Year 2020 at Elina Ahlback Literary Agency: New York Times Bestselling Author Max Seeck, Award-winners and Bestsellers

The year 2020 marks a historic moment for Finnish Literature Exports: Elina Ahlback Literary Agency’s author Max Seeck and his US debut The Witch Hunter became an instant New York Times Bestseller in November 2020. Congratulations to Max Seeck, New York Times Bestselling Author, for writing his way into Finnish literary history! Furthermore, a Hollywood TV series based on The Witch Hunter is in development by Greg Silverman’s Stampede Ventures.

The year 2020 brought more bestsellers, award-winners and nominees from Finland to the World’s Literary Map.

We are grateful to our wonderful authors, to our great publishers and collaborators around the world, and wish everyone a Happy Holiday season!

 The Witch Hunter by Max Seeck
Uskollinen lukija, Tammi 2019AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER Rights sold to 40 territories

“The Witch Hunter, translated with icy precision by Kristian London, is written in short, sharp, present-tense chapters, a technique which adds to its relentless tension. Flashbacks to earlier episodes in Jessica’s life suggest that the strangeness currently unfolding is tied to her personal history. Discovering the how and why of it brings a resolution as bleak as anything Poe might have conjured.” –Wall Street Journal

AWARD WINNERS:
Arctic Mirage by Terhi Kokkonen
Rajamaa, Otava 2020Winner of the 2020 Helsingin Sanomat Literature Prize – Prestigious award for the best debut novel of the year.

 

“In a rich and sensitive novel in which people can be strange, lewd, and at the same time infinitely ordinary. Contradictions and a mystery-like atmosphere remain after finishing the book – as happens in the best and most fascinating novels.” – Helsingin Sanomat newspaper

When the King Dies by Elina Backman
Kun kuningas kuolee, Otava 2020Winner of the Elisa Audio Book Award 2020: Best newcomer

“A Star is Born”. – Iltalehti newspaper

Ripple Effect by Leena Lehtolainen
Jälkikaiku, Tammi 2020Winner of the Elisa Audio Book Awards 2020: The Best Crime Novel

Pro Finlandia Medal awarded by the Order of the Lion of Finland as a lifetime achievement.

 

“In Ripple Effect everything really works. The curtains of secrets sway appropriately, sometimes covering, sometimes revealing. The daily life of the police and the civilian life is mixed in an appropriate proportion.” – Amman lukuhekiä blog

Homestead by Ann-Luise Bertell
Heiman, Förlaget 2020Nominated for Finlandia Prize 2020
Nominated for Runeberg Prize 2021

“Homestead is a captivating and rooted story that takes us through Ostrobothnia for four generations in a spacious landscape. The language of the book is accurate but gestureless, the characters carry pain under the cross-pressure of who they are and who they desire to be. Bertell looks at her characters gently, even when they least deserve it.”  – Finlandia Prize Jury

Stormseye by Meri Luttinen
Myrskynsilmä, WSOY 2020Nominated for Finlandia Prize for Children’s & YA Literature 2020
Nominated for Topelius Prize 2021

“In the age-old rite, young girls find their life mission. Kainu’s fate turns out to be to become a sage, which brings with it a great deal of responsibility. She has to solve the riddle of the Stormseye pendant to find herself and her place in the community. Set in the ancient Finnish fantasy world, the debut novel is a great growth story that deals with difference, loneliness and overcoming one’s own fears.” – Topelius Prize Jury

Agnes and the Garden of Dreams by Tuutikki Tolonen
Agnes ja unien avain, WSOY 2020Nominated for Arvid Lydecken Prize 2021

”This book has the reader hooked up from the beginning! One has to read a chapter after chapter – even though it would be time to sleep.” – Maaseudun tulevaisuus newspaper

A Beautiful Day to Die by Veera Salmi
Kaunis ilma kuolla, Otava 2020Nominated for Topelius prize 2021

“The road trip-inspired book realistically and credibly describes the lives of young people in situations from which there seems to be no way out. The novel challenges us to think about the significance of starting points for life and its direction. At the same time, it tells a resounding story about the difficulty of making choices, getting to know yourself, and taking responsibility.” – Topelius Prize Jury

NATIONAL BETSELLERS:
Greatest of All is Love. The Marimekko Story by Ulla-Maija Paavilainen
Suurin niistä on rakkaus, Otava 2020 

“The Marimekko story is entertaining read. Sometimes you laughs and sometimes you cry as this glamorous lady makes things happen at her own way. However, the biography written by Ulla-Maija Paavilainen is not just a song of praise for a business guru, but it also depicts Kirsti Paakkanen’s weaknesses and painful moments, such as infertility and loneliness.” – Helsingin Sanomat newspaper

Extraordinary Women of History by Maria Pettersson
Historian jännät naiset, Atena 2020 

“Inspiring book! It is well written and made me want to learn more. I have found myself googling many of these women afterwards. This book can really be recommended to anyone. Personally I read it in two days. Please, read it! ” – Anikó Lehtinen, journalist

Facelift by Miika Nousiainen

Pintaremontti, Otava 2020

 

“Facelift is a perfect feel-good novel. It meets the high expectations that we have learned to expect from Nousiainen: it’s funny, dark, entertaining and very timely.” – Helsingin Sanomat newspaper

Elina Backman


Elina Backman 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.

Maria Pettersson


As a child, Maria Pettersson’s dream job was to be an international adventurer. Instead, she became an award-winning journalist, the editor-in-chief of several magazines and a serious history geek. She has worked for the biggest newspapers, radio stations and TV channels in Finland. She has travelled in over 70 countries, got married in Vegas and spent her honeymoon in North Korea. Her hobbies include games and roleplaying, observing big machines, studying small Slavic languages and visiting dead dictators. She currently lives in Helsinki, Finland.

Max Seeck, New York Times Best Selling Author


Max Seeck - 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 is currently finalizing the third book of the Jessica Niemi series, which is to be published in Finland in September 2021.

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.

Meri Luttinen


Meri Luttinen is an award-winning Finnish debut writer from Tampere. Her debut Stormseye won the Topelius prize and was nominated for both Kuvastaja Award and Finlandia Prize for Children's & YA literature in 2020.

She has a Master's degree in Finnish language and literature and has worked teaching Finnish and creating study materials. Luttinen is fascinated by everyday life in different eras and wants to transport readers to other worlds with her texts.

Miika Nousiainen


Miika Nousiainen writes sharp, gentle and often tragicomical novels about surprising themes like long-distance running, the desire to be Swedish, and dentistry. He works as a journalist and writes also for television.

Terhi Kokkonen


Terhi Kokkonen (1974) is a Helsinki-based musician and pop lyricist. She is known for the band Scandinavian Music Group, as well as being one of the singers of the band Ultra Bra. Kokkonen has studied dramaturgy at the Theater Academy and screenwriting and film editing at the Department of Cinematography and Stage Design at Aalto University. Arctic Mirage is her debut novel, and it was awarded as the best debut novel of 2020.

Tuutikki Tolonen


Tuutikki Tolonen is the author of several acclaimed children’s books, plays and academic articles. For Monster Nanny she received the Arvid Lydecken award. She teaches creative writing and has worked as an editor and reporter at Vinski, Finland’s only literary journal for children. Her inspiration for the Monster Nanny trilogy sparked during a family breakfast. “My son Leo, then six, said: ‘I heard on the radio yesterday that all moms have to go on vacation and monsters will take their places,” she says.

Tolonen is currently writing the Agnes series, of which the first book "Agnes and the Garden of Dreams" was in 2020 nominated for both Runeberg Junior and Arvid Lydecken Awards and won LukuVarkaus 2020 award!

Ulla-Maija Paavilainen


Ulla-Maija Paavilainen, award-winning journalist, is the author of several well-received novels and non-fiction books. She has worked as the editor-in-chief at several top Finnish magazines over the past 25 years. One of her specific areas of interest is the role of women in working life and analysing the power structure and what is required for women to have successful careers.

Paavilainen’s most recent work is the moving biography of the legendary entrepreneur Kirsti Paakkanen, who took over Marimekko, one of Finland’s most famous design brands. Kirsti Paakkanen: Greatest of All is Love is the story of Marimekko, an authentic rags-to riches tale of how a poor girl from the countryside first founded the world’s first all-women’s advertising agency, Womena. Selling Womena when she was 62, Paakkanen bought Marimekko, a global design company that was on the verge of bankruptcy and turned it around into an international iconic fashion house.

Veera Salmi


Veera Salmi (1976) is a Helsinki-based writer, who has worked over 15 years as a kindergarten teacher. The real starting point for her career as a writer was given by the children in the kindergarten, who said they wanted to hear storied of children who live in the city. So she started writing such stories. Now Veera Salmi is a bestselling author of over 20 books.

A Beautiful Day to Die is her brand new young adults’ novel. When Salmi wrote the book she travelled around Helsinki by metro, and listened to the teenagers and young adults, making notes about the rich, innovative and international language they used.

Topelius Award and Arvid Lydecken Award Nominations

Congratulations to our Topelius and Arvid Lydecken Award Nominees 2021!
Tuutikki Tolonen is nominated for Arvid Lydecken Award with her novel “Agnes and the Garden of Dreams” (WSOY 2020, illustrated by Kati Vuorento).
“Agnes and her mother move to a new town after the parents divorce. There she finds a tombstone with the name of Agnes and her birthday on it. Agnes begins to see dreams of a garden of an old villa and a girl walking there. She gets caught up in a mystical chain of events and finds herself from the middle of the garden of her dreams. The fascinatingly written narrative moves smoothly between the present and the past.”
Topelius Award nominees are Veera Salmi with her YA novel “A Beautiful Day to Die” (Otava 2020), and Finlandia-nominated Meri Luttinen with “Stormseye” (WSOY 2020).
“A Beautiful Day to Die: Isra, who has a Moroccan background, and Leo, who is thrown from one surrogate family to another, feel deadlocked. They have one goal in their life: to see the pandas of Ähtäri and die. The road trip-inspired book realistically and credibly describes the lives of young people in situations from which there seems to be no way out. The novel challenges us to think about the significance of starting points for life and its direction. At the same time, it tells a resounding story about the difficulty of making choices, getting to know yourself, and taking responsibility.”
“Stormseye: In the age-old rite, young girls find their life mission. Kainu’s fate turns out to be to become a sage, which brings with it a great deal of responsibility. She has to solve the riddle of the Stormseye pendant to find herself and her place in the community. Set in the ancient Finnish fantasy world, the debut novel is a great growth story that deals with difference, loneliness and overcoming one’s own fears.”
Topelius Award is given to a brilliant YA authors and novels, and Arvid Lydecken Award to Children’s Books.

Meri Luttinen


Meri Luttinen is an award-winning Finnish debut writer from Tampere. Her debut Stormseye won the Topelius prize and was nominated for both Kuvastaja Award and Finlandia Prize for Children's & YA literature in 2020.

She has a Master's degree in Finnish language and literature and has worked teaching Finnish and creating study materials. Luttinen is fascinated by everyday life in different eras and wants to transport readers to other worlds with her texts.

Tuutikki Tolonen


Tuutikki Tolonen is the author of several acclaimed children’s books, plays and academic articles. For Monster Nanny she received the Arvid Lydecken award. She teaches creative writing and has worked as an editor and reporter at Vinski, Finland’s only literary journal for children. Her inspiration for the Monster Nanny trilogy sparked during a family breakfast. “My son Leo, then six, said: ‘I heard on the radio yesterday that all moms have to go on vacation and monsters will take their places,” she says.

Tolonen is currently writing the Agnes series, of which the first book "Agnes and the Garden of Dreams" was in 2020 nominated for both Runeberg Junior and Arvid Lydecken Awards and won LukuVarkaus 2020 award!

Veera Salmi


Veera Salmi (1976) is a Helsinki-based writer, who has worked over 15 years as a kindergarten teacher. The real starting point for her career as a writer was given by the children in the kindergarten, who said they wanted to hear storied of children who live in the city. So she started writing such stories. Now Veera Salmi is a bestselling author of over 20 books.

A Beautiful Day to Die is her brand new young adults’ novel. When Salmi wrote the book she travelled around Helsinki by metro, and listened to the teenagers and young adults, making notes about the rich, innovative and international language they used.

2020 Children’s & YA Fall Rights Guide is published

We are proud to announce that our 2020 Fall Rights Guide is published, and this time it is completely digital.

What’s new: Author videos! 360 views on books
Browse different categories from the top menu, see 360 degree views of the titles and enjoy video clips from our authors. Ask for materials by only clicking a button.

Browse the Children’s & YA list here

We are super excited about our list! Below we have introduced our brand-new Children’s & YA titles. Take a look and get in touch to register your interest and request English materials!

 


YOUNG ADULT:

A Beautiful Day to Die by Veera Salmi

Isra has decided to die. But before that she needs to complete a rescue mission! Embark on a road trip with Isra, her friend Leo, 900 euros and a stolen sky-blue Hyundai.

Leo and Isra are not the most popular kids of their high school. They don’t have high expectations, and nobody expects much of them. So why not take a break from school – and a break from life, and try to do something meaningful before it’s all too late?

Funny, realistic and tragic story of teenagers who don’t know what they want, and are tired of trying to figure it out on their own.

Reading materials: English sample & synopsis – click here to request materials

Author bio:
Veera Salmi is a writer who lives in Helsinki. She worked for 15 years as a kindergarten teacher prior to becoming a writer. The real starting point for her career as a writer was given by the children in the kindergarten, who said they no longer wanted to hear the same old stories that take place somewhere in the countryside. They wanted to hear stories about the city, the kind of place where they themselves lived. So she started writing such stories.


MIDDLE-GRADE:

Mabel Merryweather Series by Noora Kunnas, illustrated by Teemu Juhani

#1 Mabel Merryweather and the Miniature Pirates

Nick and Lilly’s visit to their rule-loving, child-hating uncle turns into an adventure as the children get to know their exiting, eccentric neighbor: Mabel Merryweather. Mabel and her friends are preparing for a flower arrangement competition, when the town is hit by a jeweler thief. Nick, Lilly and Mabel have their own problems as Mabel’s decorative miniature pirates have come to live and are rummaging through the backyards. And what happened to the main judge of the competition – a pop singer Monika who disappeared in the same day?  Something must be done to bring peace and order back to the town of Sparton.

#2 Mabel Merryweather and the King of the Thieves

The town of Sparton is celebrating a local children’s poet’s 140th anniversary, and everyone is dressed up as a character from a poem. But amongst the happy people there’s also a gentleman thief who has terrorized art museums all spring. Through many mistakes and misunderstandings Nick and Lilly help the police to catch a thief – and to teach a lesson to a grumpy literary critic.

Reading materials: English samples & synopses – request here

Author bio: 
Noora Kunnas (born in 1987) is a children’s author from Helsinki, Finland. She has the knack for making both children and grownups laugh while they’re immersed in her zany books. She draws her inspiration from the world of Roald Dahl. The trademark of her books is a nutty humor, spiced with quirky characters, as well as the titillating mood of various settings, where anything – and we mean anything – is possible.

Noora Kunnas


Noora Kunnas (born in 1987) is a children’s author from Helsinki, Finland. She has the knack for making both children and grownups laugh while they’re immersed in her zany books. She loves animals and British humor – she grew up watching Jeeves and Wooster and eating ice cream straight from the container. Kunnas draws her inspiration from the world of Roald Dahl. The trademark of her books is a nutty humor, spiced with quirky characters, as well as the titillating mood of various settings, where anything – and we mean anything – is possible.

Noora Kunnas has published seven children’s books at Otava (2015 – 2021),  and her works have been nominated for the prestigious Tiiliskivi and Lukuvarkaus literary prizes in Finland. She graduated from the Turku Academy of Arts with a degree in film, and she worked in television since.

Veera Salmi


Veera Salmi (1976) is a Helsinki-based writer, who has worked over 15 years as a kindergarten teacher. The real starting point for her career as a writer was given by the children in the kindergarten, who said they wanted to hear storied of children who live in the city. So she started writing such stories. Now Veera Salmi is a bestselling author of over 20 books.

A Beautiful Day to Die is her brand new young adults’ novel. When Salmi wrote the book she travelled around Helsinki by metro, and listened to the teenagers and young adults, making notes about the rich, innovative and international language they used.