Two HLA authors nominated for the best debut award

Anna Englund’s Pine Coat and Susanna Hast’s Body of Evidence have been nominated for the Helsingin Sanomat Literature Prize.

Two brand new novels from this September, Anna Englund’s Pine Coat and Susanna Hast‘s Body of Evidence, have been listed among the best debuts of the year.

In Englund’s Pine Coat, it is year 1931. Elena is living in a small village by the sea, sewing cushioning to the coffins her husband carves. Death is a daily colleague, and life flows along calmly in its familiar channels. But when a strange woman from the capital arrives to buy a coffin, everything changes.

Painting the past and present of her hardscrabble characters with a light, warm, and deft hand, Englund has written a hopeful and optimistic novel about how love can turn things around.

“With a delicate pen, Anna Englund draws forth the internal lives of secondary characters as well. There’s not a trace of beginner’s fumbling, let alone searching for a voice. […] In some remarkable yet very dignified way, Englund’s opus succeeds in being optimistic without falling into childish hope. […] A book that rises from the black keys of angst to beauty.”
– Helsingin Sanomat newspaper

In Hast’s Body of Evidence, all starts from the 1990s, in a small village up north. There is a terraced house, a block of flats, a bedroom, a bathroom, a living room. A crime has been committed, but no one has called the police, no evidence is gathered, suspects are not questioned.

Years later, a woman starts following traces on the fringes of her memory, so as to find the missing archival truth of what happened to her. She needs to write out the truth in order to regain her humanity.

The novel is an infuriating and moving masterpiece.
– Eeva magazine

You could describe Susanna Hast’s debut as […] startling, devastating and revolutionary.”
– Turun Sanomat newspaper

Helsingin Sanomat Literature Prize is an award of 15,000 euros given each year to the best Finnish debut of the year. This year’s winner will be announced on 17th November.

Destruction by Iida Rauma sold to Rámus in Sweden

Iida Rauma’s lauded novel Destruction was acquired by the Swedish Rámus, the publisher of Louise Glück and Miriam Toews.

Iida Rauma (photo: Marek Sabogal)

Iida Rauma’s third novel Destruction came out in January 2022 and collected instantly an impressive amount of applauding reviews – resulting to the first-print run selling out in a week. Finland’s largest newspaper Helsingin Sanomat wrote:

“Destruction is like an extended depiction of a prison or concentration camp, or perhaps a catalog of evidence at a war crimes tribunal: a detailed report of daily, years-long oppression, of psychological negation and unmitigated violence. (…) Even so, this is no tract. Destruction is first and foremost an artistic endeavor, a novel in complete control of its idiom, and as such a stunning tour de force. (…) Destruction alternates between varying narrative techniques and registers, maintaining its intensity all the while, and complements fiction with facts, facts with a vivid experientiality.”

One of the strongest literary titles of the year in Finland, Destruction has also brought the question about violence towards children and the societal structures supporting it a visible topic in public discussion. “No other type of violence is talked about in the same way as acts and attitudes towards children in school. Such deeds are allowed in the school environment that in the adults’ world would be subject to criminal law,” has Iida Rauma said in one of her interviews.

Rámus förlag in Sweden publishes literary fiction and poetry in translation. Their authors include, among others, the Nobel Prize winning Louise Glück, Miriam Toews, Paul Beatty, Pilar Quintana, Sjón and other authors from about 30 different countries.

Ellen Strömberg’s YA novel nominated for the August Prize

We are just beginning to recover from the whirlwind of the Frankfurt Fair, and now sensational news has reached us from Sweden: We’ll Just Ride Past, the YA novel by Ellen Strömberg is nominated for the prestigious August Prize!

We’ll Just Ride Past (2022)

In We’ll Just Ride Past Strömberg captures the life of ninth-graders in that recognizable phase in life when you have a real drive to be independent and to discover and define your identity, and when friendships have a huge impact on your decisions and desires. Strömberg has a knack for portraying the emotional landscape and world view of young people in a convincing way and she masterfully depicts the anxieties and emotional turmoil teenagers face daily.

The August jury motivated the nomination as follows:

With sensitivity and accuracy [Strömberg] describes the turning point of adolescence, when the fantasies about who you want to be are suddenly put into practice, friendships are put to test and first love feels both alluring and terrifying. With the greatest respect for both her readers and her characters, Ellen Strömberg gives new life to the most iconic motif in youth literature.

Ellen Strömberg (Photo: Nicklas Mattsson)

Ellen Strömberg is a Finnish author writing in Swedish, and her books have garnered praise from critics and readers alike. She lives in Jakobstad in the Ostrobothnia region of Finland. We’ll Just Ride Past is her fourth book.

The August Prize is Sweden’s biggest literary award given to a book published in Sweden and it is awarded annually in three categories: the best novel, the best children’s or YA book, and the best nonfiction book of the year. The winners receive 100,000 SEK and a bronze August statuette.

Congratulations, Ellen!

Pirkko Saisio’s autofictional trilogy sold to US and Canada

The success of Pirkko Saisio’s awarded trilogy which has recently been known as the “Helsinki Trilogy” is continuing: the North American English rights have been acquired by Two Lines Press.

Two Lines fell for Saisio’s works already a year ago when they acquired the third, Finlandia Prize winning novel Red Book of Farewells (2003), which is to come out in English in April 2023. Now the press has acquired the other two stand-alone titles of the trilogy, too: The Lowest Common Multiple (1988) and The Backlight (2000), thanks to our wonderful co-agent Elianna Kan from Regal | Hoffman & Associates.

Late last year, the whole trilogy was pre-empted in the Netherlands by De Geus, in France by Robert Laffont and this year in Germany by Klett-Cotta. In Hungary, the trilogy is published by Polar.

Two Lines Press is an award-winning press committed to publishing outstanding literature in translation with a focus on overlooked classics and exceptional new writing.

Pirkko Saisio’s Autofictional trilogy 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 long career received numerous literary awards, came only last year from her bestselling novel Passion – a color-saturated, Tarkovskian chronicle of Europe.

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

the German pre-empt.

Pre-publication deal for The Princess Who Did a Runner in Denmark

Happy deal news from Frankfurt: the delightfully anarchist princess story The Princess Who Did a Runner written by Saara Kekäläinen and illustrated by Netta Lehtola has found its home at Straarup & Co. in Denmark.

The Princess Who Did a Runner (2022)

Young princess Leona is expected by her parents to marry a prince and save the kingdom – but Leona is having none of it. She takes a hike and jumps from one fairytale to the next in order to save herself from the age-old burdens that lurk around every corner such as marriage and household chores. A refreshing take on princess tales proves that one can have both self-respect and empathy for others.

Straarup & Co. is a Danish publishing house that publishes books for both children and adults. They have previously acquired the Karin Erlandsson’s novels Home and Night Express and Eva Frantz’s  Mystery of Helmersbruk Manor from HLA’s list.

The Princess Who Did a Runner is not yet published in Finland, and we are very excited for this great start. Congratulations to the authors!