Pirkko Saisio, Iida Rauma, Juhani Karila and more HLA authors praised as “New Classics” by leading women’s magazine in Finland

Pirkko Saisio’s Lowest Common Multiple

Another accolade for several HLA authors: Me naiset, the leading women’s magazine in Finland, published in early June a list of “New Classics” – books produced in the last 15 years that left a mark in the Finnish literary landscape.

Pirkko Saisio’s Helsinki trilogy Lowest Common Multiple; Backlight; and The Red Book of Farewells – is praised for the “wonderful portrayal of how an individual looks at their own past and at the history of their community”. On Saisio’s style, the article goes on to state that “As a story-teller Saisio is in the same league as Nobelist Annie Ernaux“.

Destruction by Iida Rauma

Iida Rauma’s Destruction is featured for its narration of bullying and violence among young people and the scars these events leave on adults. On her style, the article comments that Rauma “doesn’t lecture, but makes readers think”.

Juhani Karila

Juhani Karila’s Fishing for the Little Pike is also on the list, described as both a “traditional and modern” work of art. 101 Ways to Kill Your Husband, by Laura Lindstedt & Sinikka Vuola is also praised for its modernity, which combines stylistic experimentations with a surprisingly successful mix of tragedy and fun.

101 Ways to Kill Your Husband by Laura Lindstedt & Sinikka Vuola

Minna Rytisalo’s Lempi, a gorgeous story of love and jealousy set in Northern Finland in times of war also makes the list, and so does Ulla-Leena Lindberg‘s Ice, a touching family saga, praised for its historical portrait of Finland.

Ice by Ulla-Lenna Lundberg

Antell, Hast and Kyllönen top FILI Book Picks 2023 | Chanfreaus and Strömberg top children’s list

Fantastic news for our authors: Ann-Christin Antell’s Cotton Mill Trilogy, Susanna Hast’s Body of Evidence and Marja Kyllönen’s The Undeparted are at the top of FILI’s Book Picks 2023 for adult fiction! Many other HLA authors, including Merja Mäki’s and her novel Before the Birds, also made the list.

For children’s titles, our beloved A Giraffe’s Heart is Unbelievably Large by Amanda & Sofia Chanfreau tops the list, tightly followed by the endearing and successful YA novel We’ll Just Ride Past, by Ellen Strömberg.

Antell’s The Rival to the Cotton Mill
Hast’s Body of Evidence

This comes at a great time for all these titles: the Cotton Mill Trilogy, a historical romance about three generations of women and their family business, has recently made its 5th foreign sale, and Hast’s Body of Evidence, a startling work of autotheory, has received wide accolade and won the Helsingin Sanomat Literature Prize.

Marja Kyllönen’s The Undeparted, a dark twist on the story of a childless couple, has been awarded the Runeberg Prize, and Merja Mäki’s Before the Birds, a gorgeous story of struggle and hope set in the time of World War II, has been sold to France and Sweden and has been awarded the Torch-Bearer Prize.

Kyllönen’s The Undeparted

A Giraffe’s Heart is Unbelievably Large by Sofia & Amanda Chanfreau has been wildly successful: a Finlandia Junior winner in 2022, its foreign rights have been sold to 14 territories and has received raving reviews. In theYA category, We’ll Just Ride Past, by Ellen Strömberg has been nominated for the 2023 Nordic Council Children and Young People’s Literature Prize and has recently been sold to both Italy and Korea.

Warm congratulations to the authors, and don’t miss out on these titles!


As of September 2023, Viivi Arela will assume the role of CEO at Helsinki Literary Agency, which has built a top-notch catalog of international-caliber literature over the past six years.

Viivi Arela

Helsinki Literary Agency (HLA) will have a new CEO starting on September 1, 2023, when Viivi Arela assumes the role. Arela has worked for HLA as a literary agent since July 2020.

Urpu Strellman, who has led HLA since its founding in 2017, will shift her focus to author relations, catalog development, and generating and strengthening international contacts.

“In the space of a little over six years, Helsinki Literary Agency has grown into an agency that attracts Finnish authors interested in the global market and whom foreign publishers turn to when they’re interested in Finnish literature,” Strellman says. “At this juncture, it’s vital to ensure the skills of every employee be put to the best possible use.”

“The agency is at an interesting stage in its growth; it has a superb catalog and good networks. I’m eager for the opportunity to further develop operations and continue to promote Finnish literature in export,” Arela says.

Anna Baijars, CEO of Gummerus Publishers and chair of the HLA board, notes: “HLA’s operations have expanded significantly, to the point where a reorganization of roles is necessary to reach our new goals. Viivi Arela’s ambitious and entrepreneurial approach will serve the agency well as she helms it into its next stage.”

Arela has previous experience as an entrepreneur and in sales and marketing in the culture sector.

Urtė Liepuoniūtė, who has been a literary agent with HLA since 2019, will take on a new role on June 30, focusing exclusively on HLA’s English-language literature podcast Literature from Finland. The podcast, which Liepuoniūtė has produced and hosted since 2020, has found popularity both internationally and domestically, and plans for new audiovisual content on Finnish literature are in the works.

Additionally, two new team members, literary agent Chiara Stanziani and assistant Anastasia Basova,joined HLA in spring 2023.

Helsinki Literary Agency is a literary agency jointly owned by the publishing houses Gummerus, Schildts & Söderströms, Siltala, and Teos. It counts eleven Finlandia Prize winners and five Finlandia Junior Prize winners among the authors it represents.

More Information:

Urpu Strellman, CEO | urpu@helsinkiagency.fi | +358 40 737 5535
Viivi Arela, literary agent | viivi@helsinkiagency.fi | +358 40 838 5376
Anna Baijars, chair of the HLA board | anna.baijars@gummerus.fi | +358 40 584 0061

Gorilla by Miikka Pörsti & Anne Vasko sold to South Korea

South Korea continues to be enamoured by the Finnish children’s literature: after already acquiring 4 children’s titles from HLA’s list, Korean Studies International has now also bought the Korean language rights for Gorilla, a beautiful picture book written by Miikka Pörsti and illustrated by Anne Vasko.

Gorilla (2020)

KSI is one of the many publishers that HLA agents met during their recent trip to Seoul; the house focuses on publishing children’s picture books that promote self-searching, independence, family love, environment, and diversity, among other themes.

Gorilla is an original, funny and moving picture book about feelings and how to deal with them that stresses the importance of friendship. When little Eino gets upset, he literally fall apart to pieces. Eino doesn’t need much to get sad, and now there is a giant Gorilla too, that beats its chest and frightens Eino even more.

But one day, something happens, and Gorilla itself breaks completely; after that everything changes.

This is the second foreign rights deal for the book; Estonian rights have previously been sold to Elust enesest. In Finland, the title was published by S&S.

Congratulations to the authors!

2 foreign rights sales for Forest Field Notes by Johanna Venho & Sanna Pelliccioni

Beautiful news for beautiful books: Forest Field Notes, a picture book written by Johanna Venho and illustrated by Sanna Pelliccioni, has found two new homes abroad, as Vlassis Bros will be publishing it in Greece, and Gato Sueco in the Spanish World.

Gato Sueco is a well-known children’s publisher in Spain, that focuses on titles from the Nordic countries. As the publisher states on their website, “we do not believe that children’s literature has to educate, but rather ask questions, generate reflections and, of course, encourage children to have fun.”

Forest Field Notes (2022)

Vlassis Bros was founded in 1964. Its main publishing fields used to be classic literature for adults, history and self-help books. Since 1998, its publishing focus turned towards children books starting with editing and publishing picture books with stories written by a classic Greek author, Gregorios Xenopoulos.

Forest Field Notes is a tender, magical story of the forest and the imagination that can be awakened by nature. It was nominated for the Botnia Prize 2022. The book about the importance of nature in our own surroundings will gain a companion, Travel Field Notes, in 2023. This new addition will guide readers on a rail journey to protect the environment.

The book’s publisher in Finland is Teos.

Congratulations to the authors!