Critical accolades in the U.S and UK for Emmi Itäranta’s Memory of Water

EmmiUKUSpraiseMay19Emmi Itäranta’s award-winning speculative fiction novel Memory of Water (Teemestarin kirja, Teos 2012) was published earlier this month in the UK by HarperCollins. The U.S edition, meanwhile, will be out on June 10th. On May 31st Itäranta will visit Book Expo America in New York to sign copies of Memory of Water and meet her local fans.

Critical response to the World English debut of Memory of Water has been overwhelmingly positive. In the U.S the novel received a starred review form Publishers Weekly in April (see the review here), and last week Library Journal, a respected industry publication, gave the novel its second starred review. 

“The writing is gorgeous and delicate in this dystopian award-winning debut, which is unique in both its setting and the small scale that Finnish author Itäranta employs. A larger world, with huge problems, is hinted at but not shown. Because the reader stays with the beautifully realized character of Noria and the village she inhabits, the tension is high even though the pacing remains measured.”
Library Journal

Kirkus Reviews, meanwhile, called the book “lyrically rendered, vivid and engaging.”

In the UK, the novel has also earned praise from bloggers and critics:

Memory of Water‘s story deals more in atmosphere than action, but is no less involving for that; Itäranta’s steady piling on of pressure on her protagonist grips, even as her prose soothes.”
SFX science fiction magazine in a four-star review

“One of my favourite things about this book is that those in control of this highly unequal dystopian world are not rubbed in the reader’s face. We’re not shown the houses and cities inhabited by the rich and powerful. What we are shown is Noria’s world, her life and her personal challenges.”
-Booksellers and literary blogger Matt Bialostocki  

Itäranta also recently gave an exclusive interview to Female First in the UK, an online lifestyle and entertainment publication with two million monthly unique visitors. See the interview here.

Memory of Water has so far been published in the Czech Republic by Albatros Media/Plus and in Estonia by Koolibri. The Arabic edition will be published later this spring by Dar Al Muna, while the Spanish edition will be published by Ediciones B. in June. Itäranta is currently writing her independent follow-up, City of Woven Streets.

Set in a dystopian future where water has become a prized commodity, Memory of Water tells the story of 17-year-old Noria who is set to become the next tea master in her village. When her father dies, she assumes the dangerous responsibility of guarding a hidden spring. Will she be able to safeguard this secret, or will it become exposed with disastrous consequences?

WORLD ENGLISH, HarperCollins (2-book deal)
ARABIC, Dar Al Muna
BRAZIL, Record (2-book-deal)
CZECH, Albatros Media/Plus
DENMARK, Turbine
ESTONIA, Koolibri
FRANCE, Place des Editeurs (2-book deal)
GERMANY, DTV/Reihe Hanser
HUNGARY, Metropolis Media (2-book deal)
ITALY, Piemme
JAPAN, Nishimura Shoten (2-book deal)
SPAIN, Ediciones B.
TURKEY, Dogan Egmont

WORLD ENGLISH: HarperCollins
BRAZIL: Record
FRANCE, Place des Editeurs
HUNGARY: Metropolis Media
JAPAN: Nishimura Shoten

Young Aleksis Kivi Prize 2013
Kalevi Jäntti Literary Prize 2012
Teos Fantasy and Sci-Fi Literary Contest 2011
Nominated for the Tähtivaeltaja science fiction award 2013

Original publisher: FINLAND, Teos

Reading material:
English edition
German edition


About author

Emmi Itäranta

Emmi Itäranta (b.1976) holds two MA degrees, one in Drama and another in Creative Writing. Her award-winning debut novel Memory of Water (Teemestarin kirja) was published in Finland in 2012 to great accolades, followed by The Weaver (Kudottujen kujien kaupunki) in 2015. Her latest novel The Moonday Letters (Kuunpäivän kirjeet) was published in September 2020.

Itäranta’s writing has been compared to that of Ursula K. Le Guin. Her honours include the Young Aleksis Kivi Prize 2013, the Kalevi Jäntti Literary Prize 2012 and first place in the Teos Fantasy and Sci-Fi Literary Contest 2011.

Memory of Water has sold to over 25 languages to date, and it has also been nominated for the Philip K. Dick Award, the Arthur C. Clarke Award recognizing the best science fiction novel published in the UK in 2014, and the Golden Tentacle award. In addition, Itäranta has been included on the Honor List of the Otherwise Award (formerly James Tiptree, Jr. Award).

Itäranta’s CV is an eclectic mix of writing-related activities, including stints as a columnist, theatre critic, press officer and dramaturge. Her poems, short stories, articles and essays have appeared in anthologies, film magazines and science fiction magazines in the UK and Finland. She now lives in Finland after 14 years in the United Kingdom.


2020, Fantasy & Science Fiction

The Moonday Letters

Emmi Itäranta

2015, Fantasy & Science Fiction

The Weaver

Emmi Itäranta

2012, Fantasy & Science Fiction

Memory of Water

Emmi Itäranta