Antti Hurskainen’s A Wooden Prayer nominated for the Savonia Award

A Wooden Prayer by Antti Hurskainen has received its third award nomination: after being nominated for the Finlandia Prize and the Torch Bearer prize, the title is now a nominee for the Savonia Award.

Thrilling news for our fiction’s list: A Wooden Prayer by Antti Hurskainen has been nominated for the Savonia Award.

A Wooden Prayer (Suntio, 2023)

A Wooden Prayer by Antti Hurskainen has been reviewed as “a catechism of our time”: in it, Turtola, a verger in a small community spends his days working wood, talking with the pastor and being a single father to Monika, his five-year-old daughter.

When catastrophe strikes, Turtola is faced with questions larger than life, and tries to follow his personal ethics and choose mercy. The consequences are merciless.

For the Savonia Award six nominees, all remarkable works of literature published over the last 12 months, have been selected from 95 works read by the award committee.

The nomination comes at a great time for A Wooden Prayer: the book is already a Finlandia Prize nominee, and has been sold to Hungary.

The winner of the Savonia Award will be announced on December 12th.

Congratulations to all nominees, and fingers crossed!

A Giraffe’s Heart Is Unbelievably Large nominated for the IBBY Honour List

Delightful news for our children’s list: A Giraffe’s Heart Is Unbelievably Large has been nominated for the IBBY Honor List 2024.

A Giraffe’s Heart Is Unbelievably Large, original edition

IBBY (International Board on Books for Young People) publishes every other year a list over remarkable children’s and YA literature. The IBBY Honour List gathers book from all over the world, since IBBY is active in 78 countries.

IBBY Finland has nominated 5 works, among which is A Giraffe’s Heart Is Unbelievably Large, running in the category of translation into Finnish, since the work is originally written in Swedish. The translator into Finnish is Outi Menna.

A Giraffe’s Heart is Unbelievably Large by Sofia & Amanda Chanfreau is a multi-awarded international best-seller for children: it won the Finlandia Prize in 2022, and was nominated for the Runeberg Prize the same year. After great success with both the Finnish and Swedish audience here in Finland, it has so far been acquired in 14 countries.

Warm congratulations to the authors (and the translator!) and don’t miss out on this title!

Rudolf Koivu Prize | Honorary mentions to Ilja Karsikas’ The Unicorn and Sanna Mander’s My Teeny-Tiny Witch

Exciting news for our children’s list: Ilja Karsikas and Sanna Mander have both received an honorary mention for the Rudolf Koivu Prize 2023.

© Ilja Karsikas, 2021

Ilja Karsikas was nominated for his book The Unicorn, a stunning narration of family life touching on the topic of alcoholism. The jury have motivated their choice as follows: “Despite the heavy subject matter, the book’s illustrations breathe and bring gentle comfort to the reader. The character of the unicorn is an impressive and memorable illustration.”

Sanna Mander was nominated for her book My Teeny-Tiny Witch, an amusing and visually bubbly work that offers a more forgiving view on difficult feelings we all experience, like anger and disappointment. The jury have motivated their choice as follows: “An apt portrayal of today’s family life after divorce. The character of the mother is wonderfully contemporary in her visual aesthetics.”

Warm congratulations to the authors, and don’t miss out on these titles!

Beasts of the Sea awarded the Helsingin Sanomat Literature Prize

The hot Finnish book of the autumn, Beasts of the Sea by Iida Turpeinen, has been awarded as the best debut of the year.

Beasts of the Sea by Iida Turpeinen has become the literary phenomenon of the autumn not only internationally with sales to 16 areas and offers on the table for 4 more, but also on its home turf, with nominations for Finland’s biggest literary award, the Finlandia Prize, and also the Torch-bearer Prize. The novel, published in September, has sold in Finland so far 10,000 copies in all formats.

Iida Turpeinen at the Helsingin Sanomat Literature Prize award ceremony 16th November 2023.
(Photo: Urpu Strellman)

Helsingin Sanomat Literature Prize is an award worth 15,000 euros given to best debut of the year in all fiction genres. The jury motivated the choice as follows:

“The Steller’s sea cow, which became extinct in 1768, soon after its discovery, […] binds together [in the novel] a group of people from three different centuries. Turpeinen whittles a base of vast background information from the history of science into precision strikes depicting her characters’ most telling moments. At the same time, the novel brings the ecological ruptures and freefall of the entire world to the reader’s skin. The result will move you and have you holding your breath.

Beasts of the Sea (Elolliset, 2023)

As the title states [the Finnish title translates as ‘living creatures’], mankind needs to be seen as a part of Animalia, no better than other species. We know more than other living creatures, but still don’t often act according to that knowledge. From the perspective of natural history, no more than the blink of an eye has passed from the era of the sea cows, and now we ourselves are sowing destruction which in the next blink of an eye may put us next to the vanished species preserved in a museum.

Beasts of the Sea, which so beautifully portrays the vulnerability of its characters, does not leave us without hope. We see that life goes on, always slightly different. The past cannot be brought back, but museums and books will keep it alive. And at its best, a book sweeps its readers to live the past themselves, Turpeinen’s world-class novel does.”

Helsingin Sanomat Literature Prize is given out by Finland’s largest newspaper Helsingin Sanomat. The jury consists of literary critics, journalists and the previous winner of the award: this year, Susanna Hast, who brought home the award in 2022 with her autotheoretical novel Body of Evidence.

The most recent foreign rights news of Beasts of the Sea are here.

Beasts of the Sea pre-empted in Poland by Poznańskie, offers on the table from three other areas

The internationally most successful Finnish language debut ever, Iida Turpeinen’s Beasts of the Sea, has reached 18 areas with its sales to the Polish Wydawnictwo Poznańskie. The novel is also a nominee for three major literary awards in Finland.

The latest publisher for Iida Turpeinen’s debut Beasts of the Sea is Polish Poznanskie, publisher of authors such as Toni Morrison, Anthony Doerr, Abdulrazak Gurnah, Douglas Stuart, and Bernardine Evaristo.

Rights Manager Paulina Surniak from Poznańskie said:

I believe that the huge international interest in Beasts of the Sea is well justified. It’s a gorgeously written, poetic, raw and provocative book that tackles an important subject. How are we connected to other species? How can we live with the understanding that human beings have done so much harm? It has the charm of a traditional narrative, full of adventures, explorers and a sense of wonder, and it combines it with timely questions. I’m thrilled that we’ll be able to include it into our list.

Beasts of the Sea, published in Finland by publishing house S&S, has written Finnish literary history on the international arena, as its rights were quickly sold to a dozen areas with aggressive pre-empts and in heated auctions. Currently, the rights have been sold to 15 areas, with offers on the table for 3 more (Arabic, Catalan and Czech). The international publishers are:

Beasts of the Sea (Elolliset, 2023)

World English, MacLehose and Little, Brown (pre-empted)
German, Fischer (pre-empted)
World French, Autrement (auction)
World Spanish, Seix Barral (pre-empted)
Italy, Neri Pozza (pre-empted)
Dutch, Singel (pre-empted)
Sweden, Albert Bonnier (pre-empted)
Norway, Gyldendal (pre-empted)
Denmark, People’s (pre-empted)
Poland, Poznanskie (pre-empted)
Estonia, Tänapäev
Greece, Ikaros 
Hungary, Polar
Portugal, Porto Editora
Slovenia, Mladinska.

In addition to this remarkable success abroad, the novel has already gained three nominations for literary awards. It is a nominee for Finland’s biggest literary award, the Finlandia Prize, as well as for the Torch-bearer Prize, given to the most internationally potential Finnish novel. It is also a nominee for the Helsingin Sanomat Literature Prize, given to the best debut of the year.

Iida Turpeinen
(Photo: Susanna Kekkonen)

The novel is a science-fueled story of extinctions with a huge marine mammal, Steller’s sea cow, as its protagonist. With her short, concise sentence and the skills of a great storyteller, Turpeinen has created a page-turning literary work is that is hugely topical despite the fact that the events of the novel take place in 18th, 19th and 20th century.

Iida Turpeinen (b. 1987) is a Helsinki-based literary scholar currently writing a dissertation on the intersection of the natural sciences and literature.