Author Maria Turtschaninoff has brought YA readers into her historically inspired world of magical realism in Arra (Schildts & Söderströms 2009) and Anaché (Schildts & Söderströms 2012). Her works, which have been nominated for the Finlandia Junior Prize and the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, among other honours, have a distinctively female perspective with strong echoes of Tolkien.
Turtschaninoff is now generating plenty of international excitement with Maresi (Schildts & Söderströms 2014), the first entry in a planned trilogy entitled The Red Monastery Chronicles. The book was a standout hit at the Bologna Book Fair last week, with publishers worldwide requesting manuscripts. Rights have so far been sold to Berghs in Sweden.
Maresi will be published both in Swedish (by Schildts & Söderströms in Finland and Berghs in Sweden) and in Finnish (Tammi) this autumn.
We would also like to take a moment to remind you that the application period for FILI’s translation grants runs until May 1, 2014. Find out more here.
Maresi is set in the Red Monastery, located on a small, southern island, which is a refuge and haven for girls. One of them is Maresi, a 13-year-old with an appetite for learning and books, who fled there from famine and poverty four years ago. She is thoughtful and empathetic, caring for the smallest novices of the monastery and spending her time in the vast library in the House of Knowledge. The dangers of the outside world enter the island in the form of Jai, a girl with a dark past. She has escaped her home after seeing her father and uncle bury her sister alive for speaking to a young man. Soon her father and a crew of hired thugs arrive on the island in an attempt to bring Jai home, and Maresi is confronted with her worst fears: she can no longer she can no longer hide in books and words but must be the one who acts.
About books 2 and 3 in The Red Monastery Chronicles, as told by Maria Turtschaninoff:
“The prequel to MARESI will tell the story of the First Sisters, how they came to flee a harem in the faraway Eastern Lands and eventually found the Red Monastery. It is a dark tale of evil and exploitation of both humans and nature, but also a beautiful story of sisterhood and love in unexpected places. The sequel will tell the story of what happens to Maresi after she leaves the Red Monastery – both the difficulties she encounters as she struggles to set up a school in the oppressed province of Rovas as well as the prejudices she herself has to overcome. It is a story of the difference real knowledge makes in people’s lives and how it can open up windows to the outside world and offer true freedom.”
“I don’t know another storyteller of this calibre. So original, so charged with power, and by such deceptively simple means […] She has the ability to wrench the reader whole-heartedly into the world of the story, and after waking up from the story the reader will have experienced something profound – purgation, catharsis, or something else altogether; something inexplicable and almost ‘sacred’ has happened to the reader, just as happens to the characters in Turtschaninoff’s stories.”
-Translator Marja Kyrö
“Turtschaninoff’s adaptability as a storyteller surprises and delights with each new book. She has a fantastic skill in creating breathtaking new worlds.”
–Savon Sanomat newspaper
Maria Turtschaninoff (b. 1977) has been writing fairy tales since the age of five. She counts Philip Pullman, J.R.R Tolkien, Ursula K. Le Guin and C.S. Lewis among her favourite authors. Turtschaninoff has a Master of Arts in human ecology and works full-time as a writer. She has won the Society of Swedish Literature Prize in 2010 and 2013, and been nominated for the Finlandia Junior Prize in 2009. She was also nominated for the 2014 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award.
Full Swedish text
Finland, Schildts & Söderströms (Swedish)
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