Night Express and Queen of the Night sold to Denmark

Wonderful sales news continue to pour in: this year’s Runeberg Junior Prize winner, Night Express written by Karin Erlandsson and illustrated by Peter Bergting was sold to Straarup & Co. in Denmark, while ABC Forlag acquired the Danish rights for Eva Frantz’s new ghost and spook novel for the middle grade readers, Queen of the Night!

Night Express (2020)

Night Express has been as popular at home as abroad: close to 13,000 copies have been sold in Finland, and foreign rights have now been sold to 4 territories. Erlandsson’s novels for the middle grade (aged 7–13) readers have definitely been seeing a surge of interest lately: just a couple of weeks ago, HLA announced a five-book deal for the author in Poland, and at the end of last year the first two books in the magical Song of the Eye Gemstone series were sold to Dedalus in the UK. Erlandsson has been nominated twice for the Nordic Council Literature Prize (in 2018 and 2020), and was also a nominee for the Children’s novel prize in SwedenHere you can find a beautiful video of the author presenting the series and read an interesting short interview about Erlandsson’s inspirations.

Queen of the Night (2021)

Eva Frantz’s exciting spooky novels for the middle-graders are too, rapidly finding a home abroad. Not long ago, the acclaimed British publisher Pushkin Press, with its awarded and widely admired children’s list, acquired World English rights for Frantz’s Runeberg Junior winner Raspberry Hill (2018) and optioned Queen of the Night as well. In an interview given to HLA, Frantz discussed the overwhelming reaction of the small readers to her debut in the horror-for-children genre – which has clearly grown into a demand for more! Don’t forget to tune in Literature from Finland podcast this month, as we will be interviewing Frantz about ATMOSPHERES.

Congratulations to both authors, and fingers crossed for more foreign rights deals soon!

International praise for Rönkä’s Off the Ground

We are so thrilled to share with you the recent news from France: Antti Rönkä’s praised and widely discussed novel Off the Ground has recently received a splendid review in Le Monde, one of the biggest and most respected newspapers in Europe. The novel was published in France by Éditions Payot & Rivages and beautifully translated by Sébastien Cagnoli.

French edition of Off the Ground

Le Monde stated in its review:
“Told in the first person singular, Off the Ground by the Finnish author Antti Rönkä is striking for both, the sharpness of its psychological analysis and its cruelty. It is like a dissection of a scalpel, and the one that hurts. (…) There is something in this masochist analysis that brings to mind Notes from Underground (1864) by Fyodor Dostoyevsky and The Catcher in the Rye (1951) by J. D. Salinger. (…) The novel is an impressive debut that became a phenomenon in Finland.”

Off the Ground is Antti Rönkä’s strong literary debut that has gotten a tremendous amount of attention after it came out in August 2019. The novel describes the experience of shame with cutting precision, and shows how another person’s acceptance and recognition can make the weight easier to bear. The book portrays a young man’s attempts to overcome trauma and start a new, exciting student life in a society where men are not supposed to cry or show feelings in any way.

Don’t forget to have a look at a short interview with the author from HLA’s series which was also featured in Le Monde’s article and which will give you a better insight into this moving title. And here are author’s greetings from our video series.

The nominees for the Varkaus City Children’s Novel Prize are announced

For the 21st time, Varkaus city in Finland is choosing the best Finnish language children’s novel of the year. The city is proud to have a strong, yearly tradition of holding the competition, where an adult pre-jury reads all the children’s novels published during the previous year and chooses the finalists; afterwards, a children’s jury of six members reads shortlisted titles and chooses the winner. The competing books are aimed for the middle grade readers (aged 8–13) and the jury members represent the same age group.

Ruby’s Secret (The Hues series #1)

Six books have made it to the finals this year, and HLA is very happy and proud to see two of its titles on the shortlist: Ruby’s Secret, the first part in Vuokko Hurme’s new children’s series The Hues, and Radio Popov by Anja Portin, the winner of the most prestigious literary award of the year, Finlandia Prize. The winner will be announced on the 16th of June, and awarded the prize of 3500 euros.

In its statement, the pre-jury emphasised the quality of Finnish children’s literature. As many as 60 children’s novels were published in 2020, and authors were praised for not shying away from difficult topics, as well as for their literary skill and authorship. Additionally, Finnish children’s literature seems to be full of humour, funny mishaps and exciting adventures.

Congratulations to all the nominees, and fingers crossed!

The Secret Life of Farts travels to South Korea

More exotic news on the foreign rights sales front: the hilarious children’s verse book The Secret Life of Farts written by Malin Klingenberg and illustrated by Sanna Mander has been acquired by Changbi in South Korea!

The Secret Life of Farts (2019)

As stated on the publisher’s website, Changbi is a publishing house that represents “the finest critical, intellectual, and cultural thought in South Korea and other countries”. Since the mid 1970s, the publisher has been vocal in supporting democratisation movements, often becoming a target of government oppression. In addition to an impressive list of renowned scholars, Changbi proudly publishes a flourishing collection of children’s books, which has been continuously expanding in the last decade. The deal has been made with the help of our partner in South Korea, Momo Agency.

This is the 9th foreign rights deal for the title, which has recently been published in the UK and Estonia. In the recent interview with Österbottens tidning newspaper, Klingenberg praised the HLA’s part in the global success of the book: “When [HLA] became my agency, that’s when things started happening. It’s really cool.” And we thank our authors for the wonderful books that are a pleasure to represent!

Congratulations to Malin and Sanna on the success!

A five-book deal for Karin Erlandsson in Poland

We couldn’t be more thrilled: Polish rights for Karin Erlandsson’s children’s novels were sold to :DWUKROPEK in a five-book deal! The house acquired the rights to publish this year’s Runeberg Junior winner The Night Express, illustrated by Peter Bergting, and all four books in the magical Song of the Eye Gemstone series, recently also sold to the English world.

Karin Erlandsson (photo: Matilda Saul)

:DWUKROPEK is an imprint of MAC / JUKA publishing children’s books for various ages. As stated on the publisher’s website, they are committed to bringing to the readers “engaging, colourful stories, fantasy and crime fiction at its best, as well as beautiful illustrations”. It is an awarded house whose books have received wild acclaim among the critics; however, according to the publisher, the most important reviewer for them is the young reader, to whom Dwukropek strives to provide joy, knowledge and adventures with each new book and each page turned.

In addition to the Runeberg Junior 2021, Erlandsson was nominated twice for the Nordic Council Literature Prize in 2018 and 2020 respectively, for the first and the last books in the series The Pearl Fisher and The Victor. The first book was also the winner of the Runeberg Junior Prize in 2018 and the nominee for the Children’s novel prize in SwedenHere you can find a beautiful video of the author presenting the series and read an interesting short interview about Erlandsson’s inspirations.

The Polish deal was negotiated by our wonderful partner Piotr Wawrzeńczyk from the Book/Lab Agency.

Congratulations to the authors!