We are extremely happy to announce that Maria Turtschaninoff has won the 2014 Finlandia Junior Prize, the country’s best-known literary award given to a children’s or YA title, for her literary fantasy novel Maresi (Schildts & Söderströms 2014), Book I in the Red Abbey Chronicles. Given by the Finnish Book Foundation, the prize is worth 30,000 euros.
We warmly congratulate Maria Turtschaninoff, and are thrilled to conquer the world with her and Maresi! Please contact the Agency for the full English manuscript, available on December 1st.
In the prize announcement Maresi was described as:
“Fierce and gentle, violent and tender, poetic and full of action – not one or the other, but both. It instills a sense of will, hope and optimism in a reader and encourages her to walk towards the light without fear.”
Director and writer Johanna Vuoksenmaa, who selected the winner, also said:
”[The book] took me to a place where I had never been. It transported me to a wholly original world with its own rules and didn’t let go. The scents, the sounds, the tastes, the light, the believable images that embraced all the senses and didn’t exist before this book, were left whirling around in my mind long after the story had ended…this exceptionally sharp fantasy novel not only tells a wonderful, wise and exciting story, but it also corrects, in a delightful way, the genre divide of fantasy literature that had remained a bit tilted after Tolkien. Maresi helped me remember that even today there are places in the world in which books aren’t looking for new readers and knowledge isn’t distributed to young, thirsty minds. People’s opportunities to acquire knowledge and to learn are limited, and human rights are suppressed.”
Maria Turtschaninoff (b. 1977) works full-time as a writer. Her sources of inspiration are Diana Wynne Jones, Lloyd Alexander, Philip Pullman, Michael Ende, J.R.R. Tolkien, Ursula K. Le Guin, C.S. Lewis and many others. She has become known for her ability to craft rich, historically inspired worlds that contain elements of mythology and fairy tales. She has been awarded the Society of Swedish Literature Prize twice, and has been nominated for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. In October she was given the Swedish YLE Literature Prize.
About the Red Abbey Chronicles by Maria Turtschaninoff:
Maresi, Book I: The Red Abbey, located on the island of Menos, is a refuge and a community for women and girls. At the Red Abbey everyone is given the freedom to pursue and develop their own talents and areas of interest. Maresi, the main character and narrator, has realized that reading and learning are the two things closest to her heart.
One day Jai, a frightened girl, arrives on the island. It is gradually revealed that Jai is running from her father’s senseless fury; she has seen her sister get buried alive for speaking to a young man, and now her father and a crew of thugs are after her. The bravery of Maresi and her friends is put to the ultimate test when they have to fight to defend both Jai and their community.
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.
RIGHTS SOLD: Maresi
Original publisher: FINLAND, Schildts & Söderströms
Reading materials: The Red Abbey Chronicles
Book I, Maresi: English sample and synopsis
Full English text available December 1st!
Book II, sequel to Maresi: English synopsis