Helsinki Lit Festival with Sirpa Kähkönen!

Happy moments with wonderful authors in Helsinki!

Internationally bestselling author Elizabeth Strout visiting Helsinki Lit Festival on May 24th with Ahlback Agency Author Sirpa Kähkönen interviewing her.  At the Academic Bookstore Elizabeth Strout met her readers and signed her books for two and a half hours!

 

 

 

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

Bibliography


2023, Literary Fiction

36 Urns: A History of Being Wrong

Sirpa Kähkönen


2021, Literary Fiction

The Green Chamber

Sirpa Kähkönen

Azerbaijani rights sold for 36 URNS by Sirpa Kähkönen!

We are thrilled to let you know that the Azerbaijani rights for Sirpa Kähkönen’s Finlandia Prize-winning and #1 bestselling novel 36 URNS: A History of Being Wrong have been acquired by Qanun! The deal was closed by Sten-Erik Tammemäe at Elina Ahlback Literary Agency. Most recently, rights were sold to Blessing Verlag (PRH) in Germany

Qanun, established in 1992, is one of the biggest publishing houses in Azerbaijan. Their list includes Nobel Prize-winning authors such as Herta Müller, Orhan Pamuk, Alice Munro, and Svetlana Alexievich, and internationally bestselling authors such as J. K. Rowling, Paulo Coelho, Cecelia Ahern, Dan Brown, Jo Nesbø, Haruki Murakami and others.

36 URNS has become one of the absolute highlights of recent Finnish literature:

  • It is currently #1 bestseller in Finland in printed fiction and it is #2 on the Finnish bestseller chart across all formats and genres!
  • The novel has sold more than 50,000 copies in Finland and is currently in its 6th print in Finland!
  • It was the #1 bestselling title of 2023 in Akateeminen Kirjakauppa, the most prestigious bookstore in Finland!
  • It won the Finlandia Prize in fiction literature, the most prestigious literary award in Finland!
  • It is nominated for the Runeberg Literature Prize of 2024 and was nominated for the Savonia Prize of 2023!
  • The novel has received universal acclaim from the critics and the readers!

36 URNS has so far been sold to 6 territories, but rights are still available for US, UK, Italy, France, Poland, Netherlands, etc!

Download the materials for 36 URNS here!

36 Urns: A History of Being Wrong

Sirpa Kähkönen

Winner of the Finlandia Prize 2023!
Nominated for the Savonia Prize 2023 & Runeberg Prize 2024!

A celebrated author’s masterful and poetic confession of love to her mother

  • “A masterpiece worth living for” –  Jorma Uotinen, Finlandia Prize judge

Author Sirpa Kähkönen’s mother Riitta (b. 1941) died in March 2022 after a long illness. In life, she struggled to accept love. “I do not grieve your death, I grieve your life,” Sirpa Kähkönen writes, knowing fully well that her mother wouldn’t like the phrase. Her mother rejected love, despite longing for it the most. Riitta was athletic, beautiful, and gifted. A traffic accident at the age of 16 changed the course of her life for ever.

Drawing on her mother’s diaries, Kähkönen depicts the life of a 1950s girl and the dramatic change that followed the accident. The novel talks about community dance halls, a broken mind, flowing hems, a 1960s mother, anxiety, anger and hate, addiction, and moments of psychosis. It talks about how wars and other crises become corporeal, how violence is inherited, and how the culture of discouragement and submission is passed down through the generations in sayings and attitudes, with the author clearly seeing herself as part of the tradition of anger and violence.

The novel is permeated by a fiery love, as if an ancient Finnish spell that, with the power of words, is capable of bringing loved ones back from the dead.

36 URNS: A HISTORY OF BEING WRONG
36 UURNAA. VÄÄRÄSSÄ OLEMISEN HISTORIA
Siltala, 2023, 267 pp.

READING MATERIALS
English sample and synopsis
Finnish manuscript

RIGHTS SOLD:
FINLAND: Siltala (orig.)
AZERBAIJAN: Qanun
ESTONIA: Koolibri
GERMANY: Blessing Verlag (PRH)
HUNGARY: Polar
SWEDEN: Lind & Co

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

Bibliography


2023, Literary Fiction

36 Urns: A History of Being Wrong

Sirpa Kähkönen


2021, Literary Fiction

The Green Chamber

Sirpa Kähkönen

Bestseller news: Finlandia 2023 winner 36 URNS by Sirpa Kähkönen is #1 in Finland!

Happy New Year from us at Ahlback Agency!

We are excited to start 2024 with happy news: 36 URNS by Sirpa Kähkönen is #1 on the Finnish bestseller charts for printed books in December and #2 in all formats! Over 50,000 copies have been sold in Finland since publication in August 2023. The novel also won the Finlandia Prize for fiction in 2023 and is nominated for the Runeberg Prize 2024. Rights have been sold to 5 languages.

If you want to start the year with a bestseller acquisition, now would be the perfect time – the FILI translation grant round for winter 2024 is still open for application until February 1st!  Grants are awarded to cover part of the translation cost, on average, 50 to 70 per cent.  Read more here: APPLY FOR THE FILI GRANTS.

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)
HUNGARY: Polar
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

Bibliography


2023, Literary Fiction

36 Urns: A History of Being Wrong

Sirpa Kähkönen


2021, Literary Fiction

The Green Chamber

Sirpa Kähkönen

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)
HUNGARY: Polar
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

Bibliography


2023, Literary Fiction

36 Urns: A History of Being Wrong

Sirpa Kähkönen


2021, Literary Fiction

The Green Chamber

Sirpa Kähkönen

Finlandia 2023 winner 36 URNS by Sirpa Kähkönen nominated for the Runeberg Prize!

We are excited to announce that the winning title of the Finlandia Prize 202336 URNS: A History of Being Wrong by Sirpa Kähkönen has been nominated for the Runeberg Prize 2024! The prize, worth 20,000 euros, has been awarded since 1986 and previous winners include e.g. Katja Kettu, Sofi Oksanen, and Ulla-Lena Lundberg. The winner is announced on 5th of February.

Here is the Runeberg Prize jury’s motivation for the nomination:

“Sirpa Kähkönen writes more maturely and bravely than ever before. She writes candidly, without any shame. Kähkönen has succeeded in bringing the different time periods to life simultaneously: everything is moving, everything exists interlocked in time, place, and person.
In 36 Urns the archive materials, stories one has heard, memories, and even fake memories intertwine fluently. The language rings, rattles, reports, writes poetry, it sympathises with the misery and carries with it the history of the family.”
36 URNS is also nominated for the Savonia Prize 2023. 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 Estonia and Hungary and we have an offer for Swedish rights on the table.

Warm congrats to Sirpa Kähkönen and her Finnish publisher Siltala!

With the next application round for the FILI translation grants coming up in January 2024, now is the perfect time to acquire the rights for this outstanding novel!

Download the materials for 36 URNS here!

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

Rights sold:
FINLAND: Siltala (orig.)
ESTONIA: Koolibri
HUNGARY: Polar

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

Bibliography


2023, Literary Fiction

36 Urns: A History of Being Wrong

Sirpa Kähkönen


2021, Literary Fiction

The Green Chamber

Sirpa Kähkönen

36 URNS by Sirpa Kähkönen wins the Finlandia Literature Prize!

We are so very happy to announce that 36 URNS: A History of Being Wrong by Sirpa Kähkönen has been awarded the Finlandia Literature Prize 2023! 
The prize, awarded to an outstanding work of fiction, is worth 30,000 euros.

Massive congrats, Sirpa Kähkönen and her Finnish publisher Siltala!

The winner this year was chosen by professor, dancer, and artist Jorma Uotinen, who praised 36 URNS saying:

“The work helped me to empathise with the life of another person. It touched me, causing an emotional avalanche. The impact of the book is comparable to a well-targeted blow to the chest. The book has not given me peace, I keep on stumbling upon my own emotional blockages.

The book is a controlled literature work, perceptive and insightful. Confesssion-like. The text is clear and precise.

The author has the skill to study life, to study another person in an understanding way, without resentment or bitterness. She digs deep into the roots of existence and finds a way to combine objective review with a subjective and psychologically loaded content.

The personal experience of the author grows into a universal reach,  and she finds something globally applicable about humans, hate, anger, lies, hope, dreams and their crumbling, death.

The world is not only what one can see. This brings forth a masterpiece, which is worth living for.”

– Jorma Uotinen, Finlandia Literature Prize 2023 Grand Juror

36 URNS is also nominated for the Savonia Literature Prize. In Finland, the title has sold 10 000 copies in Finland since its publication in August, and internationally, the title has already sold to Estonia and Hungary. Rights in other territories are still available for this stunning gem of a novel!

Once more our most heartfelt congratulations to Sirpa for the well-deserved win!

Download the materials for 36 URNS here!

36 uurnaa – Väärässä olemisen historia
Siltala, August 2023, 267 pp.
Rights sold:
FINLAND: Siltala (orig.)
ESTONIA: Koolibri
HUNGARY: Polar
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

Bibliography


2023, Literary Fiction

36 Urns: A History of Being Wrong

Sirpa Kähkönen


2021, Literary Fiction

The Green Chamber

Sirpa Kähkönen

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
HUNGARY: Polar
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

Bibliography


2023, Literary Fiction

36 Urns: A History of Being Wrong

Sirpa Kähkönen


2021, Literary Fiction

The Green Chamber

Sirpa Kähkönen

Hungarian rights sold for 36 URNS: A History of Being Wrong by Sirpa Kähkönen!

We are thrilled to let you know that the Hungarian rights for Sirpa Kähkönen’s latest novel 36 URNS: A History of Being Wrong have been acquired by Polar! The deal was closed by Sten-Erik Tammemäe at Elina Ahlback Literary Agency.

Polar are a Hungarian publishing house that specializes in publishing works from Nordic authors. Their authors include, e.g., Jon Fosse, Mika Waltari, Karen Blixen, August Strindberg, Asta Olivia Nordenhof, Pirkko Saisio, Leena Krohn, Dag Solstad, and Vigdis Hjorth.

The novel 36 URNS is completely enchanting. It rarely happens that when we start a book with high expectations, we are not disappointed, but in this case, disappointment is out of the question, the story and the language are also brilliant. The narrator is visited in her small apartment by her recently deceased mother accompanied by the daughter of Tuonela, a mythical figure from the Kalevala. Speaking to her mother, sorting out her mother’s legacy, the writer unravels and analyzes her complicated and tragic relationship with her mother with the help of 36 selected objects and concepts. This clarification could not happen during the mother’s lifetime for several reasons. Of course, her mother did not live in a vacuum, she was determined by the history of her parents and grandparents – which is also the Finnish history of the 20th century. All of this is written in the novel with unbelievable humanity, empathy, accuracy and uncompromising honesty, resulting from historical research. [—] Her language is versatile, precise, and emotional, rich, seasoned with many dialect words. The book is both a family chronicle and a philosophical essay – a writer analyzing herself from the outside and the inside and coming to the realization that the omniscient narrator does not exist. Only a truly mature writer can create this.”
– Zsófia Dériné Stark, publisher, Polar; Olga Huotari, translator

Last week, Sirpa Kähkönen’s masterful novel was nominated for the Finlandia Prize, the most prestigious literary award in Finland! The title has received universal acclaim from the critics and the readers as the crowning achievement of the author’s career so far!

Kähkönen’s language is in constant movement, it spins from the past to the present without effort, beautifully like a dancer on stage, illuminated by a spotlight. The book is beautiful and without shame. It does not ask the reader to walk along, but forces one to look: this happened.”
– Mari Paalosalo-Jussinmäki in Eeva magazine

Not only is the narrative structure [of the novel], structured around the wake [of the author’s mother] and the 36 urns and objects symbolic, metaphorical and intertextually charged, the language also is poetic and rich in associations. In a superb way, Kähkönen brings together influences from historical prose, biographical storytelling, diary quotes, memories, myth, and folk poetry into a melodic fabric of language that moves seamlessly between the different levels of the story. In this way, Kähkönen connects her work to a variety of literary traditions and shows how myths and stories have always been a way for people to explain and make sense of the world and their own place in it, along with the risk that the story we tell is wrong or deficient.”
– Kaneli Kabrell in Hufvudstadsbladet newspaper

Although Kähkönen is still extremely meticulous about the truthfulness of the time and characters that she deals with, 36 URNS is, in my opinion, more poetic and mythical than its predecessors. It is impossible to fit it into any specific genre. It breaks the narrow definitions and moves effortlessly from genre to genre. [—] I’ve always admired Kähkönen’s smooth use of words and infallible sense of rhythm. This time, my attention was especially drawn to her skill in using, e.g., the parallelism familiar from runic songs in her style. [—] When [her] language is at its most fervent, it reminds one of enchanting. When it calms down and lingers, it approached meditation. [—], I willingly admit that, when reading 36 URNS, tears were brought to my eyes more than once.”
– Raija Hakala on Kirjareppu book blog

With the latest sale to Hungary, 36 URNS has now been sold to 3 territories!

Rights are available in France, Sweden, Germany, Denmark, Poland, US, UK, etc.!

Download the materials for 36 URNS here!

36 Urns: A History of Being Wrong

Sirpa Kähkönen

A celebrated author’s masterful and poetic confession of love to her mother

Nominated for the Finlandia Prize 2023! 

Author Sirpa Kähkönen’s mother Riitta (b. 1941) died in March 2022 after a long illness. In life, she struggled to accept love. “I do not grieve your death, I grieve your life,” Sirpa Kähkönen writes, knowing fully well that her mother wouldn’t like the phrase. Her mother rejected love, despite longing for it the most. Riitta was athletic, beautiful, and gifted. A traffic accident at the age of 16 changed the course of her life for ever.

Drawing on her mother’s diaries, Kähkönen depicts the life of a 1950s girl and the dramatic change that followed the accident. The novel talks about community dance halls, a broken mind, flowing hems, a 1960s mother, anxiety, anger and hate, addiction, and moments of psychosis. It talks about how wars and other crises become corporeal, how violence is inherited, and how the culture of discouragement and submission is passed down through the generations in sayings and attitudes, with the author clearly seeing herself as part of the tradition of anger and violence.

The novel is permeated by a fiery love, as if an ancient Finnish spell that, with the power of words, is capable of bringing loved ones back from the dead.

36 URNS: A HISTORY OF BEING WRONG
36 UURNAA. VÄÄRÄSSÄ OLEMISEN HISTORIA
Siltala, 2023, 267 pp.

READING MATERIALS
English sample and synopsis
Finnish edition

RIGHTS SOLD:
FINLAND: Siltala (orig.)
ESTONIA: Koolibri
HUNGARY: Polar

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

Bibliography


2023, Literary Fiction

36 Urns: A History of Being Wrong

Sirpa Kähkönen


2021, Literary Fiction

The Green Chamber

Sirpa Kähkönen

36 URNS by Sirpa Kähkönen nominated for the 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 Finlandia Prize 2023!

The jury said of the novel:

“Sirpa Kähkönen’s strong, open minded narrative voice builds a bridge over the gap that separates generations. The burdens and wounds of the past are linked to the turning points of history in the intense novel. 36 Urns is a novel of one night, or alternatively of a whole century, skillfully kept together by the framework of objects. Even in a harsh world one finds beauty and tenderness when looking through the compassionate lens of the title.”

Download the materials for 36 URNS here!

Finlandia is the most prestigious literary award in Finland, worth 30 000 euros. The winner will be announced on November 29th.

 

36 Urns: A History of Being Wrong

Sirpa Kähkönen

A celebrated author’s masterful and poetic confession of love to her mother

Author Sirpa Kähkönen’s mother Riitta (b. 1941) died in March 2022 after a long illness. In life, she struggled to accept love. “I do not grieve your death, I grieve your life,” Sirpa Kähkönen writes, knowing fully well that her mother wouldn’t like the phrase. Her mother rejected love, despite longing for it the most. Riitta was athletic, beautiful, and gifted. A traffic accident at the age of 16 changed the course of her life for ever.

Drawing on her mother’s diaries, Kähkönen depicts the life of a 1950s girl and the dramatic change that followed the accident. The novel talks about community dance halls, a broken mind, flowing hems, a 1960s mother, anxiety, anger and hate, addiction, and moments of psychosis. It talks about how wars and other crises become corporeal, how violence is inherited, and how the culture of discouragement and submission is passed down through the generations in sayings and attitudes, with the author clearly seeing herself as part of the tradition of anger and violence.

The novel is permeated by a fiery love, as if an ancient Finnish spell that, with the power of words, is capable of bringing loved ones back from the dead.

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

Bibliography


2023, Literary Fiction

36 Urns: A History of Being Wrong

Sirpa Kähkönen


2021, Literary Fiction

The Green Chamber

Sirpa Kähkönen

Introducing two new highly acclaimed Fiction titles!

We are very happy to include two new literary fiction titles to our Fall 2023 Catalogue!

Firstly, we have added to our list 36 URNS: A History of Being Wrong, the latest title by award-winning author Sirpa Kähkönen! Her moving and poetic requiem to her mother was published in Finland by Siltala in August 2023.

Critics have already hailed 36 URNS as Sirpa’s best novel yet:

Sirpa Kähkönen’s previous historical novels and non-fiction works are great, personal, and attractive, but now she has done something completely new and wonderful. Kähkönen writes more maturely and boldly than ever before. [—] 36 URNS, if any at all, is a mature novel. It has a rich taste. It is like the crown on a long career as a writer. [—] 36 URNS is a literary experience. Its language rings, jingles, reports, lyricizes, sympathizes with the pain, and carries the history of a family with it.
– Outi Hytönen, Suomen Kuvalehti magazine

36 URNS has already had its first foreign deal, as Sirpa’s Estonian publisher Koolibri has acquired the Estonian rights for this title.

Sirpa Kähkönen’s masterpiece poetically brings together complex family relationships and the twists and turns of the history of Finland.
– Kadri Rahusaar, managing editor, Koolibri, Estonia

Download materials for 36 URNS here!

Secondly, we are proud to add to our list FIRSTBORN, the latest title by award-winning author Maria Peura! Her heartrending story about her firstborn son being taken into custody was published in Finland by Otava in August 2023 – and has also received excellent reviews!

Praise for FIRSTBORN:

FIRSTBORN is a heartrending and elegantly built story. It talks about a mother who has experienced belittling as a child and domestic violence and who now has to relinquish her child into child protection institution. [—] A mother’s love is the core theme of the novel. It is depicted in many forms, in different stages of life and in different directions [—]. It is a personal and intimate novel. In its subject matter, it is a profound and skillful novel. [—] Peura impressively depicts the magnitude and the personal, tearing impact of the events [described in the book].”

– Outi Hytönen, Suomen Kuvalehti magazine

Download materials for FIRSTBORN here!

36 Urns: A History of Being Wrong

Sirpa Kähkönen

A celebrated author’s masterful and poetic confession of love to her mother

Author Sirpa Kähkönen’s mother Riitta (b. 1941) died in March 2022 after a long illness. In life, she struggled to accept love. “I do not grieve your death, I grieve your life,” Sirpa Kähkönen writes, knowing fully well that her mother wouldn’t like the phrase. Her mother rejected love, despite longing for it the most. Riitta was athletic, beautiful, and gifted. A traffic accident at the age of 16 changed the course of her life for ever.

Drawing on her mother’s diaries, Kähkönen depicts the life of a 1950s girl and the dramatic change that followed the accident. The novel talks about community dance halls, a broken mind, flowing hems, a 1960s mother, anxiety, anger and hate, addiction, and moments of psychosis. It talks about how wars and other crises become corporeal, how violence is inherited, and how the culture of discouragement and submission is passed down through the generations in sayings and attitudes, with the author clearly seeing herself as part of the tradition of anger and violence.

The novel is permeated by a fiery love, as if an ancient Finnish spell that, with the power of words, is capable of bringing loved ones back from the dead.

 

Firstborn

Maria Peura

A heartrending autobiographical novel about one’s own child being placed in an institution and about feeling out of place as a child

The author starts putting together the story of her firstborn child – a child whose ill-being and problematic behavior eventually led to him being placed in a child protection institution. Only now, when everything is okay, does the author dare to put her own distress and guilt into words. “What mistakes did I make? How was I trespassed against and why has my child ended up broken because of me being broken?”

Maria Peura’s autobiographical novel is a relentlessly honest and lyrically beautiful depiction of the cycles of trauma, of the effects of violence, and the chance for light and survival.

36 URNS: A HISTORY OF BEING WRONG
36 UURNAA – VÄÄRÄSSÄ OLEMISEN HISTORIA
Siltala, 2023, 267 pp.

READING MATERIALS
English sample and synopsis
Finnish edition

RIGHTS SOLD:
FINLAND: Siltala (orig.)
ESTONIA: Koolibri

 

FIRSTBORN
ESIKOINEN
Otava, 2023, 320 pp.

READING MATERIALS
English sample and synopsis
Finnish edition

RIGHTS SOLD:
FINLAND: Otava (orig.)

About author


Maria Peura

Maria Peura is a prize-winning author and dramaturge. She received the prestigious Young Aleksis Prize and was nominated for the Finlandia Prize for her debut novel Your Love Is Infinite (On rakkautes ääretön) in 2001. It also received the Olvi Foundation Award and the Good Deed for Children Award and was met with critical acclaim in Spain. At the Edge of Light (Valon reunalla) received stellar reviews in Finland, the Czech Republic, and in the UK, where it was published in 2007. Among Peura’s other works is a collection of poetry for children.

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

Finnish Cultural Foundation’s grand prize for Sirpa Kähkönen!

We are incredibly thrilled to share the news that our author Sirpa Kähkönen has been awarded the Finnish Cultural Foundation’s grand prize! The 35 000 € prize is awarded for significant cultural contributions, on the eve of the Kalevala Day and the Day of Finnish Culture.

Kähkönen is a talented writer whose works have been nominated for the Finlandia Prize and for the Nordic Council Literary Prize, and her newest novel, THE GREEN CHAMBER, won the prestigious Savonia prize! 

Download the materials for the Green Chamber here! 

The Finnish Cultural Foundation Jury said: 

Sirpa Kähkönen writes about society by writing about people. She describes contemporary questions through historical narrations.

Born in Kuopio in 1964, Sirpa Kähkönen studied literature and history, and worked as an editor prior to setting out as a full-time writer. Her studies provided her with a clear direction: Kähkönen is particularly known as a master of historical novels.

As someone who enjoys digging through newspaper archives, Kähkönen is accomplished at providing the details that make the past come alive. While describing the private sphere and bringing historical events up close, she is able to make her work universal. Through her characters, Kähkönen asks life’s big questions, demanding answers from the reader.

The author has created a world of her own – a Kuopio of times past, which is fictional but true. — Sirpa Kähkönen is characterised by humaneness, being always on the side of the individual.”

 

Congratulations, Sirpa!

THE GREEN CHAMBER

Rights sold:

FINLAND: Otava (orig.)
ESTONIA: Koolibri

Reading material:
English synopsis and sample

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

Bibliography


2023, Literary Fiction

36 Urns: A History of Being Wrong

Sirpa Kähkönen


2021, Literary Fiction

The Green Chamber

Sirpa Kähkönen

The Savonia Prize goes to Sirpa Kähkönen for her novel THE GREEN CHAMBER!

We are extremely happy to announce that literary fiction author Sirpa Kähkönen has won the Savonia Prize with her new novel THE GREEN CHAMBER!

The jury concludes:

“In the center of The Green Chamber are three 17-year-old youths coming of age in a world where one must conceal their family’s shame and carry responsibility like an adult. The work flows successfully through time and place, from the 1960s Kuopio to Leningrad, to turn of the century St. Petersburg and Terijoki with an eventual return to Kuopio. The narration of time, place and ambiance are magnificent. In The Green Chamber, Kähkönen’s already gorgeous language is at its pinnacle.”

Sirpa Kähkönen is a Finnish novelist and translator. She has published ten novels of which three have been nominated for the prestigious Finlandia prize and one for the Nordic Council prize. She has authored two books for young adults and a non-fiction bestseller ‘Vihan ja rakkauden liekit (Flames of Love and Hatred) that was nominated for the Tieto Finlandia prize.

Born in Kuopio, Kähkönen studied literature and history at the University of Helsinki before working as an editor. She embarked on her literary career in 1991 with Kuu taskussa (Moon in your Pocket) for young adults, publishing her first adult novel Mustat morsiamet (Black Brides, 1998), which earned her the Savonia award in 1999. Her previous work Graniittimies (Granite Man) is a historical novel depicting the lives of young Finns in Soviet times. Initially writing for young adults, she gained popularity in Finland with her ’Kuopio series’ of historical novels.

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 onwards to the history of Europe, and finally, doing research on the fate of an individual during times of crisis.


THE GREEN CHAMBER by Sirpa Kähkönen

What follows the crushing of dreams? The powerful story takes us from Kuopio in the 1960s to St. Petersburg in the 1910s.
Irene, a florist, has disappeared before Christmas 1964 when the season is at its peak. The owner is worried by the harsh words he has told the girl. But hyacinths need to be delivered to the clients.

Irene has dropped out of school, Jaakko is a barber assistant. There is chemistry between them. Leo, who has just left the army, is thirsting for love.
Young people are looking for their own place. Why is it easier to conquer Space than to love another person?

Download the full Finnish ms and English synopsis for THE GREEN CHAMBER by clicking here.

The English sample is available in January.

THE GREEN CHAMBER
Vihreä sali, Otava, September, 2021, 315 pp.

RIGHTS SOLD:
FINLAND: Otava

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

Bibliography


2023, Literary Fiction

36 Urns: A History of Being Wrong

Sirpa Kähkönen


2021, Literary Fiction

The Green Chamber

Sirpa Kähkönen