Two HLA titles sold to Bulgaria

We are always happy to see that some of our backlist titles continue to receive interest from the foreign publishers!

In November, two older titles were sold to ICU in BulgariaJuhani Karila’s sensational Fishing For the Little Pike (for which we now have a FULL English translation); and Kari Hotakainen’s novel Story.

Both novels were bestsellers in Finland, and have been sold to several foreign territories: for Karila’s book, this is the 14th foreign rights deal, and the 5th for Hotakainen’s Story.

ICU is a lovely independent publishing house, focusing on quality, not quantity. The house was founded in 2012 and usually aims to publish around 10 titles a year. It is a home for an impressive list of contemporary authors whose books have been translated into a dozen languages, including Olga Tokarczuk, Janine Cummins, Chris Cleave, Marijke Lukas Reinefeld and others.

Fishing for the Little Pike (2019)

Fishing for the Little Pike has been described as an utterly original, genre-defying debut, in which a young woman’s annual pilgrimage to her home in Lapland to catch an elusive pike in three days is complicated by a host of mythical creatures, a murder detective hot on her trail, and a deadly curse hanging over her head.

The novel has been awarded the Kalevi Jäntti  Award, Tähtifantasia (’Star Fantasy’) Prize and Jarkko Laine Award and nominated for the Kuvastaja Award, given out  by  the Finnish Tolkien Society. 

The novel is due to be published in the English world the upcoming spring.

Story (2020)

Hotakainen’s Story was a #1 bestseller after its publication in 2020, and has sold well over 30,000 copies in Finland. It has been described as slyly moving and wildly funny; in the novel, the countryside has been turned into a Recreation Area, and everyone has been made to live in the City. As there is not enough housing for everyone, a brutal playoff begins. Who can tell the most attractive story and make their lives seem interesting and get an apartment?

Kari Hotakainen has been awarded for his previous works with the Nordic Council’s Literature Prize, Finland’s biggest literary award the Finlandia Prize, the Prix du Courrier International and the Prix Coup du Coeur, amongst others. His first nonfiction book, The Unknown Kimi Räikkönen (2018) is the best-selling Finnish nonfiction work of all times with over 200,000 sold copies in Finland and over 100,000 abroad. 

Two HLA authors nominated for Runeberg Prize

The nominees for the prestigious Runeberg Prize were announced today, and we are thrilled to see two of our authors among them: Iida Rauma was nominated for her novel Destruction, and Marja Kyllönen for her novel Undeparted.

Destruction came out in January 2022, instantly gaining an impressive amount of praising reviews – resulting in the first-print run selling out in a week. Just last week, the novel was awarded the most prestigious literary award in the country, Finlandia Prize. Swedish rights were recently sold to Rámus Förlag.

One of the strongest literary titles of the year in Finland, Destruction has 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.

Iida Rauma (photo: Marek Sabogal)

Iida Rauma’s (b. 1984) debut novel The Book of Disappearances was published in 2011 and nominated for the Helsingin Sanomat Literature Prize. Her 2015 novel On Sex and Mathematics was nominated for the European Union Prize for Literature and won both the Kalevi Jäntti Prize and the Torch-Bearer Prize. Rauma has a master’s degree in political science with a specialization in political history.

Undeparted (2022)

Marja Kyllönen’s new novel Undeparted glows with black luminosity. In the hardscrabble north of the 1950s, Rauno loses his heart to the girl from the neighboring farm, Laimi Inari. The young couple’s forbidden love is sweet, but the happiness they anticipate never manifests. They remain childless, and year by year the flame fades. 

The novel is a story of childlessness and dreams that fade or morph into nightmares. Page by page, it swells with inevitable force into a horror story that firmly holds the reader in its agonizing grip. 

The novel was also nominated for this year’s Finlandia Prize.

Aside from The UndepartedMarja Kyllönen (b. 1975) has published two more novels: Leaded Loins (1997), which won the Helsingin Sanomat Literary Prize for best debut of the year, and Violations (2001). Her radio play Silent Partner (2010) was selected as Finland’s nominee for the Prix Italia. 

Runeberg Prize is a prestigious literary prize named after the Finnish national poet, Johan Ludvig Runeberg. It is one of the most important literary awards in Finland, second only to Finlandia Prize. The prize, worth 20,000 euros, is given out in two categories: fiction and children’s books. A Giraffe’s Heart Is Unbelievably Large, a children’s novel by Sofia and Amanda Chanfreau that also won Finlandia Junior Prize, is among the nominees for the Runeberg Junior.

Among the 10 Runeberg Prize nominees, 5 more authors are published by houses that HLA represents: Johan Bargum, Miira Luhtavaara and Silja Järventausta, all published by Teos Publishers; Ulrika Nielsen, published by Schildts & Söderströms; and Päivi Liski, published by Kustantamo S&S.

The winners will be announced on The Runeberg’s Day, the 5th of February 2022.

Congratulations to the authors and fingers crossed!

Before the Birds wins Torch-Bearer Prize

Merja Mäki’s lauded novel Before the Birds continues to be in the focus of our news: the book became the winner of this year’s Torch-Bearer Prize, given yearly to a title considered to have the most potential to succeed outside Finland.

The jury stated about the novel:

“The novel tells a touching story about having to flee and becoming a stranger, about losing your home and possessions and having to settle in other people’s homes. […] It is a novel also for those not interested in historical or refugee stories – it is for everyone who has a home or close ones. […] In addition to depicting a refugee journey and collision of different cultures, the novel tells about blended families. […] The description of how the war affects individuals is topical everywhere, especially now. Even though you wouldn’t have to flee in freezing cold with cattle, losing your home is an experience it is easy to identify with.

Published in January 2022, Before the Birds instantly became the readers’ and reviewers’ favourite: the novel sold over 10,000 in Finland, and foreign rights have so far been sold to 3 territories: France (Leduc); Sweden (Historiska Media); and Ukraine (Astrolabe).

HLA’s authors have been awarded the prize for the three previous years in a row: last year the prize was given to Matias Riikonen’s novel Matara; in 2020, the winner was Marisha Rasi-Koskinen’s Lynchian masterpiece REC; and Minna Rytisalo received it for her novel Mrs C.  in 2019. In 2015, the prize was given to another HLA author, Finlandia Prize winner Anni Kytömäki for her debut novel Goldheart.

Congratulations to the author!

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!

Korean rights for Radio Popov sold

After a short break, another deal was made for one of our most internationally successful titles of all time, Radio Popov, a children’s novel by Anja Portin. Thanks to our partner Suya Lee at AMO Agency, the Korean rights have now been sold to Dasan Books, making it the 23rd foreign rights deal for this book

Dasan is a publisher of such bestselling international authors as Lois Lowry, Julian Barnes, Fredrik Bakman, among others.

Radio Popov is an exciting and humorous, warm-hearted story about a nine-year-old called Alfred, a very lonely boy. Once he meets Amanda Lehtimaja, a woman who works for the Sharp Ears, an unforgettable adventure begins. Alfred starts making nightly radio programs that changes the lives of many forgotten children.

A story that bring to mind children’s classics of Roald Dahl and Astrid Lindgren, the novel has been lauded by critics and loved by children and their parents alike. The book was awarded Finlandia Junior, the most prestigious literary award of the year given to children’s and YA titles, in 2020.

Congratulations to the author!