Lempi by Minna Rytisalo sold to Sweden

More fantastic end-of-the-year news for our backlist titles: Minna Rytisalo’s phenomenal bestseller from 2016, Lempi (published in Finland by Gummerus), has now been sold to Bakhåll in Sweden, making it the 6th foreign rights deal for the title.

Minna Rytisalo (photo: Marek Sabogal)

Bakhåll is an independent publisher focusing primarily on literary fiction, as well as avantgarde and modern classic titles. It is the Swedish home of Frantz Kafka, Anita Desai, Ernest Hemingway, Philip K. Dick, Willy Vlautin and many others. From HLA’s list, Bakhåll has previously published one of the most internationally successful titles from Finland and the EU Prize for Literature winner in 2015, Things that Fall From the Sky, by Selja Ahava (also published by Gummerus in Finland).

A debut novel, Lempi became widely successful immediately after its publication in 2016; the novel sold ca. 30,000 copies in Finland, and just as many copies in Germany, where it was published by Hanser in 2018.

Lempi (2016)

Lempi  is a novel with a singular voice about love, the thirst for life, happenstance, and fate. A story of a woman starts as a fairytale-happiness, but soon evolves into a tragedy that becomes the turning point in the lives of three people. With her timeless but completely fresh and controlled language Rytisalo shows how the main characters of their own lives are just supporting characters in the lives of other.

“Rytisalo has created a precious tapestry where the feelings of the protagonists are timeless, dependless of place and totally fresh, as always in the best of fiction. The novel as a whole is excellently drafted and the language is amazingly balanced at all times.”
Helsingin Sanomat newspaper

“Lempi is one of the books that seem to have been created easily, as if the perfect text would just have flown from the author’s fingertips to the paper and set itself in a ready form. The novel is effortlessly stylish, a complete whole.”
– Aamulehti newspaper

The novel was shortlisted as the favourite book by German-speaking booksellers in Switzerland, also the Helsingin Sanomat Literature Prize, the prestigious Runeberg Prize and the Lapland Literature Prize. 

3 titles by Märta Tikkanen sold to France

Some amazing news to share just before the end of the year: a living legend and a crucial figure in the canon of feminist literature from Finland, Märta Tikkanen, will now have a new publisher in France, as Cambourakis acquires the rights to republish three classics by the author: Manrape (1975); The Love Story of the Century (1978); and The Great Chaser (1989).

Founded in 2006, Éditions Cambourakis has a small, yet diverse and eclectic list of titles varying from translated literary fiction to graphic novels and children’s books. Tikkanen’s work will be published in Cambourakis’s paperback collection of contemporary classics, alongside with important feminine voices such as Sigrid Undset, Grazia Deledda, Edna Ferber and many more.

Märta Tikkanen (photo: Stefan Bremer)

Märta Tikkanen (b. 1935) is a Finland-Swedish journalist, writer, and teacher. In her broad output, she has critically dealt with gender roles and the shackles that bind women, as well as women’s liberation and the longing to realize oneself. With Manrape, she became a central figure in the Nordic women’s movement.

Tikkanen’s work has been translated into over 20 languages. In 2020, The Love Story of the Century was published in the English world, by the independent publisher Deep Vellum.

Over her career, Tikkanen has been awarded various prestigious prizes, including the Nordic Women’s Alternative Literature Prize in 1979, the Swedish Academy’s Finland Prize in 2002 and Finland’s State Literary Prize in 2011.

Two HLA titles nominated for the Arvid Lydecken Award

As the major award season in Finland is wrapping up, we still keep receiving thrilling news about our titles. We are proud to share that My Dad Is a Hipster, written by Tomi Kontio and illustrated by Elina Warsta, and The Princess Who Did a Runner, written by Saara Kekäläinen and illustrated by Netta Lehtola, are now nominated for the Arvid Lydecken Award.

The Arvid Lydecken Award was established in 1969, by the Finland’s Association of children’s and YA authors, and is given to the best children’s book of the year.

The Princess Who Did a Runner (2022)

The Princess Who Did a Runner (published by S&S) is a humorous and dynamic picture book about a princess called Leona, who is not having any of the traditional princess life. When her parents announce she is supposed to get married to a prince, Leona does a runner. Jumping from one fairytale to another, not only Leona meets many funny characters, but also questions the roles in traditional fairytales and alters them to be much more to her liking.

The result is a book full of sharp humour that will offer even big children and adults plenty of food for thought. The title was recently sold to Denmark (Straarup & Co).

My Dad Is a Hipster (2022)

My Dad Is A Hipster (published by Teos Publishers) is an illustrated novel for first independent readers, but also very suitable to smaller children to read together with their parents. It tells a story about a boy called Nuutti, who lives together with his dad. When Nuutti’s schoolmate Selma one day informs him that his dad is a hipster, Nuutti is dumbfounded and worried: neither of the kids know what “hipster” means, so the truth must be found out as quickly as possible!

Thus follows a fun adventure, in which the Finlandia Junior-awarded Tomi Kontio catches the essence of being a kid. Solving the hipster issue grows into a warm-hearted story of longing, remembering, family and friendship. The beautiful illustrations by Elina Warsta are especially appealing for the young readers.

Congratulations to the authors and fingers crossed!

Lifeline and The Disciple by Kari Hotakainen sold to Hungary

Author Kari Hotakainen recently has been having it swell: only recently, we announced that his novel Story from 2020, had been sold to Bulgaria. Now, two more titles are travelling to Hungary.

Polar, who has for years now been a dedicated publisher of some of the most literary titles from Finland, acquired the Hungarian rights to Hotakainen’s older novel Lifeline (2015).

Lifeline (2015)

In Lifeline, the solitary, unnamed Detective Superintendent sings in a choir to escape the crushing weight of his work. In the choir, however, are also the Verger and the Hairdresser. As they are spilling out their ordinary and extraordinary troubles to the Superintendent, he is unable to avoid becoming involved.

The novel gives a voice and a chance to act to those who usually are deprived of it. It is filled with raw emotions: fury, love and hate. All of it boils down to one question: can there be a return back to normal, if those who have always put others before themselves cross the line?

In turn, the Hungarian rights for Hotakainen’s newest and bestselling work, novel The Disciple (2022), was acquired by Typotex.

The Disciple (2022)

The Disciple is a ferocious novel about social exclusion, revenge, and the search for connection. It runs on a thriller’s revs, the pulse of the main protagonist Maria’s heart. Over the course of the three days, Maria settles accounts in a way that forces the reader to think about the meaning of life, the problems inherent in a middle-class lifestyle, and the part we play as individuals on the final precipice of an era.

The book made it to #2 on the bestseller list in just one week after publication, and has gathered raving reviews.

The rhetorical blades of Disciple strike with precision, and a dark, laconic humor sustains the work.
– Helsingin Sanomat newspaper

Even though the decision to sell two titles of the same author to different publishers in the same country might seem strange to some, both publishers agreed that, due to their different profiles, each will be able to provide the best home for the exact title of Hotakainen that each has chosen.