German pre-empt and Swedish auction sale for Finlandia 2023 winner 36 URNS by Sirpa Kähkönen – now sold to 5 languages!

We are happy to announce 2 more deals for the Finlandia 2023 winner title 36 URNS: A History of Being Wrong by Sirpa Kähkönen. The Swedish rights have been sold at auction to Lind & Co and the German rights have been pre-empted by Blessing Verlag (Penguin Random House). Both deals were closed by Anna Kappauf at Elina Ahlback Literary Agency.

Lind & Co are one of the bigger independent publishers in Sweden (now partly owned by Storytel) and have already published the author’s previous works. Their authors include contemporary Swedish and international authors as well as classic voices like Leo Tolstoj, Hans Fallada, and Nathalie Sarraute.
Blessing are part of the Penguin Random House Group Germany and publish authors like David Sedaris, Deepti Kapoor, and Emily Itami.

Here is what Sirpa Kähkönen’s new German publisher said about 36 URNS:

In her very intimate and poetically told autofictional work “36 Uurnaa”, Sirpa Kähkönen deals with her mother’s death by trying to understand her mother’s life. During a single sleepless night, the daughter examines their complicated relationship through 36 objects and memories left behind by her mother. The understanding she gains this way is comforting, forgiving and helps her to gain new insights about herself. Kähkönen takes us from Helsinki in the year 2023 to the eastern Finnish province of the 1920s, to the age of wooden houses and steam locomotives, enlighten us on Finland’s conflict-ridden relationship with Russia, sheds light on the development years of the 1970s and finally returns to the present. She connects great history with the history of the so-called little people and slowly approaches a trauma that has overshadowed her family in the form of silence for generations. It is a book for the head and the heart, with universal themes and a lot of light.
– Dr. Silja Maehl, Fiction Editor at Wilhelm Heyne & Blessing Verlag (Penguin Random House Germany)

36 URNS is also nominated for the Runeberg Prize 2024. Over 35,000 copies have been sold in Finland since the book’s publication in August this year and it is currently #3 on the Finnish bestseller charts for printed books. Rights have been sold to 5 languages.

If you are looking for your literary highlight for 2024 – snap up the rights now!

Download the materials for 36 URNS here!

36 uurnaa – Väärässä olemisen historia
Siltala, August 2023, 267 pp.

Rights sold:
FINLAND: Siltala (orig.)
ESTONIA: Koolibri
GERMANY: Blessing Verlag (PRH)
SWEDEN: Lind & Co

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