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!