Fantastic news for our author Niillas Holmberg: he has been awarded the Eino Leino Prize 2023.
The Eino Leino Prize, established in 1956, is a yearly prize awarded to top-notch writers with a specific focus on poetry. The jury has chosen Holmberg as this year’s winner for his merits as multilingual poet and political activist:
“Niillas Holmberg keeps his native language alive and contributes to its growth. He writes about nature and globalization with great insight, describing things that no other language has words for. His multilingualism is for him an advantage and it enriches both of the languages he uses“.
Holmberg’s engagement in political and environmental questions is also praised as an example of art being at the service of activism without being dependent on it: Holmberg’s love for his home landscapes shines through in a way that captures the reader.
Niillas Holmberg is a Sami author, poet, musician, actor, and cultural and environmental activist living in his native Utsjoki, in Lapland. His works have been praised for their multilingualism, originality and their portrayal of Sami culture.
Underfoot, his collection of poems that explores the connection between people and earth, was praised both in Finland and abroad, and has been sold to Estonia and Germany.
Halla Helle, his debut novel, portrays a young man from Southern Finland, Samu, and his fascination with Elle, a Lappish artist, that prompts him to travel to Lapland. The book has been praised for its compelling style and it is also the first novel published in decades that is written by a Sámi author dealing with Sámi identity and culture. The rights have been sold to France, where it will be published by Éditions du Seuil.
Warm congratulations to the author!