Antti Hurskainen’s A Wooden Prayer nominated for the Finlandia Prize

In Hurskainen’s third novel, a man of faith does an act of mercy and faces the consequences.

One of the six nominees for Finland’s biggest literary award, the Finlandia Prize, is Antti Hurskainen’s novel A Wooden Prayer. The novel tells about a verger, a man of faith, and a single father to a five-year-old girl. Unique in its profound and powerful ethos, the novel has been received in Finland with praising reviews.

A Wooden Prayer (2023)

Finlandia Prize jury stated :
“Faith, hope and love are elemental in Christian doctrine but seldom examined in contemporary literature. This novel is brave enough to not shy away from them and to question the workaday Lutheran attitude to faith. The novel is an exceptionally passionate story about the steadfast faith of a person that radiates into their everyday actions. Hurskainen’s language is as sharp as the main character’s thinking.”

Other reviews of the novel include, among others, the following characterizations:

“Intellectually stimulating novel glows with negativity. […] A Wooden Prayer is a harsh novel that has little regard for curling into an armchair.”
Helsingin Sanomat newspaper

Hurskainen has written a catechism for our time. […] Faith, hope, love, suffering and forgiveness are not just biblical concepts. They are themes that share a link with all human life, and the Bible might work as a useful tool in approaching them. If you can’t be bothered to crack open the Bible, you can at least read A Wooden Prayer.” literature magazine

We are most happy to welcome Antti Hurskainen to the Helsinki Literary Agency, with huge congratulations of the nomination!

Antti Hurskainen (Photo: Laura Malmivaara)
Antti Hurskainen
(Photo: Laura Malmivaara)

Antti Hurskainen (b. 1986) has written four critically acclaimed collections of essays and three novels: 22—A Story About Eating (2019), Withering (2021), and A Wooden Prayer (2023). A Wooden Prayer, lauded by critics, has been nominated for the Torch-bearer Prize as well as Finlandia, the largest literature prize in Finland. His work often deals with literature, popular culture and religion.

Finlandia Prize is Finland’s biggest literary award, given out in three categories: fiction, children’s and young adult literature, and nonfiction. Each award is worth 30,000 euros. The winners will be announced on 30th November.