Hotakainen’s Story #1 on the bestseller list

Kari Hotakainen’s new novel Story was August’s #1 bestseller in Finland, with so far 20,000 sold copies.

Kari Hotakainen’s Story, published on 12th August 2020, rose expectedly to place #1 on the Finnish bestseller list. Hotakainen has a long record of hitting the top ten with his novels – not to mention his first and so far only work of nonfiction, the biography The Unknown Kimi Räikkönen, which has sold over 200,000 copies in Finland and over 100,000 abroad.

Kari Hotakainen (Photo by Laura Malmivaara)

Story tells about a country, not very unlike Finland, in which the countryside has been turned into a Recreation Area and everyone lives in the City. Occupations and job descriptions have changed or disappeared altogether, no one can find their place, things have got out of control, the Decision Makers are in trouble. What matters now is who can tell the best story – and whose lives are worth telling about.

Spot on in its critique towards many phenomena of our times, Story is a wildly funny, speedy and slyly deep novel. It is unlike anything Hotakainen has written before.

Read more about the novel here and about the author here.

“One of the main observations of the novel is that everyone is pretending to be something – some of us only are better at telling stories. Story feels more catchy than Hotakainen in a while, though he fits worse than before the story of an author with a short sentence. He reforms his writing interestingly, but still stays the same. […] He makes you laugh out loud, and miraculously, the ability to bend the world with only words abides. Especially the beginning of the Story […] is powerful. […] The truth might be that if the only thing left from us is a story, only very few of us will have even a remotely interesting one.”
– Hämeen Sanomat newspaper

Story hits like a sledgehammer, tickles like a tick in the trouser leg. It makes you angry, it makes you laugh, it makes you jot down a number of short quotations about youtubers, about the prophets of the sweat, body and food, about everything becoming a story, about those who lie a personality and life to themselves.”
– Apu magazine

“Kari Hotakainen’s Story is outrageously funny, but reading it you also feel angry and sad. Blaming the unemployed, the urban superficiality and the consultant twaddle – we are already living in this world.”
– Maaseudun tulevaisuus newspaper

“Kari Hotakainen’s Story is a plea for the people who are ‘only’ something – only nurses, masseurs, assistants, secreteries, bus drivers, cashiers, plumbers, carpenters and cleaning women (as listed in Story). If all these ‘only’ something people would suddenly disappear, the world would stop.”
– Annelin kirjoissa book blog

Story” is humorous and in hits often the bull’s eye in its critique towards stories.”
– Helsingin Sanomat newspaper

Helsinki Literary Agency recruits Arela and Aareleid

Helsinki Literary Agency has strengthened its team with the recruitment of two new literary agents.

Viivi Arela joins the agency at the beginning of July, followed by Kai Aareleid in August.

Since 2014, Arela has worked as communications director of the Finnish fashion brand Arela. She will continue to work part-time as public relations officer and events director for the Finnish Literary Institute. At Helsinki Literary Agency, she will enhance the visibility of the books and authors represented by the agency and add to and develop the content relating to the titles.

Aareleid is an Estonian writer and translator whose novel Burning Cities has been published in several languages. She has also translated numerous books into Estonian. At the Helsinki Litarary Agency, Aareleid will concentrate on selling rights and maintaining and developing new relationships with publishers. In addition to her work with the Helsinki Literary Agency she will continue writing her new novel and translating.

‘I am delighted to be welcoming two such experienced professionals in the worlds of communication and literature to the Helsinki Literary Agency,’ said chief executive Urpu Strellman.

‘Over the first half of this year, which has been extremely unusual in terms of literary export, we have, together with literary agent Urtė Liepuoniūtė, developed many new tools for the promotion of Finnish books abroad. With the help of the expertise brought by Arela and Aareleid, we will take these projects considerably further, and will also be able to try completely new methods. Above all, their know-how will significantly strengthen the position of the Finnish Literary Agency within Finland and internationally.’

The Helsinki Literary Agency was founded in 2017 and functions under the joint ownership of the publishing houses Gummerus, Schildts & Söderströms, Siltala and Teos. The Agency represents the rights of dozens of authors, including  Seija Ahava, Kari Hotakainen, Mikko Rimminen and Ulla-Lena Lundberg.

Watch authors talk seriously and Not Too Seriously about their books in HLA video series

HLA’s new video clip series “Not Too Seriously” has found its audience in social media – now the short and humorous takes can be watched also on our Vimeo account.

Minna Rytisalo and Mrs C enjoying a spring day in the fells.

When one fair after another was cancelled this spring, we thought to keep the wheels turning in other ways. The result is a series of a few minutes long video presentations, in which the authors answer four questions:

1. What is my book about?
2. Why is my book brilliant?
3. Who especially should read my book?
4. What word I could never pronounce?

Karin Erlandsson presents her children’s adventure series Song of the Eye Gemstone.

The short form turned out to be a success. It only takes a moment to watch them, and yet you get an idea about the book, about the author’s mindset – and sometimes even a laugh.

A warning: addiction guaranteed!

Whilst hearing about books you also see glimpses of Finland. Watch Minna Rytisalo on the snowy hills of Kuusamo, Karin Erlandsson in the Åland harbor, or authors of Woodland, well, in the woods. And it is always a thrill to get a sneak peak to someone’s home office or other places they love.

So far we have had twenty-four authors tell about their books, and there is more to come! Check them out in our Vimeo account here.

Marko Leppänen, the author of Woodland with Adela Pajunen, lying in the forest.

You can also follow us in Facebook, Twitter or Instagram: loads of fun things happening there as well!

See you around!

Ahava’s upcoming novel sold to Denmark

The Danish rights of The Woman Who Loved Insects have been acquired by Jensen & Dalgaard.

The Woman Who Loved Insects (2020)

Selja Ahava’s novel The Woman Who Loved Insects that will come out in Finnish in August 2020 has been acquired by Jensen & Dalgaard in Denmark.

Ahava’s second novel Things that Fall from the Sky has been a remarkable success, with publishers in 24 countries so far.

The Woman Who Loved Insects is a story of Maria, born in the age of witch trials. She has been fascinated by insects since childhood and begins to draw the metamorphic life cycles of them, as did her historical model, the German naturalist Maria Sibylla Merian (1647–1717).

With the passage of time from one age to another the world changes, and religion finds a competitor in science. The novel shows a woman breaking out of her narrow role, gaining a voice and authorship, together with the right to ponder the mystery of the origin of life. Just as insects undergo a transformation, so over time Maria changes, going on to live for 370 years.

Juhani Karila’s Fishing for the Little Pike sold to Denmark and Hungary

Three-day novel on trying to catch a fish while fooled and foiled by an assortment of primeval nature beings has been sold to Jensen & Dalgaard in Denmark and Metropolis Media in Hungary.

Fishing for the Little Pike (2019)

Juhani Karila’s novel Fishing for the Little Pike, published in Finland in October 2020, will come out also in French by Le Peuplade and in Polish by Marpress. The novel was awarded with Kalevi Jäntti Prize and nominated for the Tähtivaeltaja Award.

Fishing for the Little Pike, at once love story and mythical fantasy, has been described “a magnificient novel[;] original, realistic fantasy with a Lapland twist” and “a delight” where “even better […] is a warmly ironic portrayal of the locals”. The review of Lapin Kansa newspaper sums it up:

This son of Lapland has truly hit a bull’s-eye; as someone who has a teacher’s mentality, I feel like giving him 6 stars out of 5 – and this is exactly what I will do. Juhani Karila stretches the limits and borders of the normative world so wildly that it only seems appropriate for the literature critic to do the same. Karila writes world literature in a carnavalesque spirit of Rabelais and with Don Quijote type of characters – only he digs even deeper.
– Jussi Leinonen, Lapin Kansa newspaper