The Woman Who Loved Insects Sold to Italy

There couldn’t be better news before the festive weekend: the Italian rights for Selja Ahava’s fourth novel The Woman Who Loved Insects has now been sold to Elliot Edizioni.

Selja Ahava (photo: Liisa Valonen)

Elliot Edizioni is a beautiful house based in Rome, that publishes fiction, nonfiction and poetry. On its exquisite list, the publisher is proud to have such authors as Sherwood Anderson, Ellen Glasgow, Christopher Moore and others. It is also the Italian publisher of Laura Lindstedt. Hard to imagine a better company for Ahava!

This is the 5th foreign rights deal for the novel and it has also been optioned in France. The gentle, enchanting story revolves around a woman fascinated by an unusual hobby: insects. Limited by narrow roles imposed on her by the time and society she lives in, the main protagonist starts looking for ways of finding her voice and authorship – eventually travelling through time and facing the big questions of existence and the origin of life.

As the major Finnish newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat put it: “The Woman Who Loved Insects is like a Japanese woodcut – gentle, exotic and slowly unfolding. It is enigmatic, and as such very, very fascinating.

Congratulations to the author!

Interviews with writers

Kari Hotakainen (Photo: Laura Malmivaara)

We are continuing the beloved interview series with HLA writers, that help the readers to know our titles and authors even better! This month, Finnish literature veteran Kari Hotakainen tells us all the truth about being an original and bestselling writer… sort of. And of course, a cherry on the top – the popular questionnaire! You can find the interview here.

REC and Margarita awarded Tampere City Literature Prize

Wonderful news for Marisha Rasi-Koskinen’s extraordinary novel REC and Anni Kytömäki’s Finlandia Prize-winner Margarita: on 28th of April, both titles were among the awarded the Tampere City Literature Prize, given yearly to most outstanding fiction works written by authors either born or currently living in the city of Tampere.

REC (2020)

The jury has stated about REC:

“REC takes the reader to a world where nothing is self-evident. (…) The novel gives them a set of keys that open doors to a better understanding of the world and self. Masterfully written events and language are captivating; one sentence contains the whole life, another can turn everything upside down. The lucky reader encounters many surprises: between the lines, many things turn out to be different than they seemed.”

Previously, REC has also been awarded the prestigious Runeberg Prize and the Torch-Bearer Prize, and foreign rights have been recently sold to Denmark.

The novel is like a collection of Lynchian literary fugues and 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 award of the year, Finlandia Junior.

Margarita (2020)

About Margarita, the jury stated:

“Margarita is a beautifully written story, that ties together the ideas of pacifism, environmentalism and women’s rights. Kytömäki uses rich language that takes the reader to the narrators’ world – including the underwater, home of the freshwater mussel. Margarita reminds us about the fragility of nature and the importance of protecting it, and gives a voice to those previously unheard.”

A trained nature surveyor, Anni Kytömäki is devoted to exploring relationships between nature and people throughout generations, and this angle is especially powerful in her bestselling Margarita, the winner of the most prestigious literary award in Finland, Finlandia Prize.

It tells a story set post-war Finland. The country is rebuilding after the war, industry is growing and the future seems bright, but the increase of the economical welfare has its downsides: old forests are being cut down, and one species central for the plot of the novel, freshwater pearl mussel, is getting endangered. And even as the world is moving ahead, there are still the same old obstacles present which humankind has always had to deal with: polio is taking its toll on the rising nation. In this setting, dramatic fates of different people intertwine. 

Well over 55,000 copies sold in Finland and 4 foreign rights deals are the best proof that the book resonates with readers, offering a view on our fragile connection with nature, as well as policies implemented for the good of the welfare state.

Congratulations to the authors!

More foreign rights sales for A Dog Called Cat, Million Billion Santa Clauses and The Night Express

Children’s titles from Finland continue to conquer the world, and we are so happy to be a part of it!

The Dog Called Cat (2015)

Hungarian rights for the beautiful and philosophical A Dog Called Cat (2015) written by Tomi Kontio and illustrated by Elina Warsta was sold to Koinonia. A Dog Called Cat is the first part in a stand-alone picture book (age group: 4–7 year-old) series about a dog called Cat and a man called Weasel, whose warm friendship makes every day in their lives full of wonder; this is the 6th foreign rights deal for the title. The second book, A Dog Called Cat Meets a Cat (2019) was nominated for the most prestigious literary award in Finland, Finlandia Prize, and voted as the readers’ favourite among the nominees. The third, long-awaited part A Dog Called Cat Looking for Home came out in 2020 to the delight of the fans.

Million Billion Santa Clauses (2014)

Meanwhile, another picture book, A Million Billion Santa Clauses (2014) by Hiroko Motai and Marika Majala just had its 17th (!) foreign rights sale, as Estonian rights were acquired by Tänapäev. The book doesn’t cease to draw the attention of foreign publishers, and why would it: Motai’s moving and inventive story and Maijala’s adorable crayon illustrations makes the book a perfect bedtime story for children and adults to share. Strong interest in the World English rights suggests more deals might be announced soon!

Night Express (2020)

The popularity of children’s novels is also showing no signs of slowing down: The Night Express by Karin Erlandsson and Peter Bergting has now been sold to Ikar in Slovakia, making it the 5th foreign rights deal for the title. Anja Portin’s Finlandia Prize-winning novel for the middle grade readers Radio Popov, on its part, has been sold to 10 territories, and a Polish offer is now on the table.

Go visit our Catalogues page to learn more about these and so many other fantastic children’s titles!

Rights for detective Anna Glad series sold in auction to Estonia, over 55,000 copies sold in Finland

Detective Anna Glad, the main protagonist of the beloved crime series by Eva Frantz, will soon also charm the Estonian readers, as the books were sold to Rahva Raamat after a rather intense auction! The publisher acquired the rights to publish the first novel in the series, The Blue Villa (2017), and optioned both other novels: the Crime Novel of the Year winner in 2019 The Eighth Maiden (2018) and the most recent one, Out of the Game (2020).

Rahva Raamat is one of the most established publishing houses in the country, with a mission to expand readers’ worldview with their rich and diverse list. Notable names vary from such bestselling crime authors as Stieg Larsson, Cara Hunter and Lucy Foley to contemporary literary classics as Margaret Atwood, Delia Owens, Neil Gaiman and others.

Eva Frantz, photo: Marica Rosengård

The first Anna Glad book has been previously acquired by Sekwa in Sweden, and the series 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 recently discussed the character and creating suspenseful plots on Literature from Finland podcast fabulous episode ATMOSPHERES. Tune it in on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or any other of the usual platforms, and learn why the character – and the author! – are so loveable. Strong interest in Germany and Central Europe lets us believe there will be more deals very soon!

Congratulations to the author and those lucky Estonian readers!