Finlandia Junior Prize nominations for Maresi by Maria Turtschaninoff and My Little Creature by Linda Bondestam & Ulf Stark

Finlandia_Junior_20140611We are beyond thrilled to announce that YA fantasy author Maria Turtschaninoff and the author-illustrator team of Ulf Stark and Linda Bondestam have been nominated for the prestigious Finlandia Junior Prize. Given by the Finnish Book Foundation, the prize is worth 30,000 euros.

Turtschaninoff was nominated for her latest novel Maresi (Schildts & Söderströms 2014), Part I in the Red Abbey Chronicles. Linda Bondestam and Ulf Stark, meanwhile, were nominated for My Little Creature (Min egen lilla liten, Schildts & Söderströms 2014), a picture book about the tragic love between a creature living in the dark and a ray of sunshine. This is the second Finlandia Junior nomination in both Turtschaninoff and Bondestam’s careers. The winner will be announced on November 20th.

Prize jury motivations for Maresi:

“This story of a matriarchal society, a haven for girls who have escaped a stiff and threatening worldview formed by conservative beliefs, is dramatic, skilfully told and appealing to many senses. In this memorable and ferocious suspense fantasy one can also find connections to the realities of women and girls in modern societies. The coming-of-age story of two girls contains many compelling mythical and ritualistic components. Knowledge and learning give the main character power to change the world. A reader begins to feel this sense of will as well.”
– Finlandia Junior Prize 2014 jury

Prize jury motivations for My Little Creature:

“Inside all of us lives a lonely creature who longs for tenderness, love and closeness. My Little Creature is an optimistic story of the way in which caring for someone can bring a spark into one’s life. A grown-up can find layered references in the book, from Plato’s cave to the fairy tale about a ray of sun and a troll. Encountering those different from us, the transitory nature of existence and letting go are themes that appeal to both children and adults. The book’s adorable illustrations play off the peaceful rhythm of the text.”
– Finlandia Junior Prize 2014 jury

About the Red Abbey Chronicles by Maria Turtschaninoff:

Maresi, Book I: The Red Abbey, located on a small island, is a refuge and a haven for girls. One of them is Maresi, a thoughtful and empathetic 13-year-old who fled here from famine and poverty four years ago. She loves learning and books, and spends 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 who has fled her home after seeing her father and uncle bury her sister alive for speaking to a young man. Soon Jai’s father and a crew of hired thugs arrive on the island in an attempt to steal her away, and Maresi is confronted with her worst fears: she can no longer hide in books and words but must be the one who acts.

A prequel to Maresi, Book II (Schildts & Söderströms) will tell the story of the First Sisters, and how they came to flee a harem in the faraway Eastern Lands and eventually establish the Red Abbey.

A sequel to Maresi, Book III (Schildts & Söderströms) will follow Maresi after she leaves the Red Abbey and sets out to establish a school in the oppressed province of Rovas.

Original publisher: FINLAND, Schildts & Söderströms
DENMARK, Turbine
SWEDEN, Berghs

Reading materials: The Red Abbey Chronicles
Book I, Maresi: English sample and synopsis
Full English text available in December
Swedish edition
Book II, sequel to Maresi: English synopsis

RIGHTS SOLD: My Little Creature
Original publisher: FINLAND, Schildts & Söderströms
FINLAND, Teos Publishers (Finnish)
SWEDEN, Berghs

Reading materials: My Little Creature
Full Swedish text
English synopsis