Beasts of the Sea awarded the Storytel Award

Beasts of the Sea, the record-breaking debut novel by Iida Turpeinen read by Marcus Bäckman on Storytel, is this year’s winner of the Storytel Award in the category literary fiction.

The Storytel Award jury consisted of author and producer Jenni Pääskysaari, screen writer Reeta Ruotsalainen and Evita Lestinen, chief editor of one of Finland’s most popular media. All three share a background in media and literature, and have stated that their decision was unanimous and motivated as follows:

Beasts of the Sea (Elolliset, 2023)

“The work is literature and literary art at its best. In it a skilful, first-class word use is paired with clear thinking and social commentary without being preachy. In and in between the lines there is a huge amount of background research, and the researched information is beautifully woven into the artful prose of the story and the ideas of the main characters.

Three centuries of unfolding narrative does not bow to history or its characters. It holds its grip without gimmickry. Not twists and turns and drama for the sake of twists and turns and drama, but the drama is created by the dialogue between past, present and future that inevitably starts up inside the reader and the listener. The work evokes powerful emotions and thoughts, and not all of them are easy and positive.

Storytel Awards winners

This world-class work is an ode to science, art and the preservation of nature. The climate crisis and the human-induced sixth mass extinction are haunting, as they should be. But alongside the irritation, frustration, anxiety and sadness, there is hope in the listening and reading experience. Awakening and awareness are the first steps on the road to change and action, and that is the path the work guides the audience along.”

The other winners were Rósa & Björk by Satu Rämö (crime), Aleksi from Finland by Tuomas Kyrö (non-fiction), The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid (romance) and “My Amazing Life” by Mandimai Sundberg (children’s).

Beasts of the Sea quickly became the most internationally successful debut from Finland in autumn 2023. It has currently travelled to 22 language territories, and continues to attract attention from critics, publishers and readers all over the world. In the book, the lives of people across three centuries are tied together by Steller’s sea cow, a sirenian mammal lost to extinction. In Finland, the book is published by Kustantamo S&S.

Warmest congratulations to the authors and the publishers!