Ahlback Agency December Newsletter

Happy Holidays! Season’s Greetings and Happy New Year!

”I rather want to be invited to Little Mouse’s Christmas.” – The Times
2017 has been a special year, with Finland celebrating its centenary of independence this month, and we reflect on a fruitful year of bringing Finnish literature to readers, both young and old, around the world.

Forthcoming in 2018

  • FINDING SISU by Katja Pantzar – Hodder (UK, March 2018);
    US title: THE FINNISH WAY: Finding Courage, Wellness, and Happiness through the Power of Sisu – TarcherPerigee (US, June 2018)*”Anyone who enjoyed reading about hygge will surely embrace the simple and life-changing practices that Katja describes…” – Marian Lizzi, Editor-in-Chief, TarcherPerigee
    *cover & title subject to change
  • ONEIRON by Laura Lindstedt – Oneworld Publications (WE, March 2018)
    ”A visionary book.” – Marie Claire Italia
  • THE NIGHTINGALE MURDER by Leena Lehtolainen (Maria Kallio series Book 9) – Amazon Crossing (US, March 2018)

Published in 2017

  • THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO by Jussi Valtonen – Oneworld Publications (UK, November 2017)
    ”Classy and engrossing drama.” – Daily Mail
  • ESCAPE FROM SUNSET GROVE by Minna Lindgren – Pan Macmillan (UK, August 2017)
    ”A Finnish Miss Marple.” – Independent
  • BELOW THE SURFACE (Maria Kallio series Book 8) by Leena Lehtolainen – Amazon Crossing (US, November 2017)
    “Lehtolainen’s crime series has reached cult status already.” – Bunte, Germany
  • CRUEL IS THE NIGHT by Karo Hämäläinen – Soho Press (US, April 2017)
    ”This English-language debut by a prize-winning Finnish author has a great hook . . . [for] readers who enjoy books like L.S. Hilton’s Maestra and Caroline Kepnes’s You, in which the game is the goal.”  – Library Journal 
  • NAONDEL by Maria Turtschaninoff (Book 2 in the Red Abbey Chronicles) + MARESI paperback ed – Pushkin Press (UK, January-April 2017)
    ”Will stay with the reader long after the book is closed.” The Guardian, on Naondel
  • MONSTER NANNY by Tuutikki Tolonen – Houghton Mifflin (US, November 2017)
    ”Imaginative fantasy, and plentiful dialogue makes it prime for reading aloud.” — Booklist
  • AS RED AS BLOOD by Salla Simukka – Crown/PRH (US, January 2017)
    “Limned in stark red, white, and black, this cold, delicate snowflake of a tale sparkles with icy magic.” – Kirkus Reviews, starred review
  • LITTLE MOUSE’S CHRISTMAS by Riikka Jäntti – Scribble/Scribe Publications (WE, October 2017)
    ”Beautifully illustrated … put together with enormous charm.” – The Times

PROMETHEUS AWARD 2017 – Johanna Sinisalo for The Core of the Sun
LUKUVARKAUS AWARD 2017, FINLAND – Salla Simukka for Sisterland
INTERNATIONAL DUBLIN LITERARY AWARD 2018 – Minna Lindren for Escape from Sunset Grove
CILIP CARNEGIE MEDAL 2017 – Maria Turtschaninoff for Maresi
ASTRID LINDGREN AWARD 2017 – Maria Turtschaninoff for Maresi
NORDIC COUNCIL LITERATURE PRIZE 2017 – Laura Lindstedt for Oneiron

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and prosperous New Year!

Jussi Valtonen

Jussi Valtonen (b. 1974) is an author and psychologist from Helsinki. He has studied neuropsychology in the United States and screenwriting in the UK, and has also worked as a science reporter. He has written three novels and a short story collection.

Carried by Wings (Siipien kantamat, Tammi 2007) was given second place in Bonnier’s novel competition, and received a warm reception from both critics and bloggers. In 2014 Valtonen was awarded the Finlandia Prize, the country’s highest-profile literary award, for They Know Not What They Do (He eivät tiedä mitä tekevät, Tammi 2014).

Karo Hämäläinen

Karo Hämäläinen (b. 1976) has two passions: literature and the stock market, and has a 15-year background as an economics reporter. He works as the managing editor managing editor of Parnasso, Finland’s best-known literary publication. Hämäläinen’s novel The Buyout was shortlisted for the Savonia Prize in 2011 and received the Tampere Literary Prize in 2012.

Hämäläinen has studied both in the humanities and in economics. Following stints in Helsinki, Munich and Berlin, he now lives in Tampere, Finland. He is a popular lecturer and guest commentator, and has had his own radio show. In his professional work, he uses Finnish, English, German and Swedish. In his spare time, Hämäläinen likes reading and running; his record marathon time set in 2010 is 3:04:04.

Katja Pantzar

Helsinki-based writer, editor and broadcast journalist Katja Pantzar was born in Finland and raised and educated in Canada. A freelance member of the Finnish public broadcasting company Yle’s news team, Pantzar is a regular contributor to Blue Wings, the in-flight magazine of Finnair and Helsinki correspondent for Monocle 24.

She is the author of three guides to Helsinki: The Hip Guide to Helsinki, Helsinki by Light and 100 Things to Do in Helsinki. Finding Sisu is the first book Pantzar has written that will be published outside of Finland.

Laura Lindstedt

Laura Lindstedt (b. 1976) became a critical darling with her adoption-themed debut novel Scissors (Sakset, Teos 2007), which earned her a nomination for the Finlandia Prize, the country’s most prestigious literary honour. She is currently revising her Ph.D. thesis on French author Nathalie Sarraute. Lindstedt’s second novel Oneiron (Teos 2015) is a work of speculative fiction that takes place in the mysterious moments that follow one’s death. Oneiron has continued Lindstedt’s critical success, earning her the coveted 2015 Finlandia Prize.

Leena Lehtolainen

Leena Lehtolainen is the top female crime author in Finland: her new titles always head straight to #1 on the Finnish bestseller lists.

The 1993 book Ensimmäinen murhani (My First Murder) kicked off Lehtolainen’s first and on-going crime novel series, which has brought an enthusiastically-received female perspective to the male-dominated detective genre through its distinctively down-to-earth heroine Maria Kallio. The Bodyguard Trilogy, meanwhile, stars a New York-trained bodyguard who is fiercely self-sufficient, highly alert to her surroundings, and haunted by horrific violence in her past.

Lehtolainen published her first novel at the age of 12; this work of juvenile fiction appeared in 1976. Leena Lehtolainen has also published outside the crime genre; her book The Charm of Figure Skating was voted sports book of the year 2010 in Finland and A Life in Six Scenes showed her return to literary fiction.

In her free time, Lehtolainen enjoys all kinds of music from 70’s punk to Schubert and Bach – just like Maria Kallio, the heroine of Lehtolainen’s crime novel series. And just as events in the Bodyguard (trilogy take the heroine Hilja Ilveskero all around Europe, Lehtolainen’s own work takes her to book festivals, exhibitions and other events across the globe.




Maria Turtschaninoff


Maria Turtschaninoff is known for crafting lyrical, historically inspired fantasy stories starring strong female protagonists. In addition to J.R.R. Tolkien, she counts Philip Pullman, Ursula K. Le Guin and C.S. Lewis among her favorite authors. She is a two-time winner of the Society of Swedish Literature Prize, a nominee for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, and winner of the 2014 Finlandia Junior Prize. Maria has a Master of Arts in human ecology and works full-time as a writer.

Minna Lindgren

Minna Lindgren (b. 1963) is a freelance journalist and columnist known for her whimsical writing style and fearless approach to topics as strange as opera and death. In addition to novels, she has authored nonfiction books on classical music. In 2009 Lindgren won the Bonnier Journalism Prize for her article entitled “Father’s Death” (“Isän kuolema”).

The fictional Death in Sunset Grove (Kuolema Ehtoolehdossa, Teos 2013) and Escape from Sunset Grove (Ehtoolehdon pakolaiset, Teos 2014) are the first two entries of a mystery trilogy that takes a sharp and satirical look at life inside a retirement home. Both books have been critical and commercial successes, and well-known British-born Finnish director Neil Hardwick is currently working on a film adaptation.

If you enjoy the whodunits of Miss Marple, the sharp quips of Downton Abbey or the playfulness of the bestsellingThe 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out of the Window and Disappeared, you will fall in love with The Sunset Grove Trilogy.

Riikka Jäntti

Riikka Jäntti, a 2003 graduate of Helsinki’s School of Art and Design, now part of Aalto University, is a Helsinki-based illustrator and author who has created art for both nonfiction and fairy tale books for children. Her first children’s book was published in 2005. Beyond Finland her works have been published in Swedish, Danish, Japanese and Chinese.

In her illustrations she uses pen and ink as well as watercolor and gouache. In 2009 Jäntti won the first ever Tieto-Lauri, an award for children’s and juvenile non-fiction, for her illustrations in Viidakkotanssi (Jungle Dance). The book was written by Markku Löytönen about the explorer Rafael Karsten in Ecuador.

Author photo by Veikko Somerpuro.

Salla Simukka

Salla Simukka is the author of the international success story The Snow White Trilogy: rights are sold in 52 territories and in Hollywood. She has written several novels for young readers and her accolades include the Topelius Prize 2013 and the Finland Prize 2013.

Previously Simukka has written book reviews for the newspapers, translated all kinds of texts into Finnish, worked an editor at a literary magazine and as a screenwriter for a popular TV show for young audiences. These days she writes books for young adults and children, and travels the world talking about them.

Tuutikki Tolonen

Tuutikki Tolonen is the author of several acclaimed children’s books, plays and academic articles. For Monster Nanny she received the Arvid Lydecken award. She teaches creative writing and has worked as an editor and reporter at Vinski, Finland’s only literary journal for children. Her inspiration for the Monster Nanny duology sparked during a family breakfast. “My son Leo, then six, said: ‘I heard on the radio yesterday that all moms have to go on vacation and monsters will take their places,” she says.