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

German rights for Matara sold

Happy news for one of the highlights on HLA’s list: novel Matara by Matias Riikonen has now been sold to Karl Rauch Verlag in Germany.

Karl Rauch Verlag is a literary house that prouds itself for publishing classics such as Don Quijote and The Little Prince in German, as well as modern fiction of high literary quality.

This is the fourth foreign rights deal for the novel, which has previously been sold France, Hungary and Denmark.

Matara (2021)

Matara is a story about boys’ games gone an inch too seriously. In the novel, 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.

The novel has indeed been on a splendid success journey since its publication in autumn 2021: it was nominated for the most prestigious literary award in Finland, Finlandia Prize, and won the Torch-Bearer Prize; the novel was also nominated for another prestigious award, the Runeberg Prize.

Don’t forget to check out the short interview with the author!

Congratulations to the author for this wonderful deal!

Nostalgia by Antto Vihma awarded the State Award for Information Publication

Wonderful news in the nonfiction department: Nostalgia – Theory and Practice by Antto Vihma received the State Award for Information Publication, one of the most important accolades for nonfiction in Finland.

The jury stated about the work:

Antto Vihma. Photo: Miikka Pirinen

In his book Nostalgia – Theory and Practice, Antto Vihma introduces to us modern nostalgia in the Western context. All the way through the history of this phenomenon, the author goes on to explore the connection between present day populism and nostalgia using four recent textbook examples: Brexit; the German AfD party; Donald Trump; as well as the Finnish “True Finns” party. (…)

Vihma doesn’t give in to straightforward and simplified solutions and helps the reader realise just how enchanting and appealing nostalgia is, and how it can be used as a fuel for achieving various goals. At the same time, the author, for example, offers an extraordinary explanation to the question that so many have pondered for years: why some of us are susceptible to conspiracy theories than others? (…)

Nostalgia (2021)

The book encourages thoughts that stay with the reader for a long time after closing the book and become recognisable in different situations, proving that nostalgia is everywhere.”

The State Award for Information Publication has been given out yearly since 1968. The number of recipients varies every year and nominations are primarily given to fiction and nonfiction books, radio and TV programmes and newspapers articles that had the most significant contribution to the information publication during the previous year. The amount of each award is 15,000 euros, except for the lifelong award (20,000 euros).

Congratulations to the author!

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!

France a leading acquiring market for HLA books

For many years, France and the French world were considered to be a rather difficult market for translated titles to break in. Well, it is no more: in fact, in the last couple of years the French world has become a leading market for HLA’s books, acquiring the majority of adult titles on our current list, some of them in auction or pre-empt.

The Red Book of Farewells (2003)

One of the biggest deals recently made remains Pirkko Saisio’s autofictional trilogy, that was sold in pre-empt to Robert Laffont last autumn. The French translation of the first book in the trilogy, The Lowest Common Multiple (1998), is expected to be launched next year.

The French are not shying away from more challenging and longer in volume titles either: Marisha Rasi-Koskinen’s Lynchian masterpiece REC was acquired by Payot & Rivages, and Niillas Holmerg‘s novel Halla Helle, focusing on indigenous Sámi people, was acquired by Éditions du Seuil.

Probably the most experimental title on HLA’s list, 101 Ways to Kill Your Husband by the author duo Laura Lindstedt and Sinikka Vuola was also sold to France recently: the publisher will be Gallimard.

Finland also seems to be the country for the “golden middle” of publishing known as upmarket literary fiction: titles that are of high literary value, but also accessible for wide audiences and having the potential of becoming bestsellers.

Matara (2021)

A great example of such title is Matara, the lauded and awarded new novel by Matias Riikonen, which was acquired in auction by one of the most prestigious literary publishing houses in France, Éditions Bourgois.

Another upmarket literary title, the eclectic and stunning debut full of dark humour To My Brother by author E. L. Karhu, will be soon published in the French language world by the beautiful La Peuplade.

A year ago, Anni Kytömäki’s three novels – Goldheart (2014); The Stone Weaver (2017); and the Finlandia winner Margarita (2020) – also found a beautiful home in France: all three books will be published by Rue de l’échiquier.

The interest in commercial titles from Finland is also growing speedily and once again, the French language market is the proof of that: Ann-Christin Antell, who only at the beginning of the summer joined HLA’s list with her historical romance trilogy Cotton Mill, was immediately noticed by Marabout, the imprint of Hachette, the biggest publisher in France and the third biggest publishing group in the world. The stunning deal for all three books in the trilogy was closed in July.

Radio Popov (2020)

Finally, children’s titles are travelling a bit slower; in the last couple of years, only Anja Portin’s Finlandia Junior winner Radio Popov found a home in France: the children’s novel was acquired by Éditions Milan. Foreign rights for this title have been sold to 25 territories, so perhaps the children’s publishers in France just don’t like to take any risks?

All these fantastic deals wouldn’t have been possible without amazing partners in crime: Anna Lindblom from the Nordik Agency and all of the wonderful translators, who keep spreading the word about our books. Thank you!

If you are interested in seeing the materials for any of our titles, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Urtė (urte@helsinkiagency.fi).