Nearly 70,000 copies sold of Margarita; Radio Popov makes 20 foreign territories

The most exciting time in the year in the Finnish literary scene is approaching: the nominees for the most prestigious literary award, Finlandia Prize, will be announced in November.

While placing our bets on the new nominees, we continue to rejoice the success of last year’s winners: Finlandia Prize winner Margarita by Anni Kytömäki and Finlandia Junior, given to the best children’s or YA book of the year, winner Radio Popov by Anja Portin.

Margarita (2020)

Margarita, exploring relationships between nature and people throughout generations, has now sold nearly 70,000 copies in Finland, and foreign rights have been acquired in 3 territories and optioned in France. Set in the post-war Finland, this powerful novel portrays a country rebuilding after the war, its growing industry and the cost that the seemingly bright future demands from nature and a simple individual.

“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.” (The jury of the Tampere City Literature Prize)

Anja Portin and Radio Popov (2020)

Anja Portin’s children’s novel Radio Popov on its part, continues its spectacular journey around the world: the 20th deal was made just a few weeks ahead of the Frankfurt fair, as Locus, the Tel Aviv-based independent publisher of contemporary literature, acquired the Hebrew rights.

As Popov’s French publisher Louison Couzy from Milan publishing house has stated:

“Radio Popov swept our hearts away with its beautiful details, deep themes, endearing characters… Anja Portin created a book that stays with the reader for a long time:  a classic in the making.”

Congratulations to both authors on such wonderful successes in Finland and abroad!

Fuck You, Liivik sold in auction to Estonia

Author Aki Ollikainen is very well known to both Finnish and international audiences: his astonishing debut White Hunger (2012) received numerous awards in Finland and was also longlisted for The International Booker Prize, Prix Femina and Europese Literatuurprijs at the time and sold to 16 territories.

Fuck You, Liivik by Aki Ollikainen & Siim Liivik

This autumn, Ollikainen surprises the readers with the nonfiction Fuck You, Liivik he co-authored with Siim Liivik: a memoir of the ice hockey player and his journey from a Soviet kolkhoz to the Finnish sports’ elite.

The publication date in Finland is the 9th of September, but, naturally, Estonians are already buzzing: foreign rights were recently sold in an auction to Varrak.

In the memoir, Liivik, born in 1988, tells his incredible story from insecure childhood experiences in collapsing Soviet Union to tough ice rings of an infamous Finnish suburb, winning the Finnish League and becoming one of the top music performers in Finland, releasing several platinum singles.

Congratulations to the authors!

Thank You for the Book, Selja Ahava!

Autumn is here, and so the award season in Finland begins. For HLA, it started with some lovely news: author Selja Ahava was awarded Thank You for the Book Prize 2021 for her newest novel The Woman Who Loved Insects.

Selja Ahava (photo: Liisa Valonen)

The prize is given out yearly since 1966, for a book that is considered to have had the biggest intellectual and/or emotional affect to the readers during the past year. The winner is decided upon jointly by the Booksellers’ Association in Finland, Association Libro ry and Finnish Library Association.

The jury has stated:

“From all the books in [this year’s] competition, the jury has chosen the one which is rather topical. The novel explores the relationship between a human and nature through perspective of a woman, who is trying to break out of her narrow role. Ahava’s language is beautiful and expressive, and, just as a detailed painting, opens up new levels to a reader with every page.”

The Woman Who Loved Insects is the fourth novel of Ahava, whose books have so far been sold to 27 territories altogether. The novel follows Maria, born in the age of witch trials, who is fascinated by insects. With the passage of time from one century to another, she gains voice and authorship, together with the right to ponder the mystery of the origin of life. Just as insects undergo a transformation, so over time Maria changes, going on to live for 370 years.

Ahava was the winner of the EU Prize for Literature in 2015 with her novel Things that Fall from the Sky; it was also longlisted for the Dublin Literary Award and nominated for the Warwick Prize.

Congratulations to the author!