The Kalevi Jäntti Fund for Supporting Young Writers has this year awarded a 15.000 euro prize to Marko Hautala. The jury based its decision on the following grounds:
Marko Hautala (b. 1973, Kauhava) has received the prize for his novel Shrouds (Tammi) (Käärinliinat)
Marko Hautala’s novel takes place in the closed ward of a mental hospital where the protagonist, thirty-year old Mikael Siinto, is assigned as the designated nurse of an elderly male patient. The patient has committed an inexplicable murder, and has since retreated into a strange Egyptian counter-world, haughtily propagating his death cult through eerily hypnotic sermons. Mikael struggles to understand his patient, but due to his own life situation he fails to remain professionally aloof. His colleagues offer no help: dark cynicism dominates the everyday life of the hospital. The reader gradually finds out more about the patient as the old man’s wartime experiences unfold through a series of dramatic flashbacks, presenting one possible explanation for the onset of his disease. However, the writer is too subtle and mature to offer a single cut-and-dried solution.
Marko Hautala shows a masterful grasp of literary technique and his own material. He writes powerful prose where memorable sentences join together to create a stirring vision of life.
The Kalevi Jäntti Fund
The Fund was formed in 1942 by Professor Jalmar Jäntti, chief executive of WSOY, and his wife Hildur Jäntti in memory of their son, who died young. The purpose of the Fund is to promote Finnish literature by supporting and encouraging young writers.