France a leading acquiring market for HLA books

For many years, France and the French world were considered to be a rather difficult market for translated titles to break in. Well, it is no more: in fact, in the last couple of years the French world has become a leading market for HLA’s books, acquiring the majority of adult titles on our current list, some of them in auction or pre-empt.

The Red Book of Farewells (2003)

One of the biggest deals recently made remains Pirkko Saisio’s autofictional trilogy, that was sold in pre-empt to Robert Laffont last autumn. The French translation of the first book in the trilogy, The Lowest Common Multiple (1998), is expected to be launched next year.

The French are not shying away from more challenging and longer in volume titles either: Marisha Rasi-Koskinen’s Lynchian masterpiece REC was acquired by Payot & Rivages, and Niillas Holmerg‘s novel Halla Helle, focusing on indigenous Sámi people, was acquired by Éditions du Seuil.

Probably the most experimental title on HLA’s list, 101 Ways to Kill Your Husband by the author duo Laura Lindstedt and Sinikka Vuola was also sold to France recently: the publisher will be Gallimard.

Finland also seems to be the country for the “golden middle” of publishing known as upmarket literary fiction: titles that are of high literary value, but also accessible for wide audiences and having the potential of becoming bestsellers.

Matara (2021)

A great example of such title is Matara, the lauded and awarded new novel by Matias Riikonen, which was acquired in auction by one of the most prestigious literary publishing houses in France, Éditions Bourgois.

Another upmarket literary title, the eclectic and stunning debut full of dark humour To My Brother by author E. L. Karhu, will be soon published in the French language world by the beautiful La Peuplade.

A year ago, Anni Kytömäki’s three novels – Goldheart (2014); The Stone Weaver (2017); and the Finlandia winner Margarita (2020) – also found a beautiful home in France: all three books will be published by Rue de l’échiquier.

The interest in commercial titles from Finland is also growing speedily and once again, the French language market is the proof of that: Ann-Christin Antell, who only at the beginning of the summer joined HLA’s list with her historical romance trilogy Cotton Mill, was immediately noticed by Marabout, the imprint of Hachette, the biggest publisher in France and the third biggest publishing group in the world. The stunning deal for all three books in the trilogy was closed in July.

Radio Popov (2020)

Finally, children’s titles are travelling a bit slower; in the last couple of years, only Anja Portin’s Finlandia Junior winner Radio Popov found a home in France: the children’s novel was acquired by Éditions Milan. Foreign rights for this title have been sold to 25 territories, so perhaps the children’s publishers in France just don’t like to take any risks?

All these fantastic deals wouldn’t have been possible without amazing partners in crime: Anna Lindblom from the Nordik Agency and all of the wonderful translators, who keep spreading the word about our books. Thank you!

If you are interested in seeing the materials for any of our titles, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Urtė (