Eeva Turunen wins Kalevi Jäntti Literature Prize

There seems to be no end to fantastic news: Eeva Turunen was awarded the Kalevi Jäntti Literature Prize, for their new novel A Nice, Civilised Individual.

Eeva Turunen (photo: Laura Malmivaara)

The Kalevi Jäntti Literature Prize is given yearly to one or several Finnish authors under the age of 40, to encourage and promote Finnish literary fiction. Each winning author is awarded the sum of 18,000 euros. Turunen shares the prize with two other authors.

The jury praised Turunen’s novel for the multilayered composition that, on the other hand, is accessible and easy to read: “[The book] represents one of the most demanding genres of prose: humorous novel. Subtly overly-proper style enchants the reader. And just as all great humorous stories, this too, ends on a melancholic note.”

Published at the end of the year, A Nice, Civilised Individual immediately gained praises from critics and readers alike: the novel was nominated for the most prestigious literary award in Finland, Finlandia Prize, and was voted as the readers’ favourite among the nominees.

In A Nice, Civilised Individual, the narrator – an architect like their Grandpa, but of a different gender and from a different age – is inundated with gentlemen’s clubs, cloth for suits, rolls of sketch paper, stencils, receipts for baked goods, and miles upon miles of ciné film. One foot in the queer margin, the narrator keeps opposing Grandpa’s conservatism, but can’t help admitting that some of the values are coursing down the generations – and that full marks are point blank unattainable, no matter how hard you try.

“Turunen’s novel is navigating between empathy and frustration at the moment of reckoning between different generations. The author has built a unity out of faultlessly apt observation, that combines humour with the everyday and, at times, a melancholy tone. The novel – written in free verse and dialogue – guides the readers to the nuance in language, the shades and feel of which Turunen makes use of in a delicious way.”
– Finlandia Prize jury

Congratulations to the author!