36 URNS by Sirpa Kähkönen now nominated for both the Savonia Literature Prize and Finlandia Prize!

We are very happy to announce that 36 URNS: A History of Being Wrong, the latest title by award-winning author Sirpa Kähkönen, has been nominated for the Savonia Prize 2023!

The prize, worth 12 000 euros, is awarded yearly to an author from the Savonia province for a significant fiction title. The award is funded by the city of Kuopio, and the winner is announced on 12th December.

The jury praised the book saying:

“36 Urns is an autobiographical account of a life lived, of love and being left without it, and of humanity and the lack of it. Kähkönen examines the difficult relationship with her mother with the help of both the history of her family and objects and memories left by her mother. The understanding gathered this way grows to be much larger than the experience of a single person. It talks to whole generations who carry the memories of war, loss, and silence within themselves. Kähkönen’s novel rolls onwards with a breath-taking intensity and the reader can’t help but accept it, thankful for the honesty and wisdom.”

36 URNS is also nominated for the Finlandia Literature Prize, and it has sold close to 10 000 copies in Finland since its publication in August!

Massive congrats, Sirpa!

Download the materials for 36 URNS here!

36 uurnaa – Väärässä olemisen historia
Siltala, August 2023, 267 pp.
Rights sold:
FINLAND: Siltala (orig.)
ESTONIA: Koolibri
Reading materials:
English sample and synopsis
Finnish edition

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