World French rights for Matara sold in auction

We are incredibly thrilled and impatient to announce some splendid news just before the turn of the year: Matias Riikonen enjoys his first foreign rights deal for his lauded new novel Matara – and what a deal that is! World French rights for the novel have been sold in auction to the prestigious Christian Bourgois Éditeur.

Christian Bourgois Éditeur was founded in 1966 by Christian Bourgois, who was a passionate discoverer and editor of translated literature. The publishing house soon became one of the most prestigious and respected literary imprints on the French market, and over half a century Christian Bourgois managed to build one of the most beautiful foreign fiction catalogues in France, publishing writers such as Toni Morrison, Fernando Pessoa, Roberto Bolaño, Susan Sontag, César Aira, Richard Brautigan, Angela Carter, Antonio Lobo Antunes, Allen Ginsberg, Witold Gombrowicz, James Baldwin, Enrique Vila-Matas, Djuna Barnes, Paul Bowles, William Vollman, Leonard Cohen, Gregory Corso, Henry Miller, Jack Kerouac and many others.

The acquiring editor Pierre Demarty stated about Riikonen’s novel:

“MATARA is a splendor of a novel, with an incredibly strong setting, story and characters, shedding a terrific (and at times terrifying!) new light on childhood, the deadly seriousness of its rules and games, and mirroring both the cruelty and the magic of our own universal social, political and psychological structures and conventions. It is both thrilling, achingly beautiful in style, and most of all it is possessed of this “je-ne-sais-quoi” that defies all definition but is common to all great novels bound to become classics.” 

The novel has indeed been on a splendid success journey this autumn: it was nominated for the most prestigious literary award in Finland, Finlandia Prize, and won the Torch-Bearer Prize; the novel is now also nominated for another prestigious award, the Runeberg Prize.

Don’t forget to check out the short interview with the author!

Congratulations to the author for this wonderful deal!

The Dead Still Speak nominated for the Crime Novel of the Year

The nominees for the Clew of the Year – the literary award given yearly to the best crime fiction or thriller – have been announced, and HLA is thrilled to see its authors on the shortlist!

The author pair Juha Rautaheimo & Sari Rainio has made the nominees’ list with The Dead Still Speak, the first instalment in their new crime series of five detective novels Mortui non silent, in which murders are investigated by a male detective and a female medical examiner.

The award is given by the Finnish Whodunnit Society. 106 books in total were submitted this year, and 6 made it to the final shortlist. The jury stated about The Dead Still Speak:

“In this debut novel, representing Finnish cozy crime, atmosphere and surroundings are described with excellence. All the technical facts are true to reality to the smallest autopsy details, and credible and loveable characters add to the merit of the story. The novel possesses a charm of an old-school whodunnit, in a good way. ”

The winner will be announced in February 2022.

In the meantime, have a look at an interesting short interview with authors discussing their new detective book!

Matara wins the Torch-Bearer Prize

One of the biggest highlights on HLA’s catalogue this season, novel Matara by the young rising star Matias Riikonen, has been awarded the prestigious Torch-Bearer Prize!

The Torch-Bearer Prize is given yearly to a title considered to have the most potential to succeed outside Finland.

The jury has stated about the novel:

“In Matara, all the opportunities that fiction provides are used in full. The deeper the reader dives into the seemingly real world of the novel, the more dream-like it feels. Children talk just like grown-ups; the neighbourhood forest proves to be an endless wilderness. A completely new world is born with its own rules and laws, possessing a tremendous immersive power.”

Matara is a story about boys’ games gone an inch too seriously. In the novel, boys of a summer camp spend their days in the realm they have built: the Republic of Matara. It has a law, a societal structure, plotting for power and bonds between citizens, as any real state. Under the guidance of his older brother, a young boy trains to be a scout. While spying, the pair come upon an enemy camp: war is at hand.

The novel was also nominated for the most prestigious literary award in the country, Finlandia Prize.

HLA’s authors have been awarded the prize for the two previous years in a row: Minna Rytisalo received it for her novel Mrs C. in 2019, and last year, the winner was Marisha Rasi-Koskinen’s Lynchian masterpiece REC. In 2015, the prize was given to another HLA author, Finlandia Prize winner Anni Kytömäki for her debut novel Goldheart.

Interviews with authors

Matias Riikonen (photo: Liisa Takala)

Our series of short interviews continue! Read the breathtaking one with Matias Riikonen, the author of this autumn’s literary event, the novel Matara, now nominated for the biggest award of the year, Finlandia Prize. Children’s games gone too serious, inspirations from Plato to Finnish soldiers of the 1930s, finding literary voice and many more fascinating thoughts. An of course, the cherry on the top – the beloved questionnaire! Read the interview here.

Interviews with authors

Photo: Laura Malmivaara

Our short interviews are back! Meet Sari Rainio & Juha Rautaheimo, the authors of the new, exciting and a pinch nostalgic detective series Mortuí non silent and its first part, The Dead Still Speak. The authors discuss the main ideas behind the series, their love for Helsinki and the respect for the dead characters. And of course, the cherry on the top – the beloved questionnaire! Read the interview here.