Bologna time!

Helsinki Literary Agency will be at the Bologna book fair with its first ever children’s list (take a look here)!

You’ll find us at the Finnish collective stand in hall 21, A69.

See you in a bit!

Anna Kokko starts as a Literary Agent

Anna Kokko (photo: Sakari Saukkonen)

Starting from mid-February 2018, Helsinki Literary Agency will be strengthened by  Literary Agent Anna Kokko (b. 1993) – welcome abroad!

Anna has worked as a freelance editor for the past two years while finishing her master’s degree. She has worked with both fiction and general non-fiction, and she has also translated children’s literature. While working and studying, she has been involved in volunteer journalism, writing about the role of Finnish young adult fiction in Hungary, among other things.

Anna will be attending the London Book Fair: you’ll find us at Helsinki Literary Agency’s stand in the International Rights Centre, table 3h.

Two HLA authors win awards again: Runeberg Prize to Marjo Niemi, Runeberg Junior Prize to Karin Erlandsson

Marjo Niemi’s MOTHER OF ALL LOSSES, described as a frantic monologue about shame, has been awarded with the Runeberg Prize, often considered Finland’s second most important literary prize.

Karin Erlandsson’s THE PEARL FISHER, a children’s novel set in a magical underwater world, has won the Runeberg Junior Prize, given to the best children’s title of the year.

Just in December HLA authors won the biggest literary awards in Finland, Finlandia, also in the fiction and junior categories.



The Mother of All Losses (2017)

MOTHER OF ALL LOSSES is a book about shame. It is a journey back to the main character’s childhood – a journey built inside a frenzied, intense monologue addressed to her mother, about her mother and about everything that has resulted from that early relationship too: her own life and family.

The Runeberg Prize board says the novel “is great literature, set in multiple stages and parallel worlds. By bringing the reader apart from the monologue at times the novel opens up beautifully to new interpretations, and all the performative elements from the relationships to the ones close to us surface from the narration through the skillfully written spoken monologue. Dark humor […] is the genre played on the stage of the novel, and it carries the main character slowly towards a purgative understanding of herself.”

Marjo Niemi (b. 1978) is a Helsinki-based writer, playwright and director. Her debut novel The Run  (2004) was awarded the Tiiliskivi Prize. Her second novel Why the Light? (2008) was shortlisted for the Runeberg Prize. Her third novel, A Cannibal’s Friendship  (2012), provides an intense look at European wealth and guilt. In addition to the novels Niemi has written several plays, contributed to a collaborative fiction work and been a soloist in a spoken word band.

The novel was published by Teos Publishers.


The Pearl Fisher (2017)

THE PEARL FISHER is a story set in a world in which colorful pearls are the most important currency. Miranda is the most skillful pearl fisher of all, and she believes she can find the pearl that everyone wants: the mythical eye gemstone. It’s been said that the one who finds this precious stone will never have to want for anything again, and generation after generation people have left their families to find it.

But when a babbling little girl Syrsa comes along to the hunt the adventure takes suddenly a dangerous turn. In the end Miranda has to decide what she really wants –and what is truly important in life.

The novel was chosen as the winner of a children’s novel competition organized by Schildts & Söderströms Publishers in 2016. The story of the eye gemstone will grow to a four-book series.

Karin Erlandsson (b. 1978) works as a culture reporter in Åland. Her first novel Mink Farm (2014) was shortlisted for the Nordic Council Literature Prize. Misdeed (2016) was her first crime novel, and The Pearl Fisher her first children’s novel.

The novel was published in Swedish by Schildts & Söderströms and in Finnish by Kustantamo S&S.


Runeberg Prize is a prestigeous literary prize named after the Finnish national poet, Johan Ludvig Runeberg. It is one of the most important literary prizes in Finland in addition to the Finlandia Prize.

Helsinki Literary Agency started at the beginning of 2017 as a joint venture of three independent Finnish publishing houses: Gummerus, Teos Publishers and Schildts & Söderströms. The agency’s authors won in December 2017 the biggest literary award in Finland, Finlandia, in both the fiction category (Juha Hurme: THE HEADLAND) and the junior literature category (Sanna Mander: THE LOST KEY).


Estonian rights deals: Hurme and Mazzarella to Varrak

Juha Hurme (photo: Stefan Bremer)


Juha Hurme’s Finlandia Prize winning novel The Headland has been sold in auction to Varrak.

The novel is a fast-paced, smart and humoristic history of Finland from the Big Bang till 1809, has thrilled its audiences in Finland: the current print-run of the title is 100,000 copies.

Varrak is the publisher of such authors as James Joyce, Anthony Burgess, Haruki Murakami and John Updike.



When We Played ‘The Star of Africa’

Merete Mazzarella (photo: Marica Rosengard)

Varrak also acquired the rights to Merete Mazzarella’s When We Played ‘The star of Africa’.

In the book, Mazzarella takes a close look into what it is to be a grandparent and a grandchild, and how the whole is affected by mother-in-laws and daughter-in-laws.

Varrak is the publisher of quality nonfiction authors, for example the big names in history, Eric Hobsbawm, Ian Kershaw and Simon Sebag Montefiore.


Finlandia Prize and Finlandia Junior Prize to HLA authors!

Juha Hurme’s HEADLAND, described as a magnificent cultural history of the world, has won the Finlandia, Finland’s most prestigious literary prize, as the best novel of the year.

Sanna Mander’s THE LOST KEY, a wonderfully illustrated children’s book, has won the Finlandia Junior Prize, given to the best children’s or young adult title of the year.

HEADLAND tells the story of the Finnish peninsula from the Big Bang to the historically important year of 1809. The wildly humorous novel moves at an amazing pace through some billions of years and grows into an open-minded cultural history of the world.

The Finlandia Prize nominations board said that the novel “treats the myth of Finland and the Finns with all the knowledge that our culture contains. A scope of this breadth can only be explored with the magnificently dilettante literary style in which Hurme boldly challenges both the legendary Egon Friedell and Zachris Topelius.’

Juha Hurme (b. 1959) is one of the most original and best-known theatre directors and scriptwriters in Finland. He has directed numerous successful plays to several theatres. His previous four novels were all published wide critical acclaim.

The novel was published by Teos Publishers.

THE LOST KEY is an illustrated children’s book about life in an apartment building. There is a princess in a small room, tired of living in her thousand-room castle. There is a ghost in need of a cleaning lady, a magical merry-go-round in the attic, and a gallery of other curious and intriguing characters. But in which apartment is the lost key?

Described by the nominations board as “a hilarious journey into an apartment building and the lives of its inhabitants, the book also speaks for diversity, without preaching. The words and illustrations work together seamlessly both in Finnish and Swedish. The spreads with their delicious visual details give an experience where everything is in the right place.”

The title was published in Swedish by Schildts & Söderströms and in Finnish by S&S.

Sanna Mander (b. 1980) grew up in Stockholm, Sweden. She  studied graphic design in Helsinki and now lives there with her family. Mander has illustrated children’s and young adult titles published in different countries, and  has also designed textiles, packing, posters and book covers.


Helsinki Literary Agency started at the beginning of this year as a joint venture of three independent Finnish publishing houses: Gummerus, Teos Publishers and Schildts & Söderströms.

The agency has on its list four previous winners of Finlandia Prize: Mikko Rimminen’s RED NOSE DAY (Teos Publishers, 2010) Ulla-Lena Lundberg’s ICE (Schildts & Söderströms, 2012), Riikka Pelo’s OUR EARTHLY LIFE (Teos Publishers, 2013) and Jukka Viikilä’s WATERCOLOURS FROM A SEASIDE CITY (Gummerus, 2016).