Mikko Rimminen nominated for the Finlandia Prize

If It Looks Like It, written by one of the most beloved Finnish authors Mikko Rimminen, has been nominated for the Finlandia Prize.

If It Looks Like It is a warm, tragicomic story about a lonely Mr. Lyy. The novel has been praised for its spectacular and unusual use of language, which, along the years, has become a trademark of Rimminen. The author manages to grasp true sadness behind the feelings of guilt and shame and turn it into a joyous and heartfelt experience. As the jury stated: 

The unusual way of narrating, the use of funny neologisms and adjectives as well as immersion in hilarious linguistic games is what makes this book exceptional.

The author himself said:

It was an unbelievably complex ride, given that the origins of this story, as well as my aim when I began writing it, were rather simple! Choosing the structure of narration seemed effortless, but – as to balance it out – Mr Lyy turned out to be the most complicated main character ever, and he soon became the subject of my nightmares. While usually my main problem used to be making fictional characters do anything at all, this time, Mr Lyy’s tendency to do everything that turns out to be against him caused me most worry and distress.”

Mikko Rimminen (b. 1975) is a lauded writer who started his literary career as a poet. He has written six novels: Park Life (2004), The Block (2007), Finlandia Prize-winning Red Nose Day (2010), Tag (2013) and The Most Natural Thing in the World (2017). Rimminen’s books have been translated into over ten languages . In 2011, the novel Park Life was turned into a successful movie.

Finlandia Prize is the most important literary award in Finland, given annually in three categories: the best novel, the best children’s or YA book and the best nonfiction book of the year. The award sum is 30,000 euros. 

Previously, several other HLA’s authors have received the award in the category of the best novel, including Mikko Rimminen himself (for the novel Red Nose Day, 2010): Kari Hotakainen (The Trench Road, 2002), Pirkko Saisio (The Red Letter of Farewell, 2003),  Ulla-Lena Lundberg (Ice, 2012), Riikka Pelo (Our Earthly Life, 2013), Jukka Viikilä (Watercolours from a Seaside City, 2016) and Juha Hurme (Headland, 2017).

A Dog Called Cat Meets a Cat nominated for Finlandia Junior Prize

A Dog Called Cat Meets a Cat (2019)

A Dog Called Cat Meets a Cat written by Tomi Kontio and illustrated by Elina Warsta, has been nominated for the Finlandia Junior Prize.

The beautifully illustrated book is a warm and wise story about friendship and overcoming one’s fears. In it, the underprivileged but loveable characters find their everyday joys embracing the world with open hearts. As the jury stated: 

The warmly narrated story, showing all flavours of life and its edges, offers deep reflection on the importance of finding your own path.” 

A Dog Called Cat Meets a Cat is a stand-alone book that continues the story of two friends, Cat and Weasel. They met for the first time in A Dog Called Cat (2015), which was shortlisted for the Nordic Council Children and Young People’s Literature Prize and nominated for the IBBY Honour List for Elina Warsta’s illustrations. 

The author Tomi Kontio says:
The heroes of this story are the outcasts of our world. When we encounter them in an underground train we want to change our seats; they are those whom we don’t want to see, whom we are perhaps even a little bit afraid of. I do not want to politicise this book; I only want to show, through a warm story, that we all equally long for security, trust and love.

The illustrator Elina Warsta says:
Cat, Weasel and Dog are multilayered, imperfect characters – just like us, humans. In our job, we can never forget that children read illustrations very carefully. I hope that in this book every child will find their own story. It is a story for a lifetime – meant for children as much as for adults.”

Tomi Kontio (b. 1966) is an established Finnish author. He has received numerous awards for his novels and poems, including the Finlandia Junior Award in 2000 for his novel Daddy Grew Wings in the Spring. Kontio’s poetry has been translated into many languages, including English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Polish, Swedish, Czech, Hungarian and Estonian. 

Elina Warsta (b. 1979) is an illustrator and graphic designer. Several of the book covers she has designed have won prizes in The Most Beautiful Book of the Year competition. Books she has illustrated have been published in France, Japan and Latvia.

Finlandia Prize is the most important literary award in Finland, given annually in three categories: the best novel, the best children’s or YA book and the best nonfiction book of the year. The award sum is 30,000 euros. 

Previously, two other HLA’s authors have received the award in children’s and YA category: Sanna Mander (The Lost Key, 2017), Vilja-Tuulia Huotarinen (Light, Light, Light, 2011) and Tomi Kontio (Daddy Grew Wings in the Spring, 2010).

Mrs C. nominated for the Botnia Prize

Minna Rytisalo’s novel Mrs C. has been nominated for the Botnia Prize. The nomination is Rytisalo’s second in the three-year-history of the competition: Rytisalo was awarded with the prize for her debut novel Lempi two years ago.

The jury’s statement of Mrs C. is as follows:

“Minna Rytisalo’s Mrs C. narrates the life of a young woman, little by little maturing with years and experiences, and its passions, desires, pains and sorrows. This life, put to pages, is the one of Minna Canth, one of the most significant Finnish authors. Mrs C. reshapes the solidified and dusty national icon, put on the pedestal by the literary establishment, to a woman in flesh and full blood, to an exciting and intriguing person with unfeigned and sincere thoughts. The reader starts to value the national author in a totally new manner as a person worth knowing. The fictional life story, created for the novel, does a favour to the reading public and to the public image of the author Minna Canth.”

Read more about Mrs C. here and about Minna Rytisalo here.

In addition to Mrs C, there are seven other books nominated for the prize. The head of the jury, professor Sanna Karkulehto, stated that “the toplist of the quality literature with international level seems to get longer each year”.

Botnia Prize is a literary award given to the best book of the year written by an author from North Ostrobothnia. It is one of the biggest Finnish literary awards (10,000 euros), and it recognizes no genre nor language limitations.

Ahava’s Things that Fall from the Sky traveling to over 20 areas

Selja Ahava’s novel Things that Fall from the Sky has been sold to Citic in China. Citic is the 19th publisher of the novel, which was most recently published in English by Oneworld.

There are also offers from France and Sweden on the table, meaning that the book will soon have traveled to 21 countries after its publication in 2015.  

Citic is one of the biggest Chinese publisher’s with an ambitious list of authors, including Michael Chabon, Guillermo Arriaga, Antonio Lobo Antunes, Anthony Doerr,  Esi Edugyan, Elizabeth Kostova, Wally Lamb, Madeline Miller, Arto Paasilinna, Richard Russo and Jill Santopolo. 

Chinese rights were sold by our partners Grayhawk Agency.

Read more about Things that Fall from the Sky here.

(Author photo by Liisa Valonen)

Eva Frantz’s Eighth Maiden is the best crime novel of the year

The Eighth Maiden (2018)

Eva Frantz’s novel The Eight Maiden is the winner Clew of the Year Award, given to the best crime novel of the year.

Eva Frantz’s second book in the crime series about police detective Anna Glad, The Eighth Maiden (2018) was awarded with Clue of the year by The Finnish Whodunnit Society. The yearly award has been given to the best crime novel now 34 times, but never before to a Finland Swedish author.

The board stated that The Eighth Maiden describes the milieu of a small Finland Swedish town with skill. The tension builds little by little and without excessive violence. The novel got special recognition for the way it describes young people, as did Frantz’s ability to dive into their world with subtlety. The board emphasized that even with such a harsh theme as sexual abuse the novel has a tender and unmoralizing tone.

The Eighth Maiden is also nominated for the Torch-bearer Prize, given to the Finnish book with most potential in foreign markets. (The news is here.)

The first novel of the series is The Blue Villa (2017). Before these Frantz has written a stand-alone crime novel Summer Isle (2016).

Eva Frantz was last awarded in February for her middle grade horror novel Raspberry Hill (2018) with Runeberg Junior Prize (news here).

You can read more about Eva Frantz here.