Introducing New Authors for Ahlback Agency in Spring 2023!

We are very happy to announce representation of our wonderful new authors for the Spring season and couldn’t be more excited to share their new titles & works below! Welcome to the Ahlback Agency!

FICTION: Erika Vik
NON-FICTION: Asko Känsälä, Maria Katajavuori, Reetta Ranta and Antti Huttunen
CHILDREN’S and YA: Ted Forsström, Reetta Niemelä, Arttu Unkari, Janne Malinen and Mari Kujanpää
ILLUSTRATORS: Eri Shimatsuka, Katri Kirkkopelto, Kai Vaalio

Join us in welcoming our new authors aboard, read more about them and their excellent new titles below and see our Spring 2023 Catalogue here:

View the new Catalogue here!

Erika VikForever With You

Erika Vik is an award-winning author, illustrator and producer of the LANU! Children’s & YA literature festival. Before writing Forever With You,  Vik has written three popular and award-winning YA fantasy titles.

Her first adult novel, a psychological thriller Forever With You takes place in the world of goth rock and dark desires.

Forever With You (Luonasi ikuisesti, Atena, April 2023)

A fast-paced and intensive psychological thriller that takes a deep dive into the brutal world of the music industry. A black, snowless winter hides a mystery on the bleak streets of Helsinki where rock music, obsession and evil love become entwined. Janne Kallamaa is a major Finnish rock star of the 90s who is rejected by his record company. Soon after, the CEO of said company is found dead. Is it suicide or murder? This dark debut thriller asks what we are willing to sacrifice for art.

Photo: Riikka Kantinkoski

Forever With You
Crime & Thrillers

Asko KänsäläLeadership as Mastery

Asko Känsälä is a Finnish business builder and leader with a successful career as deputy CEO in the Finnish market leading telecommunication and digital services company Elisa; coach, investor, and grandfather to 10 grandchildren. He is passionate about inspirational leadership and has worked in manufacturing industry, public administration, banking, and ICT, as well as for four years in Japan.

Leadership as Mastery (Johtajasta mestariksi, Tammi, January 2023)

Asko Känsälä has refined his leadership experience of more than 20 years into a vision of leadership as a craft. Growing up as a leader is like a craftsman’s lifelong path from apprentice to professional.

“Leadership is often thought of as a quality of the individual, but in Asko Känsälä’s book LEADERSHIP AS MASTERY we learn it is more of an art form to be mastered.  We develop to be an exceptional leader through cycles of practice and reflection, just like the mastery of any other complex skill.” – Jeffrey K. Liker, PhD, author of international bestseller The Toyota Way

Photo: Veikko Somerpuro

Leadership as Mastery
General nonfiction

Maria KatajavuoriWhale in a Glass Bowl

Maria Katajavuori is a researcher with one leg in ecology and another in human behavioral studies, writing science by day and popular science by night. She draws together biological and social sciences to understand the nature of our species, producing tools for a more ecological future.

Currently, Katajavuori is located at Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, developing projects on human behavior and working with science-policy interactions of the European Union.

Whale in a Glass Bowl (Valas lasimaljassa, Atena, April 2022)Sensible methods to halt the ecological crisis seem to have failed. We are biological creatures with biological limitations, and without acknowledging those limitations, we are doomed to boil the planet and crush the biodiversity of our world.

Yet, if we fine tune our economic system and decision-making to fit the biology of our species, if we re-design taxation and democracy based on what we know about our evolutionary history, we can fight our destructive tendencies as well as harness the power of our positive tendencies, those of collaboration and prosociality.

Photo: Jon LeirdalWhale in a Glass Bowl
General Nonfiction

Reetta Ranta and Antti HuttunenBack to Nature Finland

Antti Huttunen is a TV producer, non-fiction writer and media entrepreneur. Huttunen is the founder of the Finnish travel website Retkipaikka and has published a number of books tied to the website. He is also the executive producer of Finland, Naturally website. Huttunen has scripted and produced two seasons of Metsien kätkemä (‘Hidden by the Forests’), a TV series about nature tourism in Finland.

Reetta Ranta is a storyteller and media professional. Reetta has worked for more than 20 years in media with several startups and media companies including Rabbit Films, Gutsy Animations, The Finnish Broadcasting Company Yle, and Basso Radio. Reetta is the creator, host and producer of the TV series Metsien kätkemä (‘Hidden by the Forests’), which showcases the gorgeous landscapes of Finnish nature. Her next book about rituals (Rituaalikirja) will be published by SKS Kirjat in Finland in the fall 2023.

Back to Nature Finland (Metsien Kätkemä, Gummerus, 2016)

Back to Nature Finland is a calming, relaxing experience that takes you on a journey throughout Finnish nature, with a touch of ancient wisdom, mythology and local history. A visually stunning slow travel guidebook that introduces Finland’s enchanting nature to an international audience, based on the internationally acclaimed TV show! 

Back to Nature Finland
Personal Growth & Lifestyle

Ted Forsström and Åsa LucanderStella

Ted Forsström is a Finnish-Swedish media personality living in Ostrobothnia. He has worked as a comedian, actor, radio host and author, often as part of the duo Ted & Kaj. Today he works with children’s programs on Svenska Yle and talks once a week in Finland’s biggest Swedish podcast, Ted & Kaj, together with Kaj Korkea-aho.
Åsa Lucander is an Aardman director and designer, working in illustration and animation both in the UK as well as Scandinavia. Originally from Finland, she moved to London in 2001 and in 2015 she joined Aardman Animations in Bristol, where she is now based. With multi-faceted strengths in storytelling, design and animation she loves exploring various creative styles, be it in 2d, stop motion or CGI. Åsa has directed multiple shorts, including her award-winning film Lost Property. Most recently she directed the music video for Coldplay’s track Daddy that has won numerous awards.

Stella (Snälla Stella, Sluta Skälla, Förlaget, March 2023)

A father tries to put his child to bed, but keeps getting interrupted by Stella the dog, who starts barking hysterically. Something unexpected always happens, and the reader is treated to Stella’s lively imaginations: it may be a door opening or a car driving by, but Stella is strongly convinced it’s Grandma coming to give her food, or that squirrels have built a nest in the toaster.

Anyone who has ever tried to bring a child to bed knows how cozy yet fragile the situation is. It requires the right amount of patience and determination. The right bedtime story can be the key to a successful, quiet night.

Photos: Eva Lingon, Karni Arieli

Picture books

Reetta Niemelä and Eri ShimatsukaThe Fox and Silence

Reetta Niemelä is an award-winning children’s author. She has written poetry collections, picture books, nonfiction, study material and many beloved book series for children. For her work, she’s been awarded e.g. Kaarina Helakisa Award and for her nonfiction the Tietopöllö award.  Niemelä’s fantasy novel Black Moon Inn, illustrated by Katri Kirkkopelto, won the Arvid Lydecken Award, was nominated for Finlandia Junior and was selected as the audience favourite.
Eri Shimatsuka is a Helsinki based Japanese designer and a writer. Her designs are inspired from Nordic nature and fragments of everyday life. She designs for different brands in Japan and Finland such as Marimekko and Lapuan Kankurit. She has written many books about Finnish design and everyday life. ‘Kettu ja hiljaisuus’ with Reetta Niemelä (2022) is her first illustrated picture book.

The Fox and Silence (Kettu ja hiljaisuus, Otava, September 2022)

Once upon a time there was a fox the colour of a copper pot. Ithad very long and sensitive ears. Loud noises keep hurting the fox’s ears. It had to dig deeper and deeper into itsden to get to rest its ears. Where does the fox find silence? How would the other creatures in the forest understand that the silence is like a hammock, where one can safely fall asleep?

Photo: Uzi Varon, Eri ShimatsukaThe Fox and Silence
Picture books

Reetta Niemelä and Katri KirkkopeltoBlack Moon Inn

Katri Kirkkopelto is an award-winning artist, illustrator, and art teacher. She has illustrated multiple popular picturebooks and schoolbooks, and her children’s books have also been seen on the theatre stage.

Her works have been nominated for Finlandia Junior in 2016, 2020, and 2022. In 2021 she won the Arvid Lydecken Award together with the writer Reetta Niemelä for Black Moon Inn. Kirkkopelto’s illustrations have been exhibited in Finland and also abroad, e.g. in the biennale in Bratislava.
Black Moon Inn (Mustan kuun majatalo, Lasten Keskus, 2021)

The animal-loving Saimi Salaper and her veterinarian father move to the city of Bluehill to set up a hospital for wild animals there. They buy an old inn where one can hear weird noises behind closed doors, see rare butterflies fly past on the yard, and, at the rooftop, there seems to be… a perch for dragons.

Slowly the house reveals its secrets to Saimi, and soon the Black Moon Inn is open for creatures of the secret folk who seek refuge there: the trolls, the fairies, and many more. But there’s a threat lurking just behind a corner, and the Inn takes both Saimi and the reader on an exciting adventure into the world of the secret folk.


Black Moon Inn

Arttu Unkari and Kai Vaaliothe Dadman series

Arttu Unkari is a teacher from Helsinki and a Master of Education .  He combines his educational background and experience as a teacher in his books – his stories are anarchist and zany, but at the same time the humour often revolves around profound and intriguing concepts such as honesty, obedience, and morality in ways that speak to children in their own language.
Kai Vaalio is an illustrator, comic artist, and a bit of a cosmopolitan as well. He’s written and illustrated underground comic books for adults about his travels in South-East Asia and Latin America — the latter even won Mondo magazine’s Travel book of the year award back in 2014. Recently he’s ventured into the world of illustrating children’s books mainly with Arttu Unkari’s Dadman Series.
Dadman and the Impossible Time Knot (Isämies ja mahdoton aikasolmu, Otava, January 2023)

Dadman is a dad, and a policeman – but he also has a superpower! Too bad his superpower is one shared by almost all dads – an unwavering belief in himself and his own abilities. Dadman truly believes he knows everything and can do anything, but as it goes with most dads, the reality is quite different. And it follows that Dadman’s nine-year-old daughter Oona needs to solve all of the issues herself.

Photos: Jonne Räsänen

Dadman and the Impossible Time Knot

Janne Malinen and Teemu JuhaniSecrets of the Grimhill Sanatorium

Janne Malinen has worked for a long time in communication and as a freelance journalist. He has graduated from University of Helsinki in 2010 with the major in literature. In 2022, he was selected as Communication Consultant of the Year in Finland. The Secrets of the Grimhill Sanatorium: Seven Lily-of-the-Valleys is Malinen’s debut book and the first book of the series.


Teemu Juhani is a Finnish illustrator, comic artist and picture book author whose illustrations have been published in picture books and children’s fiction in over 20 countries. In addition to children’s books Teemu has illustrated magazines and educational material. Originally from the fields and woods of North Karelia, Teemu now lives, works and eats way too many cakes in Helsinki.

Secrets of the Grimhill Sanatorium: the Seven Lily-of-the-Valleys (Seitsemän kielonlehteä, Tammi, 2022)

Oskar is a perfectly average boy living with his parents in the red brick house by the biggest market square in the city. Everything changes when he is diagnosed with a serious illness and sent to the haunting Grimhill Sanatorium.The thoughtful and elaborate opening of a middle-grade trilogy opens the doors to the mysterious Grimhill Sanatorium, where secrets and dangers lurk both on the labyrinthine corridors as well as in the surrounding forest.

Photo: Otto Virtanen

Secrets of the Grimhill Sanatorium: the Seven Lily-of-the-Valleys

Mari Kujanpää: Diary of an Ugly Girl

Mari Kujanpää has studied forestry and library studies. During the days she works as a library manager in the Oripää library, and during the evenings she writes. She has authored multiple children’s novels, and her work Minä and Muro, dealing with school bullying, won the Finlandia Children’s & YA Prize in 2009. Kujanpää enjoys the challenge of writing about topics often perceived as challenging in the lives of children, such as loneliness, bullying, and a grandparent’s memory disorder

Diary of an Ugly Girl (Rumuuspäiväkirja, Otava, April 2023)Malva, age 14, knows she is ugly, and the other pupils remind her of it daily with words and looks. Malva escapes to art and nature. Then along comes Runo, who is passionate about the same things.

Diary of an Ugly Girl is a delicate story about how a bullied girl hating her own reflection slowly recovers from the anxiety of her looks. Everyone who has been insecure about their looks can relate to Malva’s experiences.

Photo: Marjaana Malkamäki

Diary of an Ugly Girl
Young Adults