Turkish and Arab language deals; an offer from Russia; and the great success in the French world for Fishing for the Little Pike

Our little Pike is sweeping the hearts away across continents! After the immense success on the home front, the extraordinary Fishing for the Little Pike by Juhani Karila is now conquering the world one country at the time.

Juhani Karila (photo: Laura Malmivaara)

In October, the Turkish and Arab language deals were made. Pike’s new home in Turkey is İthaki, a publisher of Madeline Miller, Neil Gaiman, Pat Barker, T.J. Klune, Antti Tuomainen and Johanna Sinisalo, among others.

The Arab language publisher is Egypt-based Al Arabi, a home of a wide range of international authors, from Frantz Kafka, Peter Handke and Herman Koch to Marieke Lucas Rijneveld, Jon Gnarr, Sofi Oksanen and many others.

Additionally, a new offer just reached us from Russia, which will mark a 10th foreign rights deal for the book.

In the meantime, the French edition, superbly translated by Claire Saint-Germain and published by La Peuplade just a month ago, has been received with the enthusiasm that makes one wonder whether there’s a French reader left in the world that hasn’t fallen madly in love with the book.

The French edition, published by La Peuplade

The novel has been called a “bomb”, “a formidable punk fairytale”, “a magnetic and powerful odyssey”; Shakespeare, Paasilinna, Rabelais and Don Quixote have been mentioned – and these are only the previews. The novel is now nominated for Prix Micheline, a booksellers’ prize for the best literary debut.

Enjoy some of the reviews from the French world, and don’t forget to tune in Literature from Finland podcast episode MYTH, where Karila discussed myths from and about Finland.

“Otherworldly, inimitable: Finnish literature at its best. (…)
A phenomenal, hilarious, as well as poetic novel, combining the north, the Finnish folklore, and the eco-fable, Fishing for the Little Pike reinvents the delicious folly that made Finnish literature a success.”

Sortiz (an online magazine on literature and cultural events)


Houston, we have a HUGE problem!!! It’s not even September yet, and we already have a darling here, a pretty much unbeatable literary debut! Sure, you never know: in the event of some improbable combination of circumstances, we might eventually stumble upon a novel with which we will be even more enamored. In the meantime, well done La Peuplade for bringing up this inventive, hilarious and inspired Finnish author, and thank you, Juhani Karila, for this story that we won’t soon forget!!! (…) It has humor, it has love (conflicted), it has magic, it has mythical creatures and superstitions (not so unfounded), it has drama, and it has a strange curse, circling at the bottom of the pond. We recommend this gem with all our hearts!!!”

“I gobbled it up, swallowed in frenzy and a sort of bulimic euphoria! It’s mordant, ironic, refreshing, breathtaking, delightful and astonishing. It is a pure pleasure to wander off, following these strange creatures that you could have never imagined yourself. [The story] takes you to all kinds of places, without ever letting go of your hand. (…) Honestly, a real treat!”
– Anne, LA GÉOSPHÈRE bookshop, Montpellier

“This novel by the Finnish Juhani Karila is a real BOMB!
The presentation of the book invites us to be prepared for a Rabelaisian carnival, with characters worthy of Don Quixote. I, personally, rather got the feeling of a great Shakespearean remix, tragedies and comedies passed through a mill of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, all drizzled with a Finno-Ugrian sauce, utterly euphoric and damn wacky. (…) This novel is an extraordinary epiphany which not only makes you laugh, but also touches your heart and soul as only the great texts can.”

Fred Hrsct, LIBRAIRIE LÉON DURANCE bookshop, Nantes

“A magical, delightful read!
One of those rare moments, when enthusiasm, joy and the fear of having to close the book intersect. (…) A kind of literature which reminds you that reading sometimes means becoming a kid again, with stars shining all over the place.
This Little Pike is FORMIDABLE! Inventiveness, comedy, imagination, ideas: it has everything, and everything is great! The reading that leaves me with a sentiment of jubilation, which stays even after having said goodbye to the [protagonist] Elina and others. A sort of bonfire, infinitely fueled.”

– Fabien Bernier, director at LIBRAIRIE DECITRE GRENOBLE bookshop

“Magnetic and powerful in its originality.”
– Fanny Nowak, webmagazine Aires Libres

“This debut is a truly beautiful surprise; a colorful story, wild and sensitive at the same time, that carries the reader far away. A strong recommendation for everyone to discover.”
– Virginie Schmitt, LE FORUM DU LIVRE bookshop, Rennes

“Deploying a bestiary, terrifying and magnificent at the same time, which allows the author to explore the furious complexity of Lapland’s mythology (and make fun of some civilizational quirks in the process), Juhani Karila builds a formidable punk fairytale, where curses induce mad quests and some absurdly original interactions.”
– Olivier Boisvert, LIBRAIRIE GALLIMARD bookshop, Montréal

“Fishing for the Little Pike features a handful of characters who play a fools game among themselves: living in the world that we pretend to understand when, in fact, we ignore everything. This is a beautiful book; it provokes bursts of laughter, it examines – through a metaphor – our place in the world. (…) Karila’s writing is as free as it is striking.”
– Eric Pessan, Author

“In Juhani Karila’s novel Fishing for the Little Pike, the everyday and the supernatural mix to perfection; as [one of the characters], inspector Janatuinen, was advised: simply be up for everything.”
– Tatiana Moroni, LES VILLES INVISIBLES bookshop, Clisson

Piia Leino’s Heaven sold to Italy

While we have been enthusiastically following the reviews of Piia Leino’s newest thriller Apogee, published in Finland just weeks ago, some fantastic news has reached us from Italy: author’s EU Prize for Literature winner Heaven has been now acquired by Voland!

Since its establishment in 1994, Voland has published some of the most renowned world’s classics, such as Mihail Bulgakov, Lev Tolstoy, Nikolai Gogol, and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Along with the grands, Voland is also dedicated to introducing cultures and fascinating worlds through authors that are yet to be explored in Italy, but who write literature of great depth.

As the publisher declares: “In Voland’s catalogue, voices are never predictable.”  Alexandra David-Néel, Julio Cortázar, Georges Perec, Dulce Maria Cardoso, Stephanie Hochet, Edgar Hilsenrath, Javier Argüello have all been a part of Voland’s beautiful list – we are sure that the Finnish Piia Leino will be a wonderful addition to it.

This is the 12th foreign rights sale for Heaven, and with the Frankfurt fair fully in the process, we are certain many more will follow. We thank our wonderful partner Piergiorgio Nicolazzini Literary Agency for the deal!

Overtime (2020)

Though Heaven was an immediate success, published to fantastic reviews in Finland, Leino’s talent to explore how societies work from completely new angles has manifested itself even more poignantly in Overtime, a 2020 novel about a female politician who helps to pass the so called Exitus Law, under which people are virtually exterminated after the age of 75. However, when the politician herself reaches the age, she starts wondering if there are more things in life left to experience – and runs.

Overtime is an inventive, mad thought experiment. […] The nightmarish picture of the future that Leino creates brings to mind the alternative-history dystopias of Philip K. Dick. Both authors possess an exceptional ability to create tomorrow’s world and make it credible and absolutely horrifying. […] Just as Philip K. Dick, Piia Leino also has a gift for an incredibly fluent narration; the topics of Overtime may be weighty, but the storytelling is light. One doesn’t come across such a combo every day.
– Keskisuomalainen newspaper on Overtime

Apogee (2021)

Leino’s newest book Apogee is a crime novel set in an era when ecological catastrophe and new technology have reworked reality into an unrecognizable state. When mysterious “accidents” involving various smart devices start happening all around the world, journalist Aaro Kangas of an international media conglomerate is assigned to look into the potential radicalization of an ecological community. He unwittingly ends up at the heart of an ambitious plan for annihilation. The investigation quickly turns incredibly personal – and incredibly dangerous.  

Don’t forget to check out our Literature from Finland podcast episode FUTURE VISIONS, where Leino discussed the future of our society. We also did a nice short interview with her a while ago, so have a look!

A two-book deal for Aki Ollikainen in Poland

A proud torch-bearer of introducing the Finnish literature grands to the wider world, HLA is always thrilled to announce its backlist successes.

Aki Ollikainen (photo: Laura Malmivaara)

This year has been especially successful for the acclaimed Aki Ollikainen, whose books will now also have a home in Poland, as his novels White Hunger (2012) and Pastoral (2019) have been acquired by ArtRage.

ArtRage is a concept publisher, first and foremost dedicated to culture promotion and quality. Its various collections focus on introducing extraordinary fiction and graphic novels to a curious, sophisticated and culturally orientated reader and art-lover.

White Hunger (2012)

Ollikainen is a master at creating a tense atmosphere where hovering death is always sensed. His astonishing debut White Hunger, which received numerous awards in Finland and was also longlisted for The International Booker Prize, Prix Femina and Europese Literatuurprijs, is a portrayal of a grim reality where a person has nothing to lose and humanity can get trodden as an unnecessary burden. His later works, A Tale of Darkness (2015) and A Pastoral (2018) continue exploring the fragility and unpredictability of personal destinies, often intertwined with death, with precise expressiveness.

Earlier this year, Ollikainen’s work was also sold to Hungary, Romania, and Armenia; White Hunger has now been sold to 15 territories altogether, and A Pastoral to 4 territories.

For the Polish deal, we thank our fantastic partner, Book Lab Literary Agency!

Congratulations to the author!