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

The Quantum Gnomes and Forest Field Notes nominated for the Botnia Prize

The Quantum Gnomes by Antti Leikas and Forest Field Notes by Johanna Venho and Sanna Pelliccioni are nominated for one of the biggest literature prizes in Finland, the Botnia Prize! They will be competing with 6 other nominees, and the winner will be announced in October.

The Quantum Gnomes (2022)

The jury stated about The Quantum Gnomes:

Although the plot of the thriller travels in the higher-flying spheres of quantum physics and fantasy, testing the limits of suspense literature and speculative fiction, it keeps the reader in its grip. The references to literature, history and human life in general form a whole that has both airiness and warm wisdom. The gnomes of Finnish folklore fit into the story and bring roots and multidimensionality to it, as well as original humor. – – – It is enjoyable to read a text that flows with skill and effort, is light, but deep at the same time.”

Forest Field Notes (2022)

The jury stated about The Forest Field Notes:

“Forest Field Notes is beautiful like a fairytale and multi-layered both in its language and its illustrations. Words and pictures compose a subtle story about the local forest and its meaning. – – – The book takes the perspective of a child and will fascinate young readers as well as adults. It is suitable for several readings and is reminiscent of play and imagination about the enormous power and the importance of man and nature harmonious coexistence is.

Botnia Prize is a literary award given to the best book of the year written by an author who lives or has their roots in North Ostrobothnia. It is one of the biggest Finnish literary awards (15 000 euros), and it recognises no genre nor language limitations.

Congratulations to the authors!

Three HLA authors nominated for the Runeberg Prize

The nominees for the prestigious Runeberg Prize were announced today, and we are thrilled to see three of our authors among them: Niillas Holmberg’s Halla Helle, Anneli Kanto’s The Rat Saint, and Matias Riikonen’s Matara.

Halla Helle is the first novel by the acclaimed Sámi poet Niillas Holmberg that takes the reader into cultural crossroads. It is a story about a young man Samu, who leaves Southern Finland behind and moves to Sápmi. Something strange and powerful is taking him to Utsjoki: Elle Hallala, the best-known Sámi person in Finland, known by her artist alias Halla Helle. She, however, abandons her art, withdraws from the world and moves on an arctic mountain to live her life according to her ancestors. Can Samu, a child of mainstream culture, understand the Sámi symbols and eventually, help the artist heal?

Niillas Holmberg (b. 1990) is an award-winning Sami poet, musician, actor, and cultural and environmental activist living in his native Utsjoki in Lapland. He combines spoken word with singing and joik, traditional chanting, and performs his work with various bands. Halla Helle (2021) is Holmberg’s first novel. The French rights to Halla Helle have been sold to Éditions du Seuil.

The Rat Saint is a sensory, color-saturated novel by Anneli Kanto, a master of historical fiction, in which a brickmaker’s foster daughter grows into an artist. It’s the dawn of the 16th century, and a small village in southern Finland sees the arrival of a curious trio possessing special skills and knowledge: they are church painters in an era when artists were unheard of in the remote north. As the history of the world from Paradise and the Fall to the Final Judgment takes shape on the walls of the church, romance, envy, treachery, and crime occur, and a life reaches a turning point. One story ends and another begins.

Anneli Kanto (b. 1950) is an author and screenwriter. Her debut novel, The Devil, the Count, the Witch, and the Actor (2007), was a well-received Runeberg Prize nominee. Kanto won the Kaarle award for Blood Roses (2008), a novel about the women of the Red Guard during the Finnish civil war. Her novel The Executioner (2015) was awarded the City of Tampere literary prize and nominated for the Torch-Bearer Prize.

In Matara, boys of a summer camp spend their days in the realm they have built: the Republic of Matara. It has a law, a societal structure, plotting for power and bonds between citizens, as any real state. Under the guidance of his older brother, a young boy trains to be a scout. While spying, the pair come upon an enemy camp: war is at hand. Matias Riikonen’s fourth novel takes children seriously in a way few other works have. In Riikonen’s hands, the birdsong-filled woods of early summer and the boys’ violence and tenderness meld into superb, startling literature. At times one forgets one is reading a portrayal of boys at play; at others, one fears one is reading a description of reality.

Matias Riikonen’s (b. 1989) debut novel The Gull with Four Wings (2012) was a nominee for the Helsingin Sanomat Literature Prize. His second novel Grand Fugue and prose notebook Orbit (2017) were Toisinkoinen award nominees and awarded the Kalevi Jäntti Prize. The Night Porter’s Rounds (2019) was a nominee for the Jarkko Laine Prize. Matara (2021) is one of the most anticipated works of 2021.

Runeberg Prize is a prestigious literary prize named after the Finnish national poet, Johan Ludvig Runeberg. It is one of the most important literary awards in Finland, second only to Finlandia Prize. The prize, worth 20,000 euros, is given out in two categories: fiction and children’s books. Matias and Everything that was Far Away by Anja Portin and Sanna Pelliccioni is among the nominees for the Runeberg Junior. The winners will be announced on The Runeberg’s Day, the 5th of February 2022.

Congratulations to all the nominees!