Marisha Rasi-Koskinen wins Torch-Bearer Prize!

November is ending with one more exciting success: author Marisha Rasi-Koskinen was awarded Torch-Bearer Prize for her new novel REC!

Torch-Bearer Prize, otherwise called the Finnish Literary Export Award, is given every year to a title that is believed to have the most potential to succeed abroad. The award sum is 5000 euros.

As the jury and its chairman Kjell Westö stated about the book:

The novel masterfully plays with various levels of time and place, the storytelling, as well as concepts of images and filming. The book is extraordinary in its abundance of internal stories that form the whole. The centre of the it is a friendship that starts in a young age and involves many mysteries, addictions and traumas.

REC is an atmospheric, post-modern dive into the fragmented reality we are living today. When teenager Lucas meets a peculiar boy named Cole, it is a start of a decades-long on-and-off friendship, where real and fictional characters are present simultaneously, where images and stories begin many times, in various places, and where dark, possessive and manipulating side of humans take over with irrevocable outcomes – unless… nothing is true. As the author herself describes the book, “it is a love letter to fiction”, where the reality is not unambiguous and the understanding of it is rather formed in people’s minds, stories and images.

Marisha Rasi-Koskinen has published six works of fiction. In 2019, her first YA book The Dark Side of the Sun won the most prestigious literary prize of the year, Finlandia Junior.

Last year, Torch-Bearer Prize was awarded to another HLA author, Minna Rytisalo, for her novel Mrs C.

Congratulations to the author!

Two HLA titles win Finlandia Prize!

HLA could not be more thrilled: both our nominees for the most important literary award of the year have won! Anni Kytömäki’s novel Margarita won Finlandia Prize for the best fiction book of the year and Anja Portin’s novel Radio Popov won Finlandia Junior, given to the best children’s and YA book.

Kytömäki’s novel Margarita portrays the destinies of forests and people in post-war Finland. It is a powerful, sensual and multilayered call to ponder the price that the building of a welfare state demands from an individual. This year’s chooser of the winner, conductor Hannu Lintu, has stated:

The language and the storytelling of the book grip the readers and carry them away. It is not only a masterful portrayal of that ground zero point where the growth of the modern Finnish society has begun, but also of the struggle of an individual in the midst of unbelievable twists and turns that this growth brings upon. The book shows that every battle – let it be war or reconstruction – claims its victims. We know that these struggles for the better future are still present today.”

In her speech, Anni Kytömäki emphasised the critical state of our world:

I have dedicated this book to the silent ones of water and earth – the ones that are in danger to be left behind in our society and in the face of [the global] ecological crisis. In my opinion, this Finlandia Prize shows that there is still room for diversity – that is, for the wide spectrum of characters and nature beings.

The winner of Finlandia Junior Prize, Anja Portin’s novel Radio Popov is a book about loneliness, friendship and the power of storytelling. A warm adventure story brings to mind such children’s literature classics as Roald Dahl and Astrid Lindgren, but at the same time is also compelling for the adult readers.

The chooser of the prize, actor Christoffer Strandberg has written in his statement:

I have always believed that a good book for children or young people is one that you can return to throughout your life, always finding new perspectives and realising that it has been at the heart of the matter all along. This is such a book. (…)

The book’s world – its time and place – fascinates me. It succeeds in being timeless while also being completely of our time. Radio Popov is a fantastical tale, but also a heart-rending story about humanity anchored in reality. The world and its people are not seen through a black-and-white filter. The parents of the forgotten children are not demonised. This is not a story about the struggle between good and evil. This is a story that focuses on the good in the small and in the large, in spite of all evil.”

Here you can read the full text of the statement.

In her speech, Anja Portin thanked the jury for the honour and talked, among other things, about the various colours of silence and the power of fiction in our everyday lives:

Literature can give space to those, whose voice disappears among noises of the world. Especially important these days feels the ability of literature to evoke compassion and show the different colours of the world, not only the black and white.

Foreign rights of Radio Popov have so far been sold to Denmark, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

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. 

Warm congratulations, Anni and Anja, their present and future readers and translators!

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

Past nominees for the prize include
Alexandra Salmela
 (27, or Death makes an Artist, 2010)
Jenni Linturi (For Fatherland, 2011)
Aki Ollikainen (White Hunger, 2012)
Anni Kytömäki (Goldheart, 2014)
Selja Ahava (Things that Fall from the Sky, 2015)
Peter Sandström (Autumn Apples, 2016)
Pauliina Rauhala (Harvest, 2018) and, once more
Mikko Rimminen (If It Looks Like It, 2019)

Finlandia Junior Prize has been previously awarded to 4 HLA authors:

Tomi Kontio (In the Spring, Dad Got Wings, 2000)
Vilja-Tuulia Huotarinen (Light, Light, Light, 2011)
Sanna Mander (The Lost Key, 2017)
Marisha Rasi-Koskinen (The Dark Side of the Sun, 2019)

Past nominees for the prize include
Anssi & Maija Hurme
(Shadowed, 2018)
Tomi Kontio & Elina Warsta (A Dog Called Cat Meets a Cat, 2019)

Runeberg Prize longlist announced!

The longlist for one of the most prestigious literary awards in Finland, the Runeberg Prize, was announced, and we are excited to see our authors on it!

Among the 19 longlisted titles, The Woman Who Loved Insects by Selja Ahava, Margarita by Anni Kytömäki, REC by Marisha Rasi-Koskinen and Love Is a Tame Animal by Peter Sandström are represented by HLA.

Additionally, 5 more titles on the longlist are published by HLA’s shareholders: Adult People by Jan Forsström (Teos Publishers), Hunting Game by Ulrika Hansson (Schildts & Söderströms), Where to Go by Marko Järvikallas (Siltala), These Precious Things by Otto Lehtinen (Gummerus) and Shadow People by Jarkko Volanen (Teos Publishers).

We are also thrilled to represent three nominees of the Runeberg Junior Prize: Night Express by Karin Erlandsson & Peter Bergting, Ruby’s Secret by Vuokko Hurme and Maggan – All Year Round by Ellen Strömberg & Elin Löf.

Runeberg Prize is a prestigious literary prize named after the Finnish national poet, Johan Ludvig Runeberg. It is one of the most important literary awards in Finland in addition to the Finlandia Prize. The prize, worth 10,000 euros, is given out in two categories: fiction and children’s books. The shortlist will be announced on the 12th of December, and the winner on The Runeberg’s Day, the 5th of February 2021.

Congratulations to all the longlisted authors!

Three HLA titles nominated for Runeberg Junior Prize 2021!

We are delighted to share that three children’s titles represented by Helsinki Literary Agency are now nominated for one of the most prestigious literary awards in Finland, Runeberg Junior Prize!

The Night Express, written by Karin Erlandsson and illustrated by Peter Bergting, was described by the jury as “an enchanting, exciting and multilayered book, that takes the reader to entirely new dimensions. (…) Erlandsson deals with loss, loneliness and longing, so the book creates wonderful grounds to discuss these topics with children.”

Erlandsson has previously won the award with Pearl Fisher (2017), the first book in her children’s series The Song of the Eye Gemstone, which was also nominated for the Nordic Council Literature Prize, as well as Children’s Novel Prize in Sweden.

Vuokko Hurme’s new series The Hues and its first book Ruby’s Secret was described by the jury as “a masterful story about a complicated friendship. (…) It is a realistic portrayal of child’s feelings and actions, which is easy to relate to. The book is an adventurous (…), interesting and colourful story.”

Ruby’s Secret is a story about a family with the special power of controlling colours. But little Ruby no longer wants to keep secrets and be an eternal outsider. She wants to play in the yard with the other children. So she has to make an impression on her new friends – at all costs.

Maggan – Round the Year by Ellen Strömberg and Elin Löf was praised by the jury as “a warm portrayal of little Maggan’s everyday life as she starts to go to school. It an sincere story about a child’s life. which is full of big thoughts. (…) Maggan, for instance, wishes to have her own best friend – but how does one know whether a friend is the best? Strömberg hits the bull’s eye when portraying human relationships and friendships that defy generation boundaries.”

Strömberg is otherwise known as a talented adult fiction writer, who has so far published novels Chasing Water (2018) and The Itch (2019). She is also a well-known blogger in Finland.

Runeberg Prize is a prestigious literary prize named after the Finnish national poet, Johan Ludvig Runeberg. It is one of the most important literary awards in Finland in addition to the Finlandia Prize. The prize, worth 10,000 euros, is given out in two categories: fiction and children’s books. The winner will be announced on The Runeberg’s Day, the 5th of February.

Congratulations to all the nominees!

Anni Kytömäki nominated for Finlandia Prize!

Novel Margarita by Anni Kytömäki is nominated for the most prestigious literary award of the year, Finlandia Prize!

The jury has stated about the book:

Margarita is a literary pearl – or rather, a freshwater pearl mussel, with a surprise within. The text is an example of high quality literature in the best tradition of Finnish environmental writing, stimulating the reader’s little grey cells. At the same time, the novel is a portrayal of a new way of thinking, brought up by the era of crises.”

Margarita is a family saga of sorts and a story about the untold history of forests and people. In the 1940s and 50s forests, men and women were shouldered with well-meaning duties. However, the success stories have another side to them. Fulfilling the societal obligations turns the characters’ lives with fateful consequences.

Have a look at the wonderful video with the author presenting her book.

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. 

Kytömäki already received one Finlandia nomination, for her debut novel Goldheart (2014), which also won the Torch-Bearer Prize and the Blogistania Prize and rose immediately to the bestseller list; its sales figures have since topped 20,000 copies. Her second novel Stone Weaver (2017) was also a bestseller #3 and a critical success.

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

Past nominees for the prize include
Alexandra Salmela (27, or Death makes an Artist, 2010)
Jenni Linturi (For Fatherland, 2011)
Aki Ollikainen (White Hunger, 2012)
Anni Kytömäki (Goldheart, 2014)
Selja Ahava (Things that Fall from the Sky, 2015)
Peter Sandström (Autumn Apples, 2016)
Pauliina Rauhala (Harvest, 2018) and, once more
Mikko Rimminen (If It Looks Like It, 2019).

It was also announced earlier this week that another HLA author, Anja Portin, is nominated for Finlandia Junior Prize for her children’s novel Radio Popov.

Congratulations to the author and fingers crossed!