Hearts of Khao Lak by Marja-Leena Tiainen nominated for the Savonia Prize 2013

We are happy to report that the gripping YA novel Hearts of Khao Lak (Khao Lakin sydämet, Tammi 2013) by Marja-Leena Tiainen is nominated for the Savonia Prize 2013. Tiainen has received the prize already once, in 2006.Khao Lakin sydämet

Hearts of Khao Lak tells the survival story of 15-year-old Emma who has lost her family and got severely injured in the 2004 tsunami in Thailand. Emma now revisits Thailand with her grandparents to find the local man who rescued her from the water masses. Entwining memories and events of the past and present get even more touching when Emma meets Lukas, a Swede who is a tsunami survival himself. They immediately feel connected, grief defers, and soon there’s romance in the air…

Praise for Hearts of Khao Lak:

“Marja-Leena Tiainen has never shied away from introducing topical themes in her books for young people. (–) The importance of family ties is beautifully highlighted in Hearts of Khao Lak, growing into its main theme. Emma says farewell to her family members quietly: the sea takes away the beloved mementoes of those closest to her heart.” – Rouva Huu’s literature blog

“The passages that tell Emma’s and her family’s fate on the day of the disaster, and after, are extremely moving. I was in tears several times as Tiainen describes the terrible things and events so skilfully and directly, but without feasting on the horrors. The novel explores death, loss and sorrow but it is warm and positive in tone. You can come through difficult things in life.” – Kirsin kirjanurkka literature blog

Since the beginning of her career, Marja-Leena Tiainen has written several successful  titles for children and teenagers, successfully depicting the life and interests of the children and youth of today, as well as four adult fiction titles. Marja-Leena’s works have been translated into Swedish, Danish and Estonian. She was nominated for the coveted Topelius Prize 2012 for her youth novel Between Two Worlds (Kahden maailman tyttö, Tammi 2011) and her trilogy about Alex and about the life of teenage refugees was awarded the Anni Swan Medal in 2009 by IBBY Finland. In her works Marja-Leena Tiainen masterfully tackles a variety of subject areas ranging from the ordinary life and hobbies to the more complex and serious matters of racism, family tragedies and refugee issues.


2012 Topelius Prize Nomination (Kahden maailman tyttö)
2009 Anni Swan Medal for Alex trilogy, awarded by IBBY Finland
2006 Savonia Prize for Alex ja pelon aika
2004 Lasten LukuVarkaus Award Nomination (Kireitä siimoja, Antti)
2003 Art Commission of Northern Carelia Art Award
2002 Pertsa ja Kilu Award
2001 Lasten LukuVarkaus Award Nomination (Pidä nolla, Konsta)
1999 Topelius Prize (Rakas Mikael)
1996 Topelius Prize Nomination (Miikan salainen tehtävä)
1989 Ukri ry, the Authors Association of Northern Carelia Vuoden Kynä Award

Please ask the Agency for reading copies!