The Red Room

Kaj Korkea-aho

Original title: Röda rummet

Author: Kaj Korkea-aho

Published: 2021

Publisher: Förlaget

Genre: Literary Fiction

Pages: 320

Reading material:

Swedish edition, English sample and synopsis

A published author looking to buy an apartment in southern Helsinki. Offer me a good price, and I will write you a book!

Lust and power collide in an upscale apartment in the fashionable southern Helsinki. The steep and sturdy Art Nouveau walls have seen decadent parties and cruel games.

At first, it’s just a joke: a newspaper ad in which a young writer promises to write a book in exchange for an affordable apartment. But when a gentleman living alone offers him the home of his dreams, the young man finds himself involved in a remarkable game.

He begins to write a story that takes the reader to the labyrinth of desire and submission, to the nightlife of 1980s Helsinki, and to the intricate setups of relationships between men - but what is his place in it?


“THE RED ROOM  is psychologically skillful and pulsates with drive and strong allure. It depicts a world that for most readers is unfamiliar and hidden” - Runeberg Prize Jury on THE RED ROOM

“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 empathetically approaches the yearning of its characters and sensitively orbits the enigmatic and contradictory expressions of desire.”

– Nordic Council Literary Prize jury

Download reading materials

Rights sold:
FINLAND: (Swedish) Förlaget (orig.), FINLAND: (Finnish) Otava.
FILM RIGHTS: Aurora Studios

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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