Season’s greetings from the HLA Team

Dear friends,

What a wonderful year it has been, thank you all! It is now time to get into the festive spirit, and have a well-deserved restful holiday: Helsinki Literary Agency will be closed on week 52, and will reopen in January 2024.

Wishing you a lovely festive season, and very much looking forward to a brilliant 2024,

Viivi & the HLA Team

Krohn’s The Pelican’s New Clothes and Mathematical Creatures sold to Denmark

Leena Krohn’s The Pelican’s New Clothes and Mathematical Creatures have been acquired in a two-book deal for the Danish rights by Jensen & Dalgaard.

Stunning news for our fiction list: Leena Krohn’s The Pelican’s New Clothes and Mathematical Creatures are travelling to Denmark, where they will be published by Jensen & Dalgaard.

In The Pelican’s New Clothes, a pelican lands on a beach and becomes fascinated by the way humans live. The bird dresses like a human, gets an apartment, finds work at the opera, falls in love, lives just like anyone else. Grown-ups don’t notice anything, but children see right through the pelican’s disguise. Before long, the pelican meets its neighbor, ten-year-old Emil, who has recently moved to the city with his mother. Emil comes to serve as the pelican’s guide into the world of humans. 

Originally published in 1976, The Pelican’s New Clothes is a classic of Finnish children’s literature: an enchanting fantasy adventure touching to readers of all ages. It is a story of two strangers who meet in the big city and become friends, a story of dreams, disappointments, and joy. The Pelican’s New Clothes has been translated into fourteen languages and adapted for the screen as a full-length movie.

Mathematical Creatures, or Shared Dreams is a collection of twelve short, fantastical stories exploring the basis of human identity and human choices, knowledge and ignorance, mortality and immortality.

The narrator delves in the questions of visible reality and existence. Around her, there are strange creatures, such as gorgonoids, tubanide, pacmantis and lissajoune, which look like aliens and act as if they were from science fiction. Instead, they simulate certain physiological principles of the earth. And when the narrator compares a gorgonoid with a human, the underlying question is if spirit is just a mathematical equation.

Mathematical Creatures, or Shared Dreams was awarded Finland’s most important literary award, Finlandia Prize.

Jensen & Dalgaard is a beautiful Danish independent publishing house that publishes books for both adults and children, with a particular eye for unusual themes and literary perspectives. They are the Danish home of other HLA titles like Heavensong by Pauliina Rauhala, Matara by Matias Riikonen and REC by Marisha Rasi-Koskinen among others.

Warmest congratulations!

The Book of Misty Trees travels to Estonia

The Book of Misty Trees by award-winning and best-selling author Anja Portin has been sold to Estonia, where it will be published by Uhinenud Ajakirjad, marking the first foreign deal for this title.

Fantastic news for our children’s list: The Book of Misty Trees by Anja Portin, the author of award-winning and international bestseller Radio Popov, is travelling to Estonia where it will be published by Uhinenud Ajakirjad.

The Book of Misty Trees (Sumupuiden kirja, 2023)

The Book of Misty Trees follows Magda Murkbird as she loses her mother in a horrible accident and needs to learn to cope on her own. Luckily, she is not all alone but has Chestnut – the best dog on earth. In fact, it is thanks to Chestnut that Magda has survived unscathed. The two set off on a journey to look for Magda’s aunt she has never met, and on the way they get lost in a mysterious thick fog covering the peak of the Misty Mountain. 

Thus begins an unforgettable adventure in a world governed by Misty Trees, above all the eldest of them, the fountain of all living, the enormous Everbark.  Nothing and no one is what they seem, but will Magda find what she is looking for?

A classic adventure book with a environmentally conscious twist, The Book of Misty Trees takes readers on an epic journey into a new world where people and nature rely on each other to survive and thrive.

Uhinenud Ajakirjad is an Estonian publishing house that is home to many well-loved Finnish books like A Giraffe’s Heart Is Unbelievably Large and Radio Popov.

Warm congratulations to the author, and don’t miss out on this title!

Close Your Eyes, Iris sold to Turkey

Close Your Eyes, Iris by authors Anna Sofia Urrila, Henna Kaisa Wigren, Kirsi-Marja Zitting and illustrator Virpi Kaarina Talvitie is celebrating its first foreign deal and travelling to Turkey.

Close Your Eyes, Iris (Silmät kiinni, Silmu!, 2019)

Fantastic news for our children’s list: Close Your Eyes, Iris is travelling to Turkey, where it will be published by Hayalkurdu Kitap, a Turkish publishing house specialising in children’s literature.

Close your Eyes, Iris is an easy-to-read book about the fascinating and still largely unknown world of sleep. Many exciting aspects of sleep receive a child-level explanation which will also interest adult readers.

Do also jellyfish sleep, and how, as they don’t have brains or eyes? How can bears sleep all winter? How do sleep and sleeplessness affect the human body? And why is it sometimes really difficult to wake up? Close Your Eyes, Iris answers all these question in an entertaining and clear style, and with adorable and colourful illustrations.

Warm congratulations to the authors, and don’t miss out on this title!

Juhani Karila enchants the English-speaking world

Juhani Karila has earned a spot in literature rankings of this year’s best translated works across the English-speaking world. His latest novel has been published in English by Pushkin Press for the UK with the title Summer Fishing in Lapland, and by Restless Books for the US with the title Fishing For the Little Pike.

Author Juhani Karila

Stunning news for our author Juhani Karila: his latest novel has taken the English-speaking world by storm and has earned a spot in several rankings of this year’s best translated works. Karila’s novel is out with Pushkin Press as Summer Fishing in Lapland in the UK and as Fishing for the Little Pike with Restless Books in the US.

On the British newspaper Daily Mail, literary critic Jamie Buxton has picked Summer Fishing in Lapland (Pushkin) as the book of the year. Buxton stated as follows: “I loved this off-kilter tale of myth and mundanity — a deep dive into a morass of Finnish folklore and small-town life. A coming-home story and a coming-to-terms story of grief and monsters, as Elina must face down old transgressions to catch a pike and save a life.”

On World Literature Today magazine, Michelle Johnson has featured Karila’s Fishing For the Little Pike in the 75 Notable Translations 2023 list. Karila is in the excellent company of, among others, Nobel-prize winners Annie Ernaux and Jon Fosse, and of fellow Finnish author Pirkko Saisio.

World Literature Today Magazine list of the 75 Notable Translations of 2023

Fishing For the Little Pike also earned a spot on the EuropeNow literary journal, where it is featured in the 2023 Favorite Books in Translation list. Also featured in the list are Jon Fosse’s A Shining, Dino Buzzati’s The Stronghold and Arto Paasilinna’s The Year of the Hare.

literary journal EuropeNow’s 2023 Favorite Books in Translation

Fishing For the Little Pike, which is Karila’s debut novel, has been a literary sensation since its publication in 2019 by Finnish publisher Siltala. The rights have been sold to 17 territories, and the book has been adapted into a theatre play in Finland.

Warm congratulations to the author and the publishers!