A. M. Ollikainen is a pseudonym for a husband-and-wife author duo Aki and Milla Ollikainen. Aki Ollikainen has published three novels and won the Helsingin Sanomat Literature Prize in 2012. He has also been longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and Prix Femina in 2016.Milla Ollikainen has published three crime novels and won Like Publishing and the Finnish Detective Society’s Crime novel writing competition in 2012. The couple lives in Lohja with their two children.
Emmi Pesonen (b.1977) is a Helsinki-based writer, screenwriter and actress. She graduated in 2001 as a Master of Theater Arts and has worked as an actor in several in theaters, movies, and TV series. Pesonen is bilingual (Finnish-Swedish) and she has translated and dramatized Swedish-language plays. She is also the screenwriter of a movie The Violin Player (Violinist, Mjölk Movies), which premiered in Finland in 2018, and has toured successfully at more than 20 film festivals around the world (including Gothenburg, Moscow, Singapore, Kaliningrad). The film deals with power structures in the art world, passion and giving up.
The Most Beautiful Word (Otava, August 2020) is Pesonen’s debut novel. The book tells a story of a patchwork family from the point of view of the new step-mother. It’s a story of endless love, irreversible decision and learning new things. The movie rights have been optioned by Aurora Studios and a film is currently being developed.
Mooses Mentula was born in Tuupovaara, Eastern Finland and grew up in Kuhmo, Kainuu.
From the age of 16 he worked as a journalist for newspapers and radio for several years. He completed his master’s degree in education at the University of Lapland, worked as a journalist and teacher in the north, and moved to Tuusula, where he has lived with his family for 14 years. He works as a headteacher, but writing is his greatest passion.
For Mentula writing means creating worlds of his own and living in them. He strives for intelligence and challenge and aims for a simple surface. Most importantly, all of his books contain hope and warmth. He likes to think of his style similar to J.M. Coetzee and Haruki Murakami. The Others of Us is Mentula’s third novel and some of his works have been translated in German.
Elina Backman, 37, is a media & marketing professional living in Helsinki, in an old wooden 1920 house with a family of 2 kids and a husband. Elina loves books (all sorts), travelling, cycling and is a host of a Book & Wine Club. She is a creative soul with a commercial mind, and her goal is to find readers globally – her dream is a Netflix series based on her novels.
Her debut novel When the King Dies was published in May 2020 and has immediately gained an enormous amount of attention from the Finnish media, including a praising review by the biggest daily newspaper Helsingin Sanomat and becoming an immediate bestseller in Finland with 10,000 copies sold in all formats. When the King Dies has been to-date sold in 11 territories and international TV series is in development.
SARA MEDBERG is a historian currently writing a doctoral dissertation about the education of highborn girls in the 18th century. The ideas for her novels are derived from her research. Medberg enjoys costume dramas, fashion from the past, castles, mansions, shopping and running. Her previous novel Golden Gate Manor (2018, Otava) has sold over 11,000 copies in Finland.
Hanna-Riikka Kuisma (b. 1978) is a writer, art critic and columnist from Pori. Her latest novel, High-Rise, was nominated for the Finlandia Prize, and was awarded the Art Prize of the Satakunta Arts Council in 2019. Block of Flats is Kuisma’s sixth novel.
Kuisma’s works explore the dark sides of modern society and the human mind. The intense atmosphere, black humor and the surgically accurate descriptions are balanced by the colorful visuals and poetic language.
Petri Karra is a writer from Helsinki, who is also known a screenwriter for tv and films. His works are often focused around families, and the circle of life. His debut novel The House of Branching Love (2008) has been made into a feature film, and a tv series based on his novel The Dark Light is currently under production in Finland.
Author photo by Aki Roukala
Mikko-Pekka Heikkinen was born in the Finnish countryside and lives in Helsinki. He works as a journalist, specializing on culture and nature. He has written 5 books and his work, praised for its humor and social satire, has been published also in English and Czech. Two of his novels have been adapted as screenplays and Reindeer Mafia is being made into a TV series.
Anniina Tarasova is a Helsinki storyteller who’s worked in the leadership of a startup. Her family comes from Finland, Karelia, and St. Petersburg—her grandfather and his parents emigrated soon after the Russian Revolution. As an adult, Anniina Tarasova reconnected with Russia, and especially St. Petersburg, during the year-and-ahalf she spent living there. In addition to workplace issues, Tarasova’s interests include startups, coding, and new business ideas. Even the cheesiest self-help books can inspire her, but her real literary influences and favorite books are to be found in other genres: Sujata Massey (Rei Shimura), Helen Fielding (Bridget Jones), Ljudmila Ulitskaja, and Charles Bukowski.
ELINA HIRVONEN is an author of adults’ and children’s prose, a journalist and documentary filmmaker. She has written four highly acclaimed adults’ novels that are at the same time tragic and beautiful. She is also known for her picture book series Princess Rascal, and she is currently writing a middle-grade trilogy – the first book of the series, Julia & P.A.L. will be published in fall 2020.
She has received Kalevi Jäntti Prize, and Nuori Aleksis Prize and has been nominated for Finlandia Prize and Debut Prize.
ARTO HALONEN is a film director and screenwriter, known for his strong socially-conscious stance towards his subjects. He is one of the few people in the world who have ever interviewed the killer Palle Hardrup. KEVIN FRAZIER is a novelist, nonfiction writer, essayist and reviewer who lives in Helsinki. Previous collaborations between Halonen and Frazier include the award-winning Shadow of the Holy Book.
The duo was previously known under the pseudonym Einar Hansen.
Heikki Valkama is an acclaimed journalist who has worked as an editor-in-chief at several Finnish quality magazines. Additionally he has written books about Japan as well as translated from Japanese to Finnish. He grew up in Japan; when he was a teenager, a local yakuza boss tried to marry him off to his daughter. Fugu is his first novel.
Sissi Katz is an ophthalmologist from Helsinki. Elements of her novel, The Amazing Life and Times of Coco Kafka, are inspired by the author’s own life: she has grown epithelial cells of the eye, visited a dye-works in the Negev desert and lived next door to a varan. She is currently working on a second novel.
Leena Parkkinen has authored three prize-winning adults’ novels set in 20th century Europe, often about people living at the margins society. Her skillful use of detail is often imbued with an element of suspense. She has also written two children’s story books.
Parkkinen has received numerous literary awards, such as Helsingin Sanomat Literature Prize for the best debut (2009), Academic Bookshop’s Bestselling Debut Prize (2009), Laila Hirvisaari Award (2010) and the Kalevi Jäntti Prize (2013), in addition to being nominated for the Tulenkantaja Export Prize 2017. Her works have been translated into seven languages to date.
Laura Gustafsson is a novelist and playwright. Recurring themes in her work include oppression, violence, animal rights and the environment, which she approaches with precision, passion, irony and humor.
Gustafsson’s accolades include nominations for the Finlandia Prize and Helsingin Sanomat Literature Prize, and her works have been translated into French and German.
Iida Rauma is an author of two prize-winning novels. Her writing tackles notions of power, sexuality, violence, and the relationship between humans and nature – at times in essay format or narrative non-fiction. She holds a Masters in Political Science and lives in Turku, Finland.
She has received several literary awards for her work, for example the Torch-bearer Prize and Helmet Literature Prize in 2015 and Kalevi Jäntti Prize in 2016. In addition, she was nominated for the EU Literature Prize 2016, Toisinkoinen Prize in 2015, and Helsingin Sanomat Literature Prize in 2011.
Harri Nykänen is an industrious novelist who draws on his 20 years of experience as a crime reporter at Helsingin Sanomat, the largest daily in the Nordic countries. An author since 1986, he has written dozens of books portraying the customs and rules of the Helsinki underworld – through the eyes of both criminals and members of the police force. Nykänen has won the Finnish crime writing award The Clue twice, and was nominated for the Glass Key for the Best Scandinavian Crime Novel in 2004.
Nykänen’s brutal antihero Raid, starring in ten of his books, has become iconic in Finland. His story has also been adapted into a movie and TV series. Television rights to the original Finnish series have been sold in Russia, and Nykänen has also received interest in television remake rights from the U.S. His newer Ariel Kafka series, starring a cool-headed policeman who is also a member of Helsinki’s Jewish community, has received praise in international press. Drawing from current events, the series is firmly rooted in the streets of the Finnish capital. In his latest standalone novel, To Earth Again (Mullasta maan, CrimeTime 2014), a crime story set in Northern Finland, he delves into “Arctic Noir.”
Saara Turunen is an internationally acclaimed award-winning author, playwright and director. She is known for her bold and direct style and much of her work examines the themes of identity and social norms. Her forthcoming novel Irrational Things (Spring 2021) is a story of love, death and life between two countries.
Turunen has previously authored two highly acclaimed novels, Love/Monster 2015 and The Bystander 2018. Her debut novel Love/Monster won the Helsingin Sanomat Literature Prize in 2015. In addition to her work as a novelist, Turunen is also known for her plays. They have been translated into 13 languages and performed all around the world. Turunen was granted with the Finland Prize in 2016, a high profile award given by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture, and with the City of Helsinki’s The Artist of the Year Award in 2018.
Author photo (c) Ilkka Saastamoinen
Max Seeck is the New York Times Bestselling Author of THE WITCH HUNTER. “Another star has been added to the firmament of thriller writers,” announced Iltalehti newspaper, when Max’s debut novel was published in 2016. Four years and four books later, Max Seeck’s novels have been sold to more than 40 countries, including US, UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Nordic countries and as far as Korea!
His debut trilogy following protagonist Daniel Kuisma sold over 40,000 copies in Finland. His new Jessica Niemi series landed him on the New York Times Bestseller list! In Faithful Reader, AKA The Witch Hunter (US title), book 1 of the Jessica Niemi series, Helsinki Police Detective Jessica Niemi hunts an occultist serial killer. In Evil’s Net, AKA Ice Coven, Jessica and her team follow clues hidden on Instagram to solve the disappearance of a young influencer and a manga artist.
Max Seeck has a background in sales and marketing, and has lately been able to dedicate his time to his lifelong love of writing. His interests include well-conducted research, reading Nordic Noir and listening to movie soundtracks as he writes.
Jussi Valtonen (b. 1974) is an author and psychologist from Helsinki. He has studied neuropsychology in the United States and screenwriting in the UK, and has also worked as a science reporter. He has written three novels and a short story collection.
Carried by Wings (Siipien kantamat, Tammi 2007) was given second place in Bonnier’s novel competition, and received a warm reception from both critics and bloggers. In 2014 Valtonen was awarded the Finlandia Prize, the country’s highest-profile literary award, for They Know Not What They Do (He eivät tiedä mitä tekevät, Tammi 2014).
Jyrki Vainonen (b. 1963) is an award-winning Finnish author who is renowned for his Finnish translations of the works of Seamus Heaney, Jonathan Swift and William Shakespeare. His debut work, collection of short stories (Tutkimusmatkailija ja muita tarinoita, Loki-kirjat 1999 ) Vainonen received the Helsingin Sanomat Debut Book of the Year Award in 1999. Vainonen has lived in Ireland and wrote his licentiate thesis on Jonathan Swift’s Irish pamphlets.
“Vainonen, an award winner in his native Finland, debuts in English with seven selections from three of his previous collections, introduced by Finnish fantasy powerhouse Johanna Sinisalo. Opening with the absurd—a husband vanishes on an ill-fated expedition into his unfaithful wife’s thigh in “The Explorer”—the book then delves into questions of identity (“Blueberries”) and transformation (“The Aquarium”). Sex is mutable (“The Pearl”) and comforting truths are revealed to be false, while faint suspicions prove terribly true (“The Refrigerator”). The author shows an easy comfort with the odd and disturbing, and sympathy even with his less sympathetic protagonists. The translators have done a masterful job of presenting his work with clarity. The one shortcoming of the collection is its brevity; at a scant hundred pages it seems too short to function as a proper introduction to the author. (Oct.)”
Pauliina Susi has worked as a journalist and editor at several well-known Finnish magazines. She has a master’s degree in political science, and is known for her ability to incorporate current themes into her prose. Her debut novel was nominated for the prestigious Helsingin Sanomat Literature Prize and In the Rear Window is the Winner of the Clue of the Year 2016, a recognition of the best crime fiction or detective novel of the year.
Miina Supinen (b. 1976) is a journalist, essayist and author. Her critically acclaimed novels and short stories have a dedicated fan following, and many consider her the funniest, most effervescent female writer in Finland. Nominated for the Helsingin Sanomat Debut Book of the Year Award in 2007, her novel Jelly Control (Liha tottelee kuria, WSOY 2007), is a cult classic. The collection of short stories, Land of the Apatosaurus (Apatosauruksen maa, WSOY 2010), was nominated for the 2010 Runeberg Prize.
Based on Supinen’s radio plays, Violet Jawbone’s Career Guide (Orvokki Leukaluun urakirja, WSOY 2013) was published in the spring of 2013. Ray Girl (Säde, WSOY 2013), is a mystical love story examining death, beauty, love, religion, sexual norms and culture clashes. Her latest book, Jingle Land (Mantelimaa, Tammi 2015), is a darkly comical look at Christmas obsession gone awry.
Katariina Souri (b. 1968) is an author, columnist and writer for film and television. Her debut novel, Me and Morrison (Minä ja Morrison, Tammi 1999) was adapted into a hit 2001 film. Souri is known for her fearless and entertaining writing style that combines realism, fairy tale and psychological thriller. After Scarab (Pillerinpyörittäjä, Tammi 2010) and Path (Polku, Tammi 2012), she has created the gripping and sensual Black Mandala thriller trilogy.
Johanna Sinisalo (b. 1958) is one of Finland’s most successful and internationally acclaimed authors. Praised by readers and critics alike, she has won several literary prizes, among them the Finlandia Prize in 2000 and the James Tiptree, Jr. Award in 2004. Johanna Sinisalo has been nominated for the Prix Escapades 2012, the Tähtivaeltaja (“Star Traveller”) award in 2014 and the Nebula Award in 2008. Her works have been translated into 19 languages.
Markku Pääskynen (b. 1973) has written eight books. He is a two-time nominee of the Finlandia Prize, whose novels have been praised for their sharp insight and psychological accuracy. His fourth novel The Day of Wrath was a Finlandia Prize nominee, and it also won him the Kalevi Jäntti Literary Prize. The Most Important Things in This World received the Savonia Prize. He has also worked as an editor in a publishing house.
Maria Peura (b. 1970) is a prize-winning author and dramaturge. She was given the prestigious Young Aleksis Kivi Prize, and nominated for the Finlandia Prize, for her debut novel Your Love Is Infinite (On rakkautes ääretön) in 2001. It also received received the Olvi Foundation Award and the Good Deed for Children Award. At the Edge of Light (Valon reunalla), received stellar reviews both in Finland and in the UK, where it was published in 2007. Among Peura’s other works is a collection of poetry for children.
Laura Lindstedt (b. 1976) became a critical darling with her adoption-themed debut novel Scissors (Sakset, Teos 2007), which earned her a nomination for the Finlandia Prize, the country’s most prestigious literary honour. She is currently revising her Ph.D. thesis on French author Nathalie Sarraute. Lindstedt’s second novel Oneiron (Teos 2015) is a work of speculative fiction that takes place in the mysterious moments that follow one’s death. Oneiron has continued Lindstedt’s critical success, earning her the coveted 2015 Finlandia Prize. Lindstedt’s latest novel My Friend Natalia has been a critical success and the rights have been sold to 12 territories.
Minna Lindgren (b. 1963) is a freelance journalist and columnist known for her whimsical writing style and fearless approach to topics as strange as opera and death. In addition to novels, she has authored nonfiction books on classical music. In 2009 Lindgren won the Bonnier Journalism Prize for her article entitled “Father’s Death” (“Isän kuolema”).
Lindgren is best known for the Sunset Grove Trilogy, which has been sold to 11 territories, and the final part The End of Sunset Grow was nominated for the International Dublin Literature Award in 2019. She has also written three standalones: Angry Widow (2018), A Far Far Love (2019) and Hope Never Dies (2020).
Minna Lindgren’s books have been critical and commercial successes, in Finland and internationally.
Leena Lehtolainen is the top female crime author in Finland: her new titles always head straight to #1 on the Finnish bestseller lists.
Leena’s brand new title The Ripple Effect will be published in August 2020. It is already the 15th book of the super popular Maria Kallio series that has sold over 2 million copies worldwide!
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The 1993 book Ensimmäinen murhani (My First Murder) kicked off Lehtolainen’s first and on-going crime novel series, which has brought an enthusiastically-received female perspective to the male-dominated detective genre through its distinctively down-to-earth heroine Maria Kallio. The Bodyguard Trilogy, meanwhile, stars a New York-trained bodyguard who is fiercely self-sufficient, highly alert to her surroundings, and haunted by horrific violence in her past.
Lehtolainen published her first novel at the age of 12; this work of juvenile fiction appeared in 1976. Leena Lehtolainen has also published outside the crime genre; her book The Charm of Figure Skating was voted sports book of the year 2010 in Finland and A Life in Six Scenes showed her return to literary fiction.
In her free time, Lehtolainen enjoys all kinds of music from 70’s punk to Schubert and Bach – just like Maria Kallio, the heroine of Lehtolainen’s crime novel series. And just as events in the Bodyguard (trilogy take the heroine Hilja Ilveskero all around Europe, Lehtolainen’s own work takes her to book festivals, exhibitions and other events across the globe.
Riina Katajavuori is known for both her poetry and her prose, which includes works for both adults and children; her poetry has been translated into more than 20 languages. She is also a frequent columnist for several Finnish magazines. Among her best-known projects is the Pentti picture book series created in collaboration with illustrator Salla Savolainen. Katajavuori’s novel Gifts (Tammi 2004) was nominated for the prestigious Runeberg prize. The Ladies of Seven Brothers (Tammi 2014) became an instant classic upon its fall 2014 publication.
J. K. Johansson is the pen name of a group of professional storytellers. Johansson loves Nordic crime novels, HBO series, well-written sex scenes, and reading the book before seeing the movie. The Palokaski Trilogy, set in a suburb near Helsinki, is a tense psychological thriller and a tangled relationship and family drama in an internet-dominated society.
The Palokaski Trilogy
NETHERLANDS, The House of Books
FILM AND TV RIGHTS, Nordisk Film TV
Emmi Itäranta (b.1976) holds two MA degrees, one in Drama and another in Creative Writing. Her award-winning debut novel Memory of Water (Teemestarin kirja) was published in Finland in 2012 to great accolades, followed by The Weaver (Kudottujen kujien kaupunki) in 2015. Her latest novel The Moonday Letters was published in September 2020.
Itäranta’s writing has been compared to that of Ursula K. Le Guin. Her honours include the Young Aleksis Kivi Prize 2013, the Kalevi Jäntti Literary Prize 2012 and first place in the Teos Fantasy and Sci-Fi Literary Contest 2011.
Memory of Water was sold to 21 languages to date, and it has also been nominated for the Philip K. Dick Award, the Arthur C. Clarke Award recognizing the best science fiction novel published in the UK in 2014, and the Golden Tentacle award. In addition, Itäranta has been included on the Honor List of the James Tiptree, Jr. Award.
Itäranta’s cv is an eclectic mix of writing-related activities, including stints as a columnist, theatre critic, press officer and dramaturge. Her poems, short stories, articles and essays have appeared in anthologies, film magazines and science fiction magazines in the UK and Finland. She lives in Canterbury, in the United Kingdom.
Karo Hämäläinen (b. 1976) has two passions: literature and the stock market, and has a 15-year background as an economics reporter. He works as the managing editor managing editor of Parnasso, Finland’s best-known literary publication. Hämäläinen’s novel The Buyout was shortlisted for the Savonia Prize in 2011 and received the Tampere Literary Prize in 2012.
Hämäläinen has studied both in the humanities and in economics. Following stints in Helsinki, Munich and Berlin, he now lives in Tampere, Finland. He is a popular lecturer and guest commentator, and has had his own radio show. In his professional work, he uses Finnish, English, German and Swedish. In his spare time, Hämäläinen likes reading and running; his record marathon time set in 2010 is 3:04:04.
Kaisa Haatanen (b. 1966) is a Helsinki-based publisher who describes herself as ”an old maid, a firstborn and a big sister, not particularly ugly or particularly beautiful.” She has worked with books for her entire career, first as a bookseller for nearly a decade and later as an editor. A fan of detective stories, historical fiction, children’s literature and smart fiction written by women, Haatanen describes reading as her most important hobby. The glowingly reviewed Secrets of my Vanity Case (Johnny Kniga) is her debut novel.
Tapani Bagge (born 1962) is known for his versatility. He has written more than 20 books for children and teens, more than 50 Jerry Cottons, as well as television series, radio plays, TV screenplays, and comic scripts -more than 70 books in total. Among them are also several crime novels, hard-boiled and noir, with plenty of black comedy. Bagge’s closest counterparts are Dashiell Hammett, Donald Westlake, Elmore Leonard and Chester Himes, with a bit of Jim Thompson thrown in.
In his Hämeenlinna Noir crime novels, Bagge depicts the cops and cons of his Finnish home town with dark irony and warm humour. Bagge’s most recent crime series, starring Detective Sergeant Mujunen, is set in Finland during World War II.
Bagge’s story Hard Rain is featured in the Helsinki Noir anthology, published by Akashic Books in the U.S in fall 2014.
For kids, Bagge writes adventure and other stories with warm and sometimes absurd humor. He has written about Bud and Bella (Tahvo and Bella), as well as the spirited adventures of Chloe (Kaisa) and the Black Dog Detective Agency.
Bagge’s accolades include the The Finnish Whodunnit Society’s annual award in 2007 for his novel Black Sky (Musta taivas). Black Sky was also the Finnish candidate for the Nordic Glass Key Award in 2008. Tapani Bagge’s children’s book On the Country (Maalla) was nominated for the Finlandia Junior Prize in 2010.
Rights sold to Germany (Godfathers’s Funeral, 2008, and Black Sky, 2006)