Finnish Cultural Foundation’s grand prize for Sirpa Kähkönen!

We are incredibly thrilled to share the news that our author Sirpa Kähkönen has been awarded the Finnish Cultural Foundation’s grand prize! The 35 000 € prize is awarded for significant cultural contributions, on the eve of the Kalevala Day and the Day of Finnish Culture.

Kähkönen is a talented writer whose works have been nominated for the Finlandia Prize and for the Nordic Council Literary Prize, and her newest novel, THE GREEN CHAMBER, won the prestigious Savonia prize! 

Download the materials for the Green Chamber here! 

The Finnish Cultural Foundation Jury said: 

Sirpa Kähkönen writes about society by writing about people. She describes contemporary questions through historical narrations.

Born in Kuopio in 1964, Sirpa Kähkönen studied literature and history, and worked as an editor prior to setting out as a full-time writer. Her studies provided her with a clear direction: Kähkönen is particularly known as a master of historical novels.

As someone who enjoys digging through newspaper archives, Kähkönen is accomplished at providing the details that make the past come alive. While describing the private sphere and bringing historical events up close, she is able to make her work universal. Through her characters, Kähkönen asks life’s big questions, demanding answers from the reader.

The author has created a world of her own – a Kuopio of times past, which is fictional but true. — Sirpa Kähkönen is characterised by humaneness, being always on the side of the individual.”


Congratulations, Sirpa!


Rights sold:

FINLAND: Otava (orig.)
ESTONIA: Koolibri

Reading material:
English synopsis and sample

About author

Sirpa Kähkönen

Sirpa Kähkönen was born to a family that had been harshly treated by the history of the 1900s. World War II and the Civil War preceding it had wounded her family members and marked them with heavy silence and unspoken words.

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 then the history of Europe, and finally, researching the fate of an individual during times of crisis.

Sirpa Kähkönen lives and works in Helsinki. She constructs her works upon research, using a wide array of archives, newspaper clippings, research material, and contemporary literature. Inspired by microhistorical research tradition, Sirpa writes about how mentalities are formed, and how the immaterial inheritance runs in family lines and in societies.

Sirpa Kähkönen’s historical novel begins where source information ends. It opens the gates to experiencing the past in a sensory way; the characters live out the story as physical, sensual beings.

Sirpa Kähkönen has published thirteen novels of which one (36 Urns: A History of Being Wrong) has won and four others have been nominated for the prestigious Finlandia prize and one has been nominated for the Nordic Council Literature Prize. She has also published three non-fiction titles, one of which was nominated for the Tieto-Finlandia prize for non-fiction literature. In 2022, Kähkönen received the Finnish Cultural Foundation's Grand Prize for significant achievements in culture.

Awards and nominations:

Kirjallisuuden valtionpalkinto 1992 - The State Literary Prize 1992

Savonia-palkinto 1999 - Savonia Prize 1999

Kuopion taiteilijaseuran kirjallisuuden tunnustuspalkinto 2003 - The Kuopio Artist Society's Literary Award 2003

Kiitos kirjasta -mitali 2008 - Thank You for the book medallion 2008

Savon Sanomien Savonmuan Hilima -titteli 2010

Otavan kirjasäätiön Veijo Meri -palkinto 2012 - Otava Literary Fund Veijo Meri Prize 2012

Pro-Finlandia -mitali 2015 - Pro Finlandia Medallion 2015

Suomi-palkinto 2016 - Suomi-Finland Prize 2016 from the Ministry of Education and Culture

Savonia-palkinto 2021 - Savonia Prize 2021

Suomen Kulttuurirahaston suurpalkinto - The Finnish Cultural Foundation's Grand Prize 2021

Finlandia-palkinto 2023 - Finlandia Prize 2023


2023, Literary Fiction

36 Urns: A History of Being Wrong

Sirpa Kähkönen

2021, Literary Fiction

The Green Chamber

Sirpa Kähkönen