Fuck You, Liivik sold in auction to Estonia

Author Aki Ollikainen is very well known to both Finnish and international audiences: his astonishing debut White Hunger (2012) received numerous awards in Finland and was also longlisted for The International Booker Prize, Prix Femina and Europese Literatuurprijs at the time and sold to 16 territories.

Fuck You, Liivik by Aki Ollikainen & Siim Liivik

This autumn, Ollikainen surprises the readers with the nonfiction Fuck You, Liivik he co-authored with Siim Liivik: a memoir of the ice hockey player and his journey from a Soviet kolkhoz to the Finnish sports’ elite.

The publication date in Finland is the 9th of September, but, naturally, Estonians are already buzzing: foreign rights were recently sold in an auction to Varrak.

In the memoir, Liivik, born in 1988, tells his incredible story from insecure childhood experiences in collapsing Soviet Union to tough ice rings of an infamous Finnish suburb, winning the Finnish League and becoming one of the top music performers in Finland, releasing several platinum singles.

Congratulations to the authors!

Thank You for the Book, Selja Ahava!

Autumn is here, and so the award season in Finland begins. For HLA, it started with some lovely news: author Selja Ahava was awarded Thank You for the Book Prize 2021 for her newest novel The Woman Who Loved Insects.

Selja Ahava (photo: Liisa Valonen)

The prize is given out yearly since 1966, for a book that is considered to have had the biggest intellectual and/or emotional affect to the readers during the past year. The winner is decided upon jointly by the Booksellers’ Association in Finland, Association Libro ry and Finnish Library Association.

The jury has stated:

“From all the books in [this year’s] competition, the jury has chosen the one which is rather topical. The novel explores the relationship between a human and nature through perspective of a woman, who is trying to break out of her narrow role. Ahava’s language is beautiful and expressive, and, just as a detailed painting, opens up new levels to a reader with every page.”

The Woman Who Loved Insects is the fourth novel of Ahava, whose books have so far been sold to 27 territories altogether. The novel follows Maria, born in the age of witch trials, who is fascinated by insects. With the passage of time from one century to another, she gains 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.

Ahava was the winner of the EU Prize for Literature in 2015 with her novel Things that Fall from the Sky; it was also longlisted for the Dublin Literary Award and nominated for the Warwick Prize.

Congratulations to the author!

Detective Anna Glad series sold to Germany

The wonderful, very relatable and very funny police inspector Anna Glad, created by Eva Frantz, continues its world conquering: a major publisher Aufbau has acquired the German rights and will start publishing the series with the Crime Novel of the Year winner The Eighth Maiden (2018) and the most recent one, Out of the Game (2020).

Eva Frantz (photo by Marica Rosengård)

The acquiring editor Christina Weiser has praised the tone of the text, its “sometimes refreshingly self-mocking” characters and of course, the lovely Nordic setting. The editor is also thrilled that the novels are not excessively violent, which seems to be a rare exception in today’s crime literature market. Aufbau is planning to start publishing the series in the early 2023.

Aufbau was founded in 1945, and today is one of the most renowned German publishers with an extensive list of both German and international authors of fiction and nonfiction. It is a publisher of Tove Ditlevsen, Oyinkan Braithwaite, Stephen Fry, among others.

The Anna Glad series has been previously sold to Denmark (Gyldendal), Estonia (Rahva raamat) and Sweden (Sekwa), and has done incredibly well on the home front: with praising reviews and over 55,000 copies sold in Finland, Glad remains one of the favourite police investigators among the readers.

Frantz discussed the character and creating suspenseful plots on the cheerful Literature from Finland podcast episode ATMOSPHERES, which can be found on any of the usual platforms.

Foreign rights are still available in many other territories, so don’t hesitate to get in touch with us (urte@helsinkiagency.fi) for the English materials: we have a great package for all three books.

A Dog Called Cat series to be published in Sweden

We are happy to announce one of the loveliest foreign rights deals this summer: the picture book series about the adventures of a dog called Cat and her friends, written by Tomi Kontio and illustrated by Elina Warsta, will now reach the Swedish readers, as Swedish rights have been sold to Epix.

Epix is the oldest and largest publisher in Sweden of adult series and albums, which also has an exquisite list of picture books for children. They have previously published such authors as Tove Jansson, Isabelle Kreitz, Neil Gaiman, Marguerite Abouet, Joann Sfar, Luke Pearson, Pierre Bailly.

The publisher acquired the rights for the first two books in the stand-alone series, A Dog Called Cat (2015) and A Dog Called Cat Meets a Cat (2019), and optioned the third and fourth books. The first book in the series has now been sold to 7 territories altogether.

A friendship between a dog called Cat, a cat called Dog and a man called Weasel might just be the kindest and most beautiful one that has occurred in Finnish literature by far. The series of stand-alone books, nominated for several prestigious children’s literature prizes, including Finlandia Junior and Nordic Council Children and Young People’s Literature Prize, gives us philosophical, warm and humorous lessons about accepting difference, seeing people without prejudice and the importance of looking beyond the surface. Eventually, friendship is what remains, defying all the bad and scary in the world.

A Dog Called Cat (2015) was the first book in the series, followed by A Dog Called Cat Meets a Cat (2019), which was nominated for the most prestigious literary award in Finland, Finlandia Prize, and won the Public Vote as readers’ favourite among the nominees. The third book, A Dog Called Cat is Looking for Home was published last year. The fourth book will be Christmas-themed, and will feature our autumn catalogue.

Congratulations to the authors!

Radio Popov sold to France, China and Czech Republic

Summer months are vacation for some, but we at HLA have been busy, busy, busy. We are thrilled to share another bunch of fantastic foreign rights news: Finlandia Junior 2020 winner Radio Popov by Anja Portin has now been sold France, China (Simplified Chinese) and Czech Republic, meaning that the book has already travelled to 17 language territories!

Radio Popov won the most prestigious literary award in Finland in 2020.

The publisher in France is Milan, known for a large and beautiful selection of titles for children and youth of all ages.

The Czech publisher is Portal, a renowned children’s publisher of 30 years, known not only for its wide and exquisite list, but also for creating a network of collaboration among parents and teachers, schools, kindergartens, children’s psychologists and other experts in the field of early learning and education.

The publisher of the Simplified Chinese translation will be New Buds, a well-known state-owned publishing house for children and young adult literature with an amazing list that includes numerous authors who won major children’s books awards, such as Ellen Raskin, Katherine Applegate, Kate DiCamillo, Jack Gantos, E.L. Konigsburg, Katherine Paterson, Kevin Henkes, Nicky Singer and Michelle Cuevas.

Special thanks to Livia Stoia Literary Agency and Grayhawk Literary Agency for their help and wonderful collaboration!

Radio Popov has so far been sold to:

  • Bulgaria, Perseus;
  • Catalan, Nórdica Libros;
  • China (Simplified), New Buds;
  • Czech, Portal;
  • Denmark, Straarup & Co.;
  • Estonia, Ühinenud ajakirjad;
  • France, Milan;
  • Greece, Psichogios;
  • Hungary, Cerkabella;
  • Italy, Salani;
  • Latvia, Janis Roze Publishers;
  • Lithuania, Alma Littera;
  • Netherlands, Ploegsma;
  • Poland, Widnokrąg;
  • Russia, Samokat;
  • Slovenia, KUD Sodobnost International;
  • Spanish, Nórdica Libros.

Rights are still available in Germany, Norway, World English, Sweden and many other territories, and the strong interest from several publishers makes us confident foreign rights sales will reach 20 territories before the Frankfurt Book Fair.

Stay tuned!