THE RED ROOM by Kaj Korkea-aho nominated for the Nordic Council Literature Prize 2022!

We are thrilled to share the news that Kaj Korkea-aho’s THE RED ROOM has been nominated for the Nordic Council Literature Prize 2022!

The prestigious prize is given annually to a work of literature that meets high literary and artistic standards, written in a Nordic language. The Nordic Council Literature Prize is worth DKK 300,000 (approx. €40 300). The winner of the prize will be announced and the prize awarded on November 1st 2022 in Helsinki. Among the previous winners of the prize are for example the Nobel Laureates Tomas Tranströmer and Eyvind Johnson.

Nordic Council Literary Prize 2022 Motivation:
Korkea-aho’s text unerringly challenges many of our contemporary age’s notions of power and dominance, resoluteness and desire, without imposing pointers or ready-made answers. The novel openly and emphatetically approaches the yearning of its characters and sensitively orbits the enigmatic and contradictory expressions of desire

Request the materials for THE RED ROOM here!

“A young and slightly depressed author and musician grows tired of his poor artist’s life is enticed by the thought of good bargains and shortcuts to happiness. Imagine if someone gave him a nice apartment in exchange for a novel written by him? Our protagonist places a half-serious advert in the local paper and receives a response from a person who appears to be a combination of Hercule Poirot and Mephistopheles.

“We’ll surely come to an agreement,” says Aimo Kangas and suggests that the main character buy his incredible apartment at a price far lower than what’s reasonable. The phrase continues to ring in the narrator’s ears and throughout the story takes on an ever more complicated tone. Come to an agreement?
Alongside the novel’s narrator, the reader tries to relate to the gentle and polite Aimo. It soon becomes clear that he wants our main character to write a book about him and his longing for submission. Is it wrong to wrong to profoundly want to put your life in someone else’s hands and float in a state of powerlessness, free from all responsibility? But Aimo’s soft and sophisticated essence is combined with a manipulative vein that gives the book the air of a thriller.

The red room of the title does not refer to August Strindberg’s monumental work, but a room in an apartment, a chamber for dreams, experience and eventually even abuse. The novel’s main character is drawn to and repelled by this apartment. Together, he tries to repaint the red room white at the same time he continues to meet with Aimo, all the while inconspicuously sliding deeper and deeper into the older man’s mental world.

Kaj Korkea-aho (b. 1983) is a Finland-Swedish author, columnist and a comedian. He has previously published the novels Se till mig som liten är (2009; Look After Me, Who is Little), Gräset är mörkare på andra sidan (2012; The Grass is Darker on the Other Side), and Onda boken (2015; The Evil Book), the last of which has been translated into six languages.”

The Red Room (orig. Röda rummet)
Förlaget M, August 2021

Rights sold: 
FINLAND (in Swedish, orig.): Förlaget M
FINLAND (in Finnish): Otava
SWEDEN: Förlaget M

English sample and synopsis
Swedish edition

About author

Kaj Korkea-aho

Kaj Korkea-aho (b. 1983) is a writer, columnist and a comedian. Moreover, he has a career as an actor and a host in TV and radio. In his varied acting roles, he has often taken a stand for the rights of queer people, and his texts often discuss themes such as growing up, sexual minorities, religious revival communities and literature.

Korkea-aho has published four novels: Se till mig som liten är (God Who Holds The Little Dear) (2009), Gräset är mörkare på andra sidan (The Grass Is Darker on the Other Side) (2012), Onda boken (The Evil Book) (2015) which has been already translated into six languages and sold to Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Germany and Denmark, and now - Röda rummet (The Red Room) (2021). His books have attained wide readership in Finland and have scored several prizes, such as the The Swedish Literary Society’s prize in 2010 and 2013, the Thanks for the Book Award in 2016 and the Längmans Cultural Foundation’s prize in 2018. In 2017, Korkea-aho’s YA book Virala genier (Viral Geniuses) was nominated for the prestigious Finlandia Prize for children’s and young adult’s literature.

Since 2005, together with Ted Forsström, Korkea-aho has created comedy in Swedish for radio, TV and plays, whilst also writing the YA series Zoo! (the basis for the TV series Virala genier). Together, they also run the Ted & Kaj podcast, one of the biggest podcasts in Finland.

Kaj Korkea-aho was born and raised in the small town of Esse in Ostrobothnia, but now lives in Helsinki.


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