17th foreign territory for Fishing for the Little Pike

Our Little Pike is nearing a round number of foreign rights deals, as Host in the Czech Republic becomes the 17th publisher to acquire the rights.

Host seems to be going big on the Finnish literature these days, as it has recently made a 4-book deal to publish the legendary author from Finland, Pirkko Saisio.

Fishing for the Little Pike (2019)

As we have recently reported, Fishing for the Little Pike, the phenomenal debut by Juhani Karila, has also been doing splendidly on the home front, with already 30,000 copies sold since its publication in 2019.

The English edition will be published jointly by Restless Books and Pushkin Press this spring / summer.

The title is now nominated for the prestigious translation award in Poland, and it was honoured with such nominations as Prix Michelin in France and Internationaler Literaturpreis in Germany. In Finland, the book was awarded the Jarkko Laine Literature Prize, the Kalevi Jäntti’s Literary Prize, as well as Tähtifantasia Prize.

Karila’s publisher in Finland is Siltala.

Don’t forget to tune in the hilarious Literature from Finland podcast episode MYTH, where Karila discussed myths from and about Finland.

Congratulations to the author!

World French & Lithuanian rights for A Giraffe’s Heart sold; Hebrew offer on the table

2 more foreign rights deals were closed this week for our Finlandia Junior winner A Giraffe’s Heart Is Unbelievably Large, by Sofia & Amanda Chanfreaus: World French rights were sold in auction to Édtions Milan; Lithuanian rights were acquired by Alma littera.

A Giraffe’s Heart Is Unbelievably Large (2022)

The title has already travelled 12 territories; additionally, a Hebrew offer is now on the table. Just last week, we announced the sale of English & Dutch rights. The Chanfreaus’ publishers abroad can be found on the title’s webpage.

Both Éditions Milan and Alma littera are familiar with the best children’s literature from Finland, as both publishers also share another title from the HLA’s list, a Finlandia Junior winner Radio Popov, by Anja Portin.

Alma littera is the biggest publisher in Lithuania, with an extensive list of upmarket and commercial, as well as nonfiction literature for adults, and books for children and young adults.

Éditions Milan has been publishing books for children of various ages for 40 years now. In four decades, the publisher succeeded to build a creative list, which raises a sensible and independent reader.

A Giraffe’s Heart Is Unbelievably Large was the winner of the most prestigious literary award in Finland for children’s & young people’s literature, Finlandia Junior Prize, last year. The title is now also nominated for the Nordic Council Children’s and Young People’s Literature Prize. The title has already sold over 10,000 copies in Finland.

This illustrated novel for the middle grade readers is a tale of longing to be part of a family, to find one’s place in the world, and to be loved as one is. 

Whenever a ten-year-old Vega, who has always lived with her father, tries to ask about her mother, the only answer she gets is mysteries. Once a not-so-nice girlfriend starts dating her father, and Vega gets an unexpected pen pal, she decides to set out on an adventure to find out more about her mother. The book is a superb read for a child alone or for parents and children together.

In Finland, the Chanfreau sisters are also published by Schildts & Söderströms.

Congratulations to the authors!

Pirkko Saisio’s Helsinki Trilogy & Passion sold to the Czech Republic

Breaking news just days before the London Book Fair: the Czech publisher Host has just acquired The Helsinki Trilogy, by the legendary Finnish author Pirkko Saisio, as well as her newest novel Passion (2021).

An almost 1600-page acquisition is no small deed, and the Host’s publisher Nikola Kochová is excited about going big on Finnish literature:

“We are very happy to finally publish The Helsinki Trilogy by Pirkko Saisio, and also her newest novel Passion. These literary gems catch readers from the first words and tell great stories in such an extraordinary way.”

Host is the 6th foreign publisher to be won over by Saisio’s classic trilogy: last autumn, the American publisher Two Lines Press, who will be publishing the third part of the trilogy, The Red Book of Farewells (translated by Mia Spangenberg), also acquired the other two titles: The Lowest Common Multiple (1988) and The Backlight (2000).

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

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 for her bestselling novel Passion – a color-saturated, Tarkovskian chronicle of Europe.

Check out our recent Author in Focus newsletter and learn more about Saisio’s work!

We’ll Just Ride Past and A Giraffe’s Heart nominated for the Nordic Council Children’s and Young People’s Literature Prize

Fantastic news has reached us from Oslo: fourteen Nordic picture books, children’s books and youth novels have been nominated for the 2023 Nordic Council Children and Young People’s Literature Prize, and two HLA’s titles are on the list. Ellen Strömberg’s YA novel We’ll Just Ride Past is a nominee from Finland, and A Giraffe’s Heart is Unbelievably Large by sisters Sofia and Amanda Chanfreau is a nominee from Åland.

As the Council sums up, this year’s nominees “offer us timeless and life-affirming adventures where diversity is not a message in itself, but a premise that strengthens the credibility of the story”.

The winner will be announced in Oslo on 31 October.

We’ll Just Ride Past (2022)

We’ll Just Ride Past, published jointly by Schildts & Söderströms in Finland and Rabén & Sjögren in Sweden, was praised by the jury for its “sincere, believable rendering of the teenage girls’ existence”. The jury has stated:

“Strömberg’s sparkling prose is crystal clear, and Manda’s narrative voice clearly rendered. With impressive confidence, Strömberg captures the high-spirited dreams of the girls’ approaching adolescence, which stand in stark contrast with the prosaic bleakness of their day-to-day life. We’ll Just Ride Past is bursting with life and longing, showing the continued relevance of realist young people’s novels.”

Foreign rights of the novel have been sold to Italy and Korea.

Ellen Strömberg (b. 1987) is an award-winning Finnish-Swedish author who writes for children and young people, as well as for adults. She made her debut in 2018 with the novel Chasing Water (2018). We’ll Just Ride Past, her first young people’s novel, was nominated for the Finlandia Prize for Children’s and Young People’s Literature and won the August Prize for the Swedish Children’s and Young People’s Book of the Year in 2022.

Don’t forget to check out our Literature from Finland podcast episode YOUTH, where Strömberg discussed the novel and writing for young people.

A Giraffe’s Heart is Unbelievably Large, HLA’s hottest title this season, already sold to 10 foreign territories, impressed the jury with timelessness of the adventure and with Amanda Chanfreau’s detailed pencil illustrations, “reminiscent of both the imaginative fairy-tale world of Swedish illustrator Hans Arnold and the whimsical illustrations of picture book creator Sven Nordqvist“. The jury continued:

A Giraffe’s Heart is Unbelievably Large (2022)

“The book also hints at Michael Ende’s classic fantasy adventure Den oändliga historien (…). Even as the Chanfreau sisters’ work overflows with imagination, in its text and images you can still recognise Åland and the city of Mariehamn. The illustrations, which offer a bird’s-eye view of the Åland Islands, where the fantasy animal flies on albatrosses, come across as both realistic and magical. The fantasy elements make this a multi-faceted story and pave the way for children and adults to interpret the book in different ways.”

A Giraffe’s Heart won the most prestigious literary award in Finland, Finlandia Prize, in the category of children’s and YA books, and was also nominated for the Runeberg Junior Prize. The title has already sold over 10,000 copies in Finland.

In Finland, the Chanfreau sisters are also published by Schildts & Söderströms.

Congratulations to the authors, and fingers crossed!

101 Ways to Kill Your Husband and Skeleton among the most beautiful books of 2022

Each year, the Finnish Book Art Committee selects the most beautiful books published in Finland during the previous year. One title is awarded as the Year’s Most Beautiful Book, and others, organised according to their categories, receive honorary mentions.

We are happy to share that two books from HLA’s list have been selected among the year’s most beautiful books. 101 Ways to Kill Your Husband, written by the author duo Laura Lindstedt & Sinikka Vuola, received an honorary mention in the fiction category, and Skeleton, written by Malin Klingenberg and illustrated by Maria Sann, was among the selected in the category of children’s & YA books.

101 Ways to Kill Your Husband (2022)

101 Ways to Kill Your Husband is an Oulipo-inspired murder mystery, published in 2022 by Siltala. The title is a result of experimentations with form and language, as well as strong interest in feminist issues – themes that have been a high priority for both authors throughout their respective careers. A literary piece of sheer joy and fascination for readers, writers and translators alike, 101 Ways… has definitely caught the attention of the Finnish and foreign audiences alike.

The French rights have been sold to Gallimard; moreover, our Literature from Finland podcast episode EXPERIMENT, where authors discussed the title, has been among the most popular this season!

The book begins with a real-life story: in October 1981, Anja B. from Finland took a shotgun to her Norwegian husband Thorvald’s chest and fired. He died immediately. On the 5th of May 1983 history was made as the District Court of Oslo not only released her from the murder charges but found her late husband guilty because of the physical abuse he had inflicted on her for years.

In the title, the case has shapeshifted to 101 variations, written using different methods and various narrative styles that are in turn witty, surprising, touching, skilful, or garnished with a dose of gallows humour.

Skeleton (2023)

Skeleton is a new picture book by the beloved children’s author Malin Klingenberg, who made her name abroad with her successful and cheeky book The Secret Life of Farts (2019).

Skeleton, on its part, is a tenderly told story about a child overcoming his fears while learning what each of us is made of.

When a host of a costume party shows up as a skeleton, Teo cannot think of anything scarier. But when Teo trips over and breaks a bone, it turns out, he too, has a skeleton inside him! He is frightened, but quickly learns that sometimes, parts of us break and need to be fixed with a cast.

Congratulations to all the authors and their book designers!