Happy Kalevala Day | Path of Eternal Winter out now

Today is the day: Finland celebrates Kalevala Day in honor of the Finnish national epic, and the wait for another Finnish work deeply rooted in mythology is over: The Path of Eternal Winter by Niilo Sevänen is officially out now.

The Path of Eternal Winter (Ikitalven polku, 2024)

The Path of Eternal Winter has been turning heads since the news of its publication reached the public. Kultuuritoimitus magazine has listed the book in its “Best right now” collection, stating as follows:

Insomnium singer-basist Niilo Sevänen does not shy away from tough challenges in his literary production. His debut novel The Path of Eternal Winter (Gummerus, 2024) is the beginning of an ambitious, interesting fantasy saga. There are authors like J.R.R. Tolkien, Robert E. Howard, George R.R. Martin, Steven Erikson and China Miéville whose level of skill and ambition is easier dreamed than done. […] Sevänen’s debut novel is a chilling and darkly romantic mood piece, which is carried forward with sufficient skill and depth to keep you looking forward to the sequel with great interest.

Sevänen has been interviewed by, among others, Savon Sanomat newspaper and Turun Sanomat newspaper. On Savon Sanomat newspaper, Sevänen commented on his debut and its background:

Author Niilo Sevänen

“My novel has elements of Finnish and Kalevala mythology, but also of German, Italian, Greek and Irish history, for example. Sevänen’s novel has a long backstory. He first dealt with the subject in his short story Winter Gate. In 2007 the novella, which was awarded first prize in the Nova Novella competition, tells the story of how Vikings arrive on a mysterious island in the 800s and unleash something mysterious. Sevänen and his band Insomnium later made a theme album Winter’s Gate based on the same story. The ambitious 40-minute album consisted of a single track. Although Sevänen sneers that the idea initially sounded like commercial suicide, the record company gave the green light. The album, which saw the light of day in 2016, became Insomnium’s most successful to date.

Turun Sanomat newspaper highlights how Sevänen’s background work for the book has part of its roots in his studies in cultural history, and partly in a love for history and mythology that can be traced back to his childhood:

His [Sevänen’s] academic background is also evident in his debut novel, although the author says that he has been interested in history and mythology almost all his life, and in a way these two subjects form the framework of the whole work. The Path of Eternal Winter could trendily be called a historical fantasy novel, as Sevänen uses history and characters mainly as material for interesting plot developments.

We can’t wait for this title to start its journey into the world – congratulations to the publisher and the author, and stay tuned!

Siltala and Teos publishing houses merge

Two of the four owners of Helsinki Literary Agency merge as Siltala Publishing acquires Teos Publishing.

In the merger, Teos sells its publishing business to Siltala. Heikki Herlin, the majority owner of Teos, invests in Siltala, thus becoming one of the main owners of Siltala Publishing alongside its founders Touko Siltala and Aleksi Siltala.

The merger creates an independent, culturally and literarily ambitious alliance of two quality publishers, combining strong publishing expertise with a stable ownership base.

“Siltala and Teos both understand the book industry’s past and present. Together we will be able to influence its future. The joint publishing house will be able to address the needs of both readers and authors in the rapidly changing industry,” says Heikki Herlin, new partner of Siltala.

“In the alliance between Teos and Siltala, editorial ambition will be combined with a vision of the importance of literature and an understanding of the conditions of writers’ work. Heikki Herlin’s strong commitment and cultural determination will open up inspiring new perspectives in the joint development of the two publishing houses,” says publisher Touko Siltala.

Teos will remain an imprint of Siltala Publishing, and the merger will not affect the work of their authors.

Arto Forsten will continue as CEO of Siltala. Heikki Herlin, Jaakko Tapaninen and Nina Paavolainen, former CEO of Teos, will join Siltala as new members of the board.

Touko Siltala (on the left) and Aleksi Siltala (on the right) founded Siltala Publishing in 2008.
Heikki Herlin (in the middle) has been the majority owner of Teos Publishing, founded in 2003.
In the merger, Herlin becomes one of the main owners of Siltala on the side of Touko and Aleksi Siltala.
(Photo: Johanna Haakana)

Siltala Publishing was founded in 2008 by brothers Touko and Aleksi Siltala. Siltala is the publisher of Finlandia Prize-winning authors such as Kari Hotakainen, Pirkko Saisio and Iida Rauma. Siltala is also the Finnish publisher of, for example, David Foster Wallace, César Aira, Lyudmila Ulitskaya, Jonathan Franzen and George Saunders.

Teos Publishing was founded in 2003 by a team of publishing professionals, including the late Silja Hiidenheimo and Niklas Herlin. Its authors include Finlandia Prize-winning authors Juha Hurme, Riikka Pelo, Mikko Rimminen and Leena Krohn. Teos is the Finnish publisher of, for example, Hilary Mantel, Thomas Bernhard, László Krasznahorkai, Jorge Luis Borges and Clarice Lispector.

Helsinki Literary Agency was established in 2017 as a joint venture of publishing houses Gummerus, Schildts & Söderströms and Teos. Siltala became a shareholder in the agency in 2019.

The Book of Misty Trees nominated for the LukuVarkaus Prize

The Book of Misty Trees, the newest book by award-winning and internationally best-selling author Anja Portin, has been nominated for the LukuVarkaus Prize.

The Book of Misty Trees, our newest middle grade book by the internationally successful author of Radio Popov Anja Portin, has been nominated for the LukuVarkaus Prize.

The Book of Misty Trees (Sumupuiden kirja, 2023)

The LukuVarkaus Prize by the Finnish Children’s Book Institute is a nation-wide prize awarded annually to the best children’s book for children under 12 from the previous year. A jury of 4-6 adults selects between 6 and 10 shortlisted books to be judged by the Children’s Jury. The actual winner is selected by a six-member jury of children aged 7-12. The Children’s LukuVarkaus Prize is awarded annually to a Finnish children’s book written in Finnish.

In The Book of Misty Trees, we follow 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. It is the beginning of an adventure into a different world, one where mankind and nature depend on one another to survive, but where danger is lurking in the shadows.

The Book of Misty Trees has already travelled to Estonia and Denmark.

Congratulations to the author and all nominees!

101 Ways to Kill Your Husband nominated for the Nordic Council Literature Prize

101 Ways To Kill Your Husband by Laura Lindstedt & Sinikka Vuola is one of the nominees for this year’s Nordic Council Literature Prize. This Oulipo title has been received with raving reviews in Finland, and sold to Gallimard for World French.

101 Ways to Kill Your Husband by Laura Lindstedt & Sinikka Vuola has been nominated for this year’s Nordic Council Literature Prize. This is absolutely stunning news for this edgy, beautiful Oulipo title, sold to Gallimard for World French and for which a full Swedish translation by Runeberg Prize winner Peter Mickwitz is available.

Sinikka Vuola & Laura Lindstedt

The Nordic Council Literature Prize is a prestigious yearly award founded in 1962 and aiming at fostering interest in the literature and the language of Nordic countries. The jury have motivated the nomination as follows:

“In 1983, the sensationalist Finnish crime magazine Alibi published a news article about Finnish Anja B., who had shot her Norwegian husband, Thorvald. The court in Oslo handed down the historic verdict that the deceased was guilty, since he had abused his wife brutally for years. The decisive witness in the trial was the family’s teenage daughter. 

In their joint work 101 tapaa tappaa aviomies (in English: “101 ways to kill a spouse. A procedural murder mystery”), Laura Lindstedt and Sinikka Vuola create variations of the basic story through 101 styles, thereby illuminating it from different angles and creating different frames for what happened. The result is a delightfully intelligent, surprising, touching, funny, diverse, and Oulipo-inspired cavalcade of methods. The variations used include anagrams, limericks, ballads, sonnets, lullabies, and hyperbole. 

101 Ways To Kill Your Husband (101 tapaa tappaa aviomies, 2022)

The work as a whole shows the violence that Anja is subjected to in its everydayness and immodesty, upsetting the traditional structure of crime novels where the story begins with the death of a young woman. In this work, the violent man dies no fewer than 101 times. 

Laura Lindstedt (phil. mag., born in 1976) is putting the finishing touches to her doctoral thesis on the French author Nathalie Sarraute’s tropisms and the problem of communication. Lindstedt’s second novel, Oneiron – fantasia kuolemanjälkeisistä sekunneista (2015), won the Finlandia Prize and was nominated for the Runeberg Prize and the Nordic Council Literature Prize. The translation rights for her most recent novel, Ystäväni Natalia (2019) (My friend Natalia, Liveright 2021, translated by David Hackston), have been sold to several countries around the world. 

Sinikka Vuola’s (phil. mag., born in 1972) debut poetry collection, Orkesteri jota emme kuule(2007), won the Kalevi Jäntti prize and her debut novel, Replika (2016), was nominated for the Runeberg Prize. Vuola is a member of the Mahdollisen Kirjallisuuden Seura Association, which explores prose methods. She, like Laura Lindstedt, is one of the authors of the procedural collective novel Ihmiskokeita (2016). In addition, she is the editor of the erotic poetry anthology Olet täyttänyt ruumiini tulella (2017). “

In Finland, 101 Ways To Kill Your Husband is published by Siltala.

Congratulations to the authors, and fingers crossed!

Wept Another by Merja Mäki sold to Sweden

Wept Another is travelling to Sweden: Historiska Media, the Swedish publisher of Before the Birds, Mäki’s first novel, will be the Swedish home of this title as well.

Merja Mäki’s newest book has started its journey into the world: Wept Another is now travelling to Sweden, where it will be published by Historiska Media, the publisher of Mäki’s first novel, the Torch Bearer award-winning Before the Birds.

Wept Another (Itki toisenkin, 2024)

Wept Another follows Larja, a young woman from Eastern Karelia. It is 1942, and peace has momentarily descended on this bit of territory recently reclaimed from the Soviets by Finnish troops. Larja has been studying at a teacher training camp and upon her return to her home village she has to come to terms with the fact that nothing is as it was. Her grandmother Matja, the village’s most-respected professional lamenter, is deathly ill, and her little sister Pola carries a secret deep within her heart. Their mother and father, carted off to a gulag years ago, are still missing. As Larja cares for her ailing grandmother, she listens to the messages the trees are sending her on the northern winds and discovers that she too has the gift of wailing. However, it requires great courage to accompany the dead to the other side, and she has been focusing on a career as a teacher. After a Finnish man steps into her life, Larja finds herself again torn between two different worlds. Wept Another is the story of a young woman who has grown up between two cultures on the border of two countries. It is a tale of roots and the ties that bind us, but above all, of the choices that you must make in life.

Historiska Media is a Swedish publishing house based in Lund and specialised in books that deal with history from a variety of different angles. They have published the Swedish edition of Mäki’s Before the Birds, which was an immediate success.

Congratulations to the author and the publisher!