known promoters of his culture. He was known particularly for his joiks (songs) and poems. Photo: Antero Tenhunen.
Petter Morottaja (b. 1982) is an Aanaar (Inari) Saami author, journalist and teacher. His debut book, Suábi maainâs (1999), was the first fantasy novel published in Aanaar Saami. He is the editor-in-chief of Kierâš, the online newspaper of the Inari Saami Language Association, and a teacher of Aanaar Saami. Photo: Quim Delacreu.
Originally from Tana (Deatnu) River valley, Utsjoki, Finland, Helga West (b. 1986) lives in Helsinki and works as a freelance journalist. Her debut collection of poems, Gádden muohttaga vielgadin [I Thought the Snow Was White] was published in spring 2018. Photo: Kaarin West.