Night Express nominated for the Nordic Council Children and Young People’s Literature Prize

Fantastic news has reached us from Reykjavík: the magical children’s novel Night Express, written by Karin Erlandsson and illustrated by Peter Bergting has been nominated for the most prestigious literary award in the Nordic countries, Nordic Council Children and Young People’s Literature Prize!

Night Express (2020)

The jury stated about the book:

The book is set in a magical dream world beyond space and time. It is an incredibly multifaceted story. It’s about what it’s like to miss someone, but it’s also about ageing and mental illness. The children try to understand the adult world and people’s sometimes complicated choices. As in Erlandsson’s earlier children’s books, the parents are often distanced from their children and preoccupied with their own agendas. The children are independent and perceptive and make sure to put everything right. With the help of fairy tale magic, anything is possible!

Erlandsson has already been nominated for the prize three times: twice for the books in her fantastical The Song of the Eye Gemstone series (in 2017 and 2020 respectively) and for her debut novel Mink Kingdom (2015) she was nominated in the category of adult books.

This is not the first success for Night Express either: the title just won the prestigious Runeberg Junior Prize in February, and has now been sold to 4 territories.

The Nordic Council Children and Young People’s Literature Prize was first awarded in 2013. The prize was born out of the long-standing desire of the Nordic ministers for culture to strengthen and highlight literature for children and young people in the Nordic Region. The winner will be announced on the 2nd of November.

Congratulations to the author and fingers crossed! After all, you know what they say: third time’s a charm, and on the fourth you win everything.

The Women Who Run Finland sold to Germany

“Correct, the government is ruled by women. Get over it,” tweeted Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin last Friday, in reaction to the new NATO report about the online harassment targeting Finland’s top ministers.

Vappu Kaarenoja & Aurora Rämö (photo: Touko Hujanen)

The world is still treating the female-lead government as somewhat of a utopia: in their new nonfiction The Women Who Run Finland, journalists Vappu Kaarenoja and Aurora Rämö explain how Finland made this utopia possible.

Now, HLA is thrilled to announce the first foreign rights deal for the title: German rights have been acquired by Scoventa.

The Women Who Run Finland takes the reader on a journey through the history of twentieth century Finland, showing how it shifted from being a country of “cashier girls” to one of the forerunners in the matters of gender and age equality.

The title is definitely among HLA nonfiction highlights this spring, that also include The Greatest Leap Forward, a new striking account on the Chinese surveillance system by Katarina Baer and Kalle Koponen, and It Happened to Us by Lea and Santeri Pakkanen, a father and daughter’s journey into the nightmares of their family in the Soviet Union.

Congratulations to the authors for the deal!

Juhani Karila awarded Lapland Literature Prize

We are so thrilled to announce that Juhani Karila’s hilarious, widely (and wildly!) beloved debut Fishing for the Little Pike was awarded the Lapland Literature Prize today!

The chooser, documentary film maker and a professor of Arts Virpi Suutari stated about the novel:

Juhani Karila (photo: Laura Malmivaara)

“The author has created an entirely separate universe with the order of its own, where one effortlessly travels through entities of a varying scale: from the stratosphere to the anatomy of midges. [Karila’s] work succeeds in being, at the same time, realistic but carnivalesque and fairytale-like; gushing, but also laconic.”

Lapland Literature Prize is given every second year for the best fiction title either set in Lapland or written by an author born in Lapland or currently living there. The prize is jointly funded by Lapland’s libraries. Additionally, the audience is invited to vote for their favourite among the nominees: the prize itself is 3000 euros and the winner of the public vote is rewarded a symbolic sum of 500 euros. Among the previous winners is a well-known Finnish author Rosa Liksom.

A true dark horse of 2019, Fishing for the Little Pike has also won the prestigious Jarkko Laine Literature PrizeKalevi Jäntti Literary Prize and Tähtifantasia Prize, and was nominated for the Tolkien Society in Finland Literary Prize.

5 editions were sold out in Finland, foreign rights have so far been sold to 6 territories, including German, World French and others, and in November, Karila was our podcast guest discussing myths in Finland and about Finland – and handling it so charmingly, that the episode even gained international attention.

On top of the enormous success of the book, Karila was just recently named the Journalist of a Periodical of the Year. He was described as someone with the “ability to observe himself and his surroundings, giving a fresh perspective to the familiar, as well as explaining complicated concepts and even, partly, offering solutions”.

Congratulations to the author!

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.