Finlandia Prize winner Kytömäki’s Goldheart sold to France, a Lithuanian offer for Margarita on the table

Anni Kytömäki (Photo: Liisa Valonen)

Anni Kytömäki’s Finlandia Prize winning novel Margarita is gaining a lot of attention abroad. The rights have been sold to Estonia and Hungary, optioned in France, and an offer from Lithuania is on the table.

Anni Kytömäki’s bestselling debut novel Goldheart (2014) has been sold to France to Rue de l’échiquier, who has also optioned Kytömäki’s second novel Stone Weaver (2017) and the recent Margarita (2020).

At the moment, there is also an Lithuanian offer for Margarita on the table.

The rights of Margarita have previously been sold to Estonia (Ühinenud ajakirjad) and Hungary (Polar). Bestseller #1 in Finland with so far over 55,000 copies sold in Finland, Margarita is gaining a lot of international attention.

The novel, set in 50s Finland, is a page-turning, stunningly topical story in which the fates of people intertwine in an era when the relationship between people and nature start to change. With similarities to such recent successes as Delia Owen’s Where the Crawdads Sing and Richard Powers’ OverstoryMargarita writes the people as inseparable parts of the nature surrounding us.

The author’s debut novel Goldheart  (2015) was nominated for the Finlandia Prize and Helsingin Sanomat Literature Prize, and it was awarded Gummerus’ Kaarle Prize. Goldheart, a bestseller in Finland, also received the Torch-Bearer Prize, and it won the bloggers’ best book of the year award, Blogistanian Finlandia. In 2017, Kytömäki published the critically acclaimed Stone Weaver, which went straight to #3 on the bestseller list when it came out.

Ulla Donner’s graphic novels travel to three territories

HLA is very proud to become a foreign rights representative for the young star of graphic novels, Ulla Donner, and immediately announce three foreign rights deals for her works!

Finlandia Prize winner Crap (2019)

Centrala has now acquired Czech, World English and Polish rights for Donner’s acclaimed graphic novels Crap (2019) and Spleenish (2017).

Donner (b. 1988) is a Swedish-speaking Finnish illustrator, cartoonist and a graphic designer. Spleenish was awarded the Stipend of the Swedish-Speaking Finnish Society of Authors, in addition to the The Most Beautiful Book award and a nomination to the Finlandia Prize for the best graphic novel. Her second graphic novel Crap was a critical success and the winner of the Finlandia prize for the best Finnish graphic novel.

Centrala is a publishing house specialising in comics; originally based in Poland, they now also operate in Berlin and London. As the publisher states on its website: “For us, comics means beautifully published, well written, and exceptionally drawn literature – a picture of life in a solid frame.” No better home for Donner’s exceptional work!

Congratulations to the author!

Runeberg Junior winner Night Express sold to Estonia and Lithuania

Karin Erlandsson’s and Peter Bergting’s masterful, adventurous pre-Christmas novel in 24 chapters Night Express, that has been compared to Maja Lunde’s international success The Snow Sister, has been sold to Sinisukk in Estonia and Alma littera in Lithuania.

Night Express (2020)

The title was awarded the Runeberg Prize on Thursday last week, and the interest towards this children’s novel has kept growing since.

Sinisukk is the Estonian publisher of Karin Erlandsson’s four-novel adventure series Song of the Eye Gemstone, recently also sold to UK. Sinisukk has a wide list of children’s literature, and they are the publisher of, among others, Astrid Lindgren in Estonia.

Alma littera is the biggest publishing house in Lithuania, with a large and impressive list, including such children’s authors as J. K. Rowling and Roald Dahl.

Finnish literary classics travel the world

One of the greatest thrills for agents is to witness a book become a literary classic and represent it in the wide world. Therefore, we are always happy to see our backlist classics thriving abroad.

A Pastoral (2019)

Hungarian rights were sold to Aki Ollikainen’s astonishing debut White Hunger (2012), which received numerous awards in Finland and was also longlisted for The International Booker Prize, Prix Femina and Europese Literatuurprijs, as well as author’s third novel A Pastoral (2018) (pictured). The latter was also acquired by the Armenian house Guitank, making it the third foreign rights deal altogether (previously sold to France); White Hunger has now travelled 13 territories altogether. The publisher in Hungary is Polar.

Also Finnish poetry grand Paavo Haavikko is experiencing a revival: at the end of last year we announced that his poems will be published in Hebrew; now the Estonian publisher EKSA acquired his 1987 fictional memoir An Attempt to Self-Portrait, and a Czech house Dybbuk bought the rights for poetry collectionWinter Palace (1959).Haavikko (1931–2008) is considered to be one of the most significant writers in Finland’s literary cannon, and his poetry has been published in volume format in 12 languages.

Lempi (2016)

On the female authors’ front, Minna Rytisalo’s  bestseller Lempi was sold to Hungary (Polar), making it the 5th foreign rights sale for the title. With 6 editions in Germany, over 30,000 copies sold in Finland, nomination as the favourite book by German-speaking booksellers in Switzerland and also for the Helsingin Sanomat Literature Prize, the Runeberg Prize and Lapland Literature Prize, the book is one of definite hits of modern literary classics. Lempi also won the Blogistania Finlandia Prize (the best novel of the year voted by the Finnish bloggers), Thank You for the Book Prize (awarded by the Finnish Booksellers’, Librarians’ and Libraries Associations) and the Botnia Prize.

Hungarian rights (Polar) were also sold for novels The Red Letter of Farewell (2003) and Backlight (2000) written by one of the most prominent Finnish authors Pirkko Saisio. Among other awards, she has been nominated for the most prestigious literary award in the country, Finlandia Prize, six times, and has been compared to the Danish phenomenon Tove Ditlevsen, recently discovered and lauded by The New York Times’ Parul Sehgal. Meanwhile, Märta Tikkanen’s legendary classic The Love Story of the Century (1978), not long ago published in English by Deep Vellum, has now found a home in Greece (rights acquired by Melani).

More January 2021 sales here.

Marisha Rasi-Koskinen awarded The Runeberg Prize

We are very excited to announce that Marisha Rasi-Koskinen was awarded this year’s Runeberg Prize for her original and multilayered novel REC!

REC (2020)

The jury stated about the novel:
“REC is an exceptionally courageous work of fiction: a piece of art, weaving together the narrative, form and space, and experimenting with each of them; it reminds us about the dangerous potential of storytelling. The novel contemplates the use of power in relationships between people and on various levels of narration; in the end, the main protagonist might always turn out to be fiction. (…)
REC is intellectually challenging, but at the same time, clear and approachable. Rasi-Koskinen’s masterpiece is a wild, serious game, a mystery and an experience that opens up differently with each reading – and the reader cannot avoid the change either.”

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, and novel REC was recently awarded The Torch-Bearer Prize.

The 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, second only to Finlandia Prize. The prize, worth 10,000 euros, is given out in two categories: fiction and children’s books. This year, 246 adult fiction titles were submitted, and 8 made it to the shortlist.

Warmest congratulations to the author!