We are extremely happy to announce that literary fiction author Sirpa Kähkönen has won the Savonia Prize with her new novel THE GREEN CHAMBER!
The jury concludes:
“In the center of The Green Chamber are three 17-year-old youths coming of age in a world where one must conceal their family’s shame and carry responsibility like an adult. The work flows successfully through time and place, from the 1960s Kuopio to Leningrad, to turn of the century St. Petersburg and Terijoki with an eventual return to Kuopio. The narration of time, place and ambiance are magnificent. In The Green Chamber, Kähkönen’s already gorgeous language is at its pinnacle.”
Sirpa Kähkönen is a Finnish novelist and translator. She has published ten novels of which three have been nominated for the prestigious Finlandia prize and one for the Nordic Council prize. She has authored two books for young adults and a non-fiction bestseller ‘Vihan ja rakkauden liekit (Flames of Love and Hatred) that was nominated for the Tieto Finlandia prize.
Born in Kuopio, Kähkönen studied literature and history at the University of Helsinki before working as an editor. She embarked on her literary career in 1991 with Kuu taskussa (Moon in your Pocket) for young adults, publishing her first adult novel Mustat morsiamet (Black Brides, 1998), which earned her the Savonia award in 1999. Her previous work Graniittimies (Granite Man) is a historical novel depicting the lives of young Finns in Soviet times. Initially writing for young adults, she gained popularity in Finland with her ’Kuopio series’ of historical novels.
Mapping out that silence became Sirpa’s work. The first questions that arose were related to her closest circle: what had happened to her beloved grandparents? From her personal sphere the intellectual curiosity widened to touch upon the history of Finland and onwards to the history of Europe, and finally, doing research on the fate of an individual during times of crisis.
THE GREEN CHAMBER by Sirpa Kähkönen
What follows the crushing of dreams? The powerful story takes us from Kuopio in the 1960s to St. Petersburg in the 1910s.
Irene, a florist, has disappeared before Christmas 1964 when the season is at its peak. The owner is worried by the harsh words he has told the girl. But hyacinths need to be delivered to the clients.
Irene has dropped out of school, Jaakko is a barber assistant. There is chemistry between them. Leo, who has just left the army, is thirsting for love.
Young people are looking for their own place. Why is it easier to conquer Space than to love another person?
The English sample is available in January.
THE GREEN CHAMBER
Vihreä sali, Otava, September, 2021, 315 pp.