Fishing for the Little Pike shortlisted for the Internationaler Literaturpreis in Germany

Absolutely fantastic news have reached us from Germany this week: Juhani Karila’s sensation Fishing for the Little Pike, brilliantly translated into German by Maximilian Murmann, made it on the shortlist for the prestigious Internationaler Literaturpreis!

Awarded annually since 2009 by Haus der Kulturen der Welt and Stiftung Elementarteilchen, the prize honors an outstanding work of contemporary international literature that has been translated into German for the first time.

The award is €35,000 (€20,000 for the author and €15,000 for the translator).

The jury has stated about the novel:

Comic relief! This book is so incredibly different, original, funny, heartfelt – and at the same time filled to the last line with precise, eccentric descriptions of nature, but also of a nature that is angry with humans. It confronts us not least in the form of manifold nature spirits: Pejoonis, Hattaras, Rabatze, Stripe Legs, often originating from Lapland myths and fairy tales. At the center of the story is the sympathetic but enigmatic Elina Ylijaako, a forestry graduate and skilled angler, who returns to her remote home village to catch a pike in a mysteriously deep, mosquito-filled pond; the very pike accompanied by a curse. The oddball villagers, including Inspector Janatuinen, have a bit of a Fargo vibe about them; Lars von Trier and David Lynch would have enjoyed this cast of Nordic loners as well as the quirky forest and meadow monsters. A wacky book! A declaration of love to the swampy East Lapland homeland of the author, a literary polemic for a landscape acutely threatened by extinction.

The winner will be announced on the 22nd of June.

Fishing for the Little Pike has been sold to 13 territories worldwide, including the English world.

Maximilian Murmann studied Finno-Ugric languages, general linguistics and German linguistics and received his PhD with a thesis on emotion descriptors in Finnish. He translates from Finnish and Estonian into German, most recently publishing his translations of the graphic novel Between Two Sounds by Joonas Sildre and Paavo Matsin’s Gogol’s Disco.

Congratulations for both the author and translator for this incredible recognition!

Pirkko Saisio’s Autofictional trilogy pre-empted in Germany by Klett-Cotta

Pre-empted late last year in France by Robert Laffont and in the Netherlands by De Geus, Saisio’s legendary trilogy travels now to Germany.

Pirkko Saisio’s Autofictional trilogy – The Lowest Common Multiple (1998); The Backlight (2000) and The Red Book of Farewells (2003) – is one of the masterpieces in Finnish literature. Each novel was nominated for Finland’s biggest literary award, the Finlandia Prize, the last one finally taking the prize.

The latest nomination for Saisio, who has during her career received numerous literary awards, came only last year from her bestselling novel Passion – a color-saturated, Tarkovskian chronicle of Europe.

The Editorial Director for literary fiction at Klett-Cotta, Corinna Kroker, stated about the trilogy:

“I’ve not come across such beautiful, stunning prose for a long time. (…)

Saisio chooses carefully what to say and what not to say. She therefore opens the room of words to deeper layers of meaning – which I admire. Her prose breathes in its own rhythm and takes the reader on a journey of language and silence. (…)

So many of the topics which Pirkko Saisio touches with her prose are more than relevant today – feminism, class, sexuality – but there’s more to it. Relationships or love are no longer personal topics. Saisio is brilliant in exploring how individuality and society, even class, always go hand in hand.

And look the structure! Saisio works with overlapping layers that reflect the quest of the narrator so incredibly well. The quest for love, for identity, for belonging and for a life as a writer.”

Klett-Cotta is not only one of the most prestigious publishing houses in Germany, but also the oldest: it was also the publisher of such authors as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller. Today, Klett-Cotta publishes, among others, J.R.R. Tolkien, Bernardine Evaristo, Anna Burns, and Steve Sem-Sandberg.

Saisio’s autofictional trilogy is published in Hungarian by Polar. The Red Book of Farewell’s will be published in the North American area by Two Lines Press. Earlier, it has been published in Slovenian and Swedish.

Read also news about the Dutch pre-empt and the French pre-empt.