“A warm adventure story is about lonely children whose worries are heard after all. The book has elements of a classic fairytale novel and a lovely narrating voice. The radio transmitter invented by Popov brings a certain frame to the story, where abandoned children start helping each other out.“
The author has stated that the nomination feels extremely important, as it shows that the book has reached the reader, which is the always the best reward a writer can hope for.
“My book ideas always begin with some particular image or situation. This time, it was about a lonely boy who is trying to get some sleep in his corridor. At the same time, I was reading a book about radio history, where inventor Aleksandr Popov was mentioned. […] It was surprisingly easy to find the narrator’s voice; it felt as if Alfred has long been silent and finally got an opportunity to tell his story which I only wrote down,” said Anja Portin.
The novel begins when a nine-year-old Alfred the Forgotten, virtually abandoned by his father, meets Amanda, a paperwoman for the Sharp Ears. An unforgettable adventure follows that changes the lives of many. After finding an old radio transmitter designed by a Russian physicist, A. S. Popov, Alfred starts making a secret, nightly radio broadcast that all the other forgotten children in the city listen to. The novel reminds of Roald Dahl’s classics, where children often experience quite miserable lives oppressed by quite horrible adults, but find refuge in new friendships and worlds on the border between reality and fantasy.
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 last year, A Dog Called Cat Meets a Cat by Tomi Kontio and Elina Warsta was a nominee.
Congratulations to the author and fingers crossed!