Beasts of the Sea and A Wooden Prayer nominated for the Torch-bearer Prize

Iida Turpeinen and Antti Hurskainen are among the nominees for the title most likely to succeed outside Finland.

Iida Turpeinen‘s exceptional debut Beasts of the Sea has been nominated for the Torch-bearer prize.

The prize jury said about the book:
The history of an animal species that became mythical shortly after its discovery is told through extraordinary human destinies, and the melville-esque sea adventure is combined with a cautionary ecological tale and women’s academic history. Castaways and social circles are as fascinating oddities at the edge of the world as the animals they are looking for. The cosmopolitan protagonists of the debut novel, unique in its content, speak across boundaries of species and language.

Antti Hurskainen‘s stunning novel about faith, guilt and mercy, A Wooden Prayer is one of the six nominees of this prestigious prize.

The jury stated:
Hurskainen’s darkly beautiful book makes one wonder if anyone has the right or the ability to judge one another. The reader ends up examining their own values ​​and choices through embarrassing moral considerations. The book raises questions about the justification of human action, the essence of grace and the order of importance of things. Contemplation of the fundamental quality of humanity and the necessity of reflection are universal.

The Torch-bearer Prize is a literature award given yearly for a title with most potential to succeed internationally. The winner will be announced on December 2nd at the Tampere Book Festival. Earlier winners on HLA’s list are Merja Mäki, Matias Riikonen, Marisha Rasi-Koskinen , Minna Rytisalo and Anni Kytömäki.

Ellen Strömberg’s YA novel nominated for the August Prize

We are just beginning to recover from the whirlwind of the Frankfurt Fair, and now sensational news has reached us from Sweden: We’ll Just Ride Past, the YA novel by Ellen Strömberg is nominated for the prestigious August Prize!

We’ll Just Ride Past (2022)

In We’ll Just Ride Past Strömberg captures the life of ninth-graders in that recognizable phase in life when you have a real drive to be independent and to discover and define your identity, and when friendships have a huge impact on your decisions and desires. Strömberg has a knack for portraying the emotional landscape and world view of young people in a convincing way and she masterfully depicts the anxieties and emotional turmoil teenagers face daily.

The August jury motivated the nomination as follows:

With sensitivity and accuracy [Strömberg] describes the turning point of adolescence, when the fantasies about who you want to be are suddenly put into practice, friendships are put to test and first love feels both alluring and terrifying. With the greatest respect for both her readers and her characters, Ellen Strömberg gives new life to the most iconic motif in youth literature.

Ellen Strömberg (Photo: Nicklas Mattsson)

Ellen Strömberg is a Finnish author writing in Swedish, and her books have garnered praise from critics and readers alike. She lives in Jakobstad in the Ostrobothnia region of Finland. We’ll Just Ride Past is her fourth book.

The August Prize is Sweden’s biggest literary award given to a book published in Sweden and it is awarded annually in three categories: the best novel, the best children’s or YA book, and the best nonfiction book of the year. The winners receive 100,000 SEK and a bronze August statuette.

Congratulations, Ellen!

Pre-publication deal for The Princess Who Did a Runner in Denmark

Happy deal news from Frankfurt: the delightfully anarchist princess story The Princess Who Did a Runner written by Saara Kekäläinen and illustrated by Netta Lehtola has found its home at Straarup & Co. in Denmark.

The Princess Who Did a Runner (2022)

Young princess Leona is expected by her parents to marry a prince and save the kingdom – but Leona is having none of it. She takes a hike and jumps from one fairytale to the next in order to save herself from the age-old burdens that lurk around every corner such as marriage and household chores. A refreshing take on princess tales proves that one can have both self-respect and empathy for others.

Straarup & Co. is a Danish publishing house that publishes books for both children and adults. They have previously acquired the Karin Erlandsson’s novels Home and Night Express and Eva Frantz’s  Mystery of Helmersbruk Manor from HLA’s list.

The Princess Who Did a Runner is not yet published in Finland, and we are very excited for this great start. Congratulations to the authors!

Hotakainen’s The Disciple rises to #2 on the bestseller list in just one week

Kari Hotakainen’s The Disciple, published on 24th August 2022, rose immediately to #2 on the Finnish bestseller list of August. Hotakainen has a long record of hitting the top ten with his novels, with the novel Story topping the list in 2020, and the biography The Unknown Kimi Räikkönen selling over 200,000 copies in Finland and over 100,000 abroad.

The Disciple is a ferocious novel about social exclusion, revenge, and the search for connection. It follows Maria who over the course of three days settles accounts in a fierce way that forces the reader to think about the meaning of life, the problems inherent in a middle-class lifestyle, and the part we play as individuals on the final precipice of an era.

The rhetorical blades of Disciple strike with precision, and a dark, laconic humor sustains the work.
– Helsingin Sanomat newspaper

Hotakainen understands the most interesting thing about revenge is not the reason someone seeks it, its justification. What’s essential is that the revenge-seeker at least momentarily take control of the situation, act on her own terms. Communication is a major value in contemporary society, but those seeking vengeance have lost faith in its redemptive power. Disciple is a statement that has no interest in turning into a conversation – this is one of the remarkable things about it. Although the book is primarily constructed of Maria’s monologues, the text never feels heavy. The end is solid. This may be the best Hotakainen I’ve ever read, or at least the most pugnacious.”
– Suomen Kuvalehti magazine