Death Comes For The Dead by the author duo Rainio & Rautaheimo has been nominated for the Clew of the Year Award.Even the first book in the series, The Dead Still Speak, received a nomination for the award in 2021.
Death Comes for the Dead is the second volume in the series Mortui non silent series, which follows detective Ville Karila and pathologist Viola Kaario as they solve crimes in a shamelessly nostalgic atmosphere. This time a seemingly impossible case awaits, as the victim has been registered dead ten years prior to the murder. As the noose tightens around the murderer, old secrets are unveiled, and shadows from the past come for the protagonists.
Sari Rainio and Juha Rautaheimo are an author duo based in Helsinki. Rainio is the editorial director of Siltala Publishing, and Rautaheimo has worked as an investigator and investigative lead in the Violent Crimes unit for a total of forty years.
Storm and Light is the beautiful story of the friendship between two children whocouldn’t be more different. It is Ilja Karsikas’ third book, and the nomination comes only a week after Karsikas received an honorary mention for the Rudolf Koivu Prize with his second book, The Unicorn.
Storm and Light is the story of two best friends who couldn’t be more different: one, Storm, dreams of seeing the world, while the other, Light, prefers daydreaming and imagination as means of exploration. Storm and Light is a tender story of friendship and love. The individual stories of the characters interlace, and big questions of love and human connection overlap aphoristically with shared memories of lovely summer day.
The jury have motivated their choice as follows:
“A beautiful little story about two very different friends: one of them dreams of going out into the world, while the other prefers to stay at home. The work, written in a rich and poetic language is a beautiful portrait of differences and their ability to complement each other. Karsikas has written a timeless story about leaving and staying, about deep friendship that draws one back from the ends of the world.”
The Arvid Lydecken Prize has been awarded since 1969 and is assigned to an outstanding children’s book and the winner is chosen by the Finnish Children’s Books Authors’ Association.
Ilja Karsikas (b. 1978) is an illustrator and graphic designer known for his conversation-sparking children’s books. Storm and Light (spring 2023) follows several picture books, including The Unicorn (2022) and Under the Moon (2020), a collaboration with Aki-Pekka Sinikoski. In addition to his visual work, Karsikas creates music and is involved in any number of artistic projects.
Very warm congratulations to Ilja and the other nominees, and fingers crossed!
The best Finnish debut of 2023 – that is, the winner of Helsingin Sanomat Literature Prize – Beasts of the Sea, has reached 20 language areas with its most recents sales to the Czech Paseka, Lithuanian Alma Littera and Albanian Muza, and an offer on the table for the Arabic rights.
In Czech, the beast of the sea has swam to Paseka, the publisher of authors such as Alice Munro, Douglas Stuart, Vladimir Nabokov, Édouard Louis, and Lyudmila Ulitskaya. Paseka, known for its quality translations and emphasis on the graphic design and typesetting of its titles, has published from Finland before quite a few authors, including Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen – a co-nominee for Finlandia Prize with Iida Turpeinen – and Antti Leikas.
In Lithuania, the country’s biggest publishing house Alma Littera will be taking care of Beasts of the Sea. Their publishing house includes a high number of literary names, including Nobel Prize winners Abdulrazak Gurnah, Peter Handke, and Louise Glück. From Finland, Alma Littera has published, among others, novels by Minna Rytisalo and Tommi Kinnunen.
Albanian Muza is a publishing house founded in 2019, with already an interesting list of both fiction, children’s titles and nonfiction. From Finland, Muza has already published a good number of titles, including Mia Kankimäki.
Beasts of the Sea, published in Finland by publishing house S&S, has written Finnish literary history on the international arena, as its rights were quickly sold to a dozen areas with aggressive pre-empts and in heated auctions. The international publishers at the moment are (with an Arabic offer on the table):
In addition to this remarkable success abroad, the novel has already gained three nominations for literary awards, and just a bit over a week ago it took one of them and won the Helsingin Sanomat Literature Prize, given to the best debut of the year.
The novel also is a nominee for Finland’s biggest literary award, the Finlandia Prize, as well as for the Torch-bearer Prize, given to the most internationally potential Finnish novel.
The novel is a science-fueled story of extinctions with a huge marine mammal, Steller’s sea cow, as its protagonist. With her short, concise sentence and the skills of a great storyteller, Turpeinen has created a page-turning literary work is that is hugely topical despite the fact that the events of the novel take place in 18th, 19th and 20th century.
Iida Turpeinen (b. 1987) is a Helsinki-based literary scholar currently writing a dissertation on the intersection of the natural sciences and literature.
Merja Mäki’s novel Before the Birds about Karelian refugees in 1940 became horribly topical with Russia’s attack on Ukraine. Now the novel has gotten its first foreign edition in Sweden – and it is on stage for the first time in Finland.
Before the Birdsby Merja Mäki was published in Swedish translation in mid-October (as Innan fåglarna vänder åter, translated by Mattias Huss) by Historiska Media, a beautiful Lund-based publishing house specialising in history and novel set in historical periods.
Vi Läser (‘We Read’), a literary magazine only focusing on books and literary world, reviewed Mäki’s debut with high praise. Literary critic Yukiko Duke stated that “a couple of years ago this book was all my Finnish friends spoke about, men and women, young and old. It is now easy to understand their enthusiasm. […] It is an incredibly well narrated story of the brutality of the war and the pain of being in exile.”
Also BTJ library magazine praised the novel:
“Mäki’s novel is a great reading experience. The story is extremely well drafted, exciting – what will happen? – and is driven by a language which is as clear as spring water. In an absolutely brilliant way Before the Birds paints a picture of peoples’ fight for life in bad times.”
Out also in audio, the novel (read byactressStina Ekblad), has been collecting glowing reviews, achieving a 4.5/5 rating.
In Finland, Before the Birds has been recently adapted into a play, currently on the scene at the Seinäjoki city theatre, with shows all throughout the winter. The play has been received with critical acclaim, praising both the acting and the fresh choreography of the play.
The title has been sold in addition to Sweden so far also to Ukraine and France. In Finland it has been a bestseller, and it is the winner of the Torch-bearer Prize in 2022. A new book by Mäki, a stand-alone novel set in the same historical setting, will come out in early 2024.
A Wooden Prayer by Antti Hurskainen has been reviewed as “a catechism of our time”: in it, Turtola, a verger in a small community spends his days working wood, talking with the pastor and being a single father to Monika, his five-year-old daughter.
When catastrophe strikes, Turtola is faced with questions larger than life, and tries to follow his personal ethics and choose mercy. The consequences are merciless.
For the Savonia Award six nominees, all remarkable works of literature published over the last 12 months, have been selected from 95 works read by the award committee.