As may be obvious, I haven’t been updating this site much lately. Please jump over to the FELT Cooperative to catch up with my work and see what our community of translators has been up to.
As may be obvious, I haven’t been updating this site much lately. Please jump over to the FELT Cooperative to catch up with my work and see what our community of translators has been up to.
In the midst of the freezing Nordic winter, seventeen-year-old Lumikki Andersson walks into her school’s dark room and finds a stash of wet, crimson-colored money. Thousands of euros left to dry—splattered with someone’s blood. “Limned in stark red, white and black, this cold, delicate snowflake of a tale sparkles with icy magic.” — Kirkus starred review Read More: As Red as Blood
Former police sergeant Maria Kallio gladly left her tiny Finnish hometown of Arpikylä without looking back. But even though Maria despises the small town and the acrid smell from its now-closed copper mine, when Arpikylä’s sheriff asks her to serve as deputy sheriff for the summer, she agrees. But what should have been a quiet summer soon turns dramatic—and deadly. Read More: Copper Heart
After solving her first murder and leaving the Helsinki Police Department behind, Maria Kallio thought that a move to the neighboring city of Espoo would signal a fresh start. But when she discovers the strangled body of a new acquaintance, old habits die hard. Read More: Her Enemy
Launch of the Finnish-English Literary Translation Cooperative (FELT) website
US and UK translators of Finnish literature have come together to form a new professional community, the Finnish-English Literary Translation Cooperative (FELT). FELT launched its public website (www.feltcooperative.org) today.
The FELT website provides information about new and upcoming works of Finnish literature in translation, worthy works of literature not yet translated into English, translators’ professional bios and contact information, and reflections on the art of literary translation.
FELT is a collegial initiative begun by professionals currently translating fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and drama from Finnish into English. Its mission is to Read More: FELT Website Launch
When Lia witnesses a disturbing scene on the way to her job as a graphic designer, she, like the rest of the city of London, is captivated and horrified. Whatever the costs may be, Lia cannot leave the unknown woman’s murder unsolved. Read More: Cold Courage
The first book in Leena Lehtolainen’s bestselling Finnish crime series starring Detective Maria Kallio, My First Murder offers hard-boiled realism from a female perspective. Read More: My First Murder
By Juhani Aho, 1884.
Published and now available! Buy now.
In 2012, Norvik Press will publish my translation of Finnish author Juhani Aho’s Rautatie (The Railroad). Although not the first author to write fiction in Finnish (that would be Aleksis Kivi), Aho is sometimes spoken of as the father of modern literary Finnish and was the first professional Finnish-language author. The Railroad is considered one of his most important works.
“In 1884 appeared Aho’s first major work, Rautatie Read More: The Railroad / Rautatie
Literary genius causes all sorts of problems for translators. Veikko Huovinen was from the worst end of that spectrum. Basically, he manipulates his own language and culture so well that it becomes completely untranslatable. But hey, if someone is willing to pay me to try, then why not? And since it was meant to be seriously wacky in Finnish, maybe the English isn’t so bad after all.
Read More: Pop Song Lyrics — Veikko Huovinen
For the last few months I’ve been collaborating with Rovio Entertainment, the makers of the Angry Birds games, on a series of picture books based on the game characters. More details to come soon on when you can get a little more anger for bedtime with your kids!
By Nina Pirhonen
Coming soon as a smart device app!
The cover pretty much says it all. Or take a look at the author’s website. Pompom is a delightfully whimsical picture book series with a fascinating aesthetic connection to the author/illustrator’s fashion design sensibilities (Google her work for Nanso and Marimekko).
There are four books in the Pompom series. Contact the Otava Group Agency for rights information.
Day of the False King Otava 2012
by Kaarle Aho
Writing a documentary about controversial banker Toivo T. Ryynänen is a second chance for washed-up journalist Jyrki Nyrkki, who is trying to collect what shreds are left of his professional pride and win back the love of his wife.
A journey into the past of old money and the Baby Boom generation ensues, taking Jyrki back to his own childhood and the excesses of the 1980s. Everything seems to repeat over and over: whoever believes the most is the one who gets cheated.
When Ryynänen’s friend Read More: Day of the False King // Väärän kuninkaan päivä
by Sari Peltoniemi
A supernatural YA thriller in which a young boy is haunted for a forest spirit he encounters in Lapland. Do these apparitions have something to do with his long-lost Sami mother?
Sample translation available from the Elina Ahlback Agency.
by Camilla Mickwitz
A full translation is available for review from the Ahlback agency, translated by me.
While I didn’t grow up with Finnish children’s books myself, Jason seemed familiar the first time I read it this year. To me it has the feel of a Leo Lionni or Shel Silverstein–the sort of timeless simplicity that in this case completely transcends borders between nations and cultures. Mickwitz has a particular gift for injecting seemingly straightforward stories with glimpses of the serious struggles of adult life as seen through Read More: Jason
By Aino Havukainen and Sami Toivonen
Get ready for another rollicking ride with the boys from Oddsville, this time through the 2012 World Design Capital!
Tatu and Patu’s This is Finland (Published)
Tatu and Patu as Superheroes! (Sample)
Now available for purchase in the UK!
Hear the BCC The Strand review.
From the publisher:
An elderly woman agrees to sell her life to a blocked writer she meets at a book fair. She needs to talk – her husband has not spoken since a family tragedy some months ago.
She claims that her grown-up children are Read More: The Human Part / Ihmisen osa
I’m currently finishing up a translation of Seppo Jokinen’s award-winning Hukan enkelit (working title Wolves and Angels) for Ice Cold Crime. More details will be coming soon as ICC ramps up marketing, but suffice it to say that this is one of the best old-school detective novels I’ve seen come out of Finland. I cared about the characters from the very beginning, and I wasn’t sure “whodunnit” until the end. In other words, take a bow, Mr. Jokinen!
Pop over to Books from Finland for my translation of Jyrki Lehtola’s latest column on the media. Then think for a few minutes about whether Facebook Timeline is an interesting new feature or a hellish reminder that you can never truly escape your digital past..
In the new media it’s easy for our pet-hatreds to be introduced to anyone who is interested. And of course everyone is interested, how else could it be? Jyrki Lehtola investigates…
2011, Tapisodes and Tammi
by Jukka Lemmetty
From the developer:
In this second book in the Alpo series, Alpo sets off on a new adventure with his friend Jimmy.
When Alpo hurts his leg, Jimmy puts him in ambulance-pram and drives him to the zoo, where animals can be well looked after. But all the animals at the zoo are too busy to help Alpo. Until Alpo and Jimmy meet a wonderful lady at the ice-cream stall…
The first of the Alpo series to be available on iPhone and iPad. Read More: Alpo Finds Alma // Alpo löytää Alman
Strange Things Aftoot — The Animals’ World II by Marsa Pihlaja
Environmentally-friendly poems & facts for children and adults
Strange things are happening in the animals’ world!
In this second volume of The Animals’ World, curious things occur: frogs rain from the sky, a blackbird is sporting Ray Bans, a hippo runs out of potamus, chickens take to the streets for a freedom march, a dragon mother urges a dragon father to give up smoking, an elephant does a good turn for the environment, and much more!
While the poems are about animals, they offer surprising Read More: Strange Things Afoot: The Animals’ World II
As reported today in the Helsingin Sanomat, YA author and poet Vilja-Tuulia Huotarinen has been awarded this year’s Finlandia Junior prize for children’s and young adult literature for her novel Light, Light, Light [Valoa valoa valoa]. You can read more about the novel at the Stilton Agency website or my post on my English sample translation.
Translation of Helsingin Read More: Finlandia Junior Award to Vilja-Tuulia Huotarinen
by Tuomas Lius
From the Otava Rights Guide:
A lovable rural rogue and a female detective who’s coming to terms with her past are searching for a priceless historical treasure
Private investigator Marko Pippurinen from the rural village of Tohmajärvi has revived his detective agency with the help of his young friend, Pyry Lehikoinen. Then Julia Noussair, the other half of the duo familiar from Lius’ previous books, Haka and Outside the Law, appears out of nowhere with an intriguing offer. Marko eagerly seizes this opportunity, but by doing so Read More: The Running of the Bulls // Härkäjuoksu
The Buyout, by Karo Hämäläinen
After reading this book, I felt like immediately changing my investment strategy (perhaps switching to cash in a mattress?), and my ability to stomach the nonsensical explanations of self-serving politicians about why the world is suffering from this financial crisis dropped through the floor. Karo Hämäläinen reminds us what really got us here: the greed and machinations of financial wizards who did their best to hide the risks and consequences of their actions in order to keep making money. The Buyout is that rarest Read More: The Buyout // Erottaja
Are we dumbed down by the Internet? Jyrki Lehtola takes a look at who might be to blame and reminds us that everything really was better in the past.
Read the latest essay from journalist Jyrki Lehtola at Books from Finland.
So you’ve heard about how Finland kicks everyone else’s tuckuses in public education outcomes? Well, it’s not just about running classrooms right. They also have a strong tradition of nonfiction writing and reading, as exemplified by these five books from Gaudeamus Helsinki University Press. Links to reading samples below. Messages from the Islands is particularly recommended as a delightfully quirky and engaging approach to an oddly fascinating subject. Special thanks to Setti and Elli at Translizer for helping with these during Frankfurt crunch time.
Ismo Lindell’s The Long History Read More: GAUDEAMUS Helsinki University Press
The Heretic Essays, by Kari Hukkila
“An Algerian Friend” now published in Hyperion Volume VII, Issue 1, Jan. 2013.
From the Burning Bridge Agency 2011 rights guide:
The starting point of Kari Hukkila’s The Heretic Essays is the turn of the eighties when Hukkila gets to know a group of Algerian youngsters hanging around in front of Notre Dame. The essays deal with a friendship which does not depend on similarity, and a Europe which defines the positions and attitudes between the West and Islam as Read More: The Heretic Essays // Kerettiläisesseet
From Otava Foreign Rights:
The first authorised biography of the influential Finnish Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
How did a little boy who was evacuated during the war grow up to become the president of Finland, one of the most widely known Finnish decision-makers on the international stage and a leading global figure in crisis resolution? How has Martti Ahtisaari managed to get people to achieve peace, and what lies at the core of his approach? And where does this man, Read More: On a Journey: The Martti Ahtisaari Story
As a translator, I generally think of “lyrical” as a dirty word. Even beyond the pretense that’s usually bound up in using language like that about a book (your own book?), translating poetry is generally a fool’s errand, unless you fully embrace what the *huge* limitations are. Every once in a while, though, a translation of something lyrical just works. This is a good story, and a beautiful thing to read. It feels true to life.
From the Stilton Agency:
What else can one Read More: Light, Light, Light // Valoa valoa valoa
by Aino Havukainen & Sami Toivonen
From the 2011 Otava Foreign Rights Guide:
A universally weird intergalactic adventure that thrusts forward at hyperspeed and plunges readers into orbits of laughter!
The wildly fast-paced and utterly wacky series of adventures continues – this time, the brothers from Oddsville have a go at sci-fi. Tatu and Patu take off on an adventure across the universe – their mission is to defend galactic peace and perform other important feats of derring-do.
Tatu and Patu build their own spaceship for the Read More: Tatu and Patu’s Adventures in Outer Space // Tatun ja Patun Avaruusseikkailu
I recently completed a series of non-fiction samples as part of an initiative by the Finnish Literature Exchange FILI. See the FILI brochure about the project here.
From the brochure:
In Finland, over 3,000 non-fiction book titles are released by publishers each year, of which around 2,000 come under the category of general non-fiction. The total number of works published in Finland in 2009 that were designated as non-fiction books – a category which includes items as diverse as annual company reports and scientific publications – was around 8,000. The spectrum of non-fiction books is so broad because the Read More: Nonfiction 2011
The Cinematic Life: A Novel [Harjukaupungin salakäytävät] by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen
Speculative fiction author Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen takes a plunge into magical realism, with cinematic results. More on this book (soon) as the project progresses. Pasi is being represented by the Kontext Agency.
An English sample and synopsis are available.
Jääskeläinen (…) offers international quality”
Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen, a schoolteacher in Jyväskylä, has a third surprise in store for the Finnish reading public. His first novel, Lumikko and Nine Others (2006), and his short-story Read More: The Cinematic Life: A Novel by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen
A few quick thoughts post-Finncon. First of all, speculative fiction is alive and well in Finland. Every panel I attended had good turn-out, and there was a lot of energy, despite some pretty stupid things being said by a few presenters. Prediction: if you tell people they won’t succeed and won’t make any money doing what they love, they won’t. Mika Waltari, Johanna Sinisalo, and Sofi Oksanen didn’t succeed and make money until they did, writing things that blew away not only the domestic audience, but also international readers. The comments from the keynote speakers, particularly Finncon Report
See you at Finncon!
This year I’ll be running a seminar for translators interested in speculative fiction and comic translation in conjunction with Finncon, organized and funded by the Turku Burning Bridge Literary Agency project and FILI.
On Saturday as part of the Finncon program, there will be a special panel discussion on Finnish speculative fiction abroad featuring myself, Irma Hirsjärvi, Maria Säntti, Toni Jerrman, and Cheryl Morgan. The time of the panel is a little uncertain. Check announcements at the con.
If you’re attending Finncon this year, drop me a Read More: Finncon
My latest Jyrki Lehtola essay translation at Books from Finland:
Big electoral turnouts are generally considered a good thing. But, writes columnist Jyrki Lehtola, in Finland the fact that the vote went up in the last Finnish general election caused a revelation. Educated urbanites and the media (perhaps near enough the same thing), are shocked by how 20 per cent of their fellow Finns think – and the ramifications caused tremors all across Europe.
From the Burning Bridge Literary Agency:
Antti Nylén (s.1973) is an essayist and translator specializing in 19th century French literature. He has translated Baudelaire, Flaubert and J.K. Huysmans, among others. Nylén is a feminist, a devout Catholic, a vegan, a dandy, a father of two, and an exceptionally violent writer. He lives in Helsinki.
I grabbed The Sands of Sarasvati off the shelf as soon as I saw it in 2005, immediately devoured it, and then went looking for more from the author. It was a great pleasure to do the finishing work on the graphic novel version, and I’m thrilled now to be working on the full novel. Look for more info and a sample in fall 2011!
From the Stilton Agency:
The Sands of Sarasvati is an Read More: The Sands of Sarasvati / Sarasvatin hiekkaa
It doesn’t matter where the war happened, who the opposing forces were, or what justifications were given. After the dust settles, after the dead are removed, the work of survival continues for the living. The world seeks justice, but at the cost of retraumatizing the innocent.
Tiina Pihlajamäki’s You Can’t Tell About It explores the aftermath of a fictional eastern European conflict reminiscent of the Bosnian War in the mind of a young girl, Mirjana, who remained relatively unscathed by the atrocities experienced by so many others. Or did she? How can even Read More: You Can’t Tell About It / Siitä ei voi kertoa
What happens to you in hell if your last name really is Bastard? Can’t a fox girl living in the human world catch a break? Do you really have to slow down in your eighties? These and many more important, hilarious, and twisted life questions we’ve all been wondering about are tackled by the comic artists of Turku, Finland.
I recently translated and/or edited several comics samples for the Burning Bridge Literary Agency in Turku. There is some seriously funny stuff here.
Mika Lietzén: Yesterday, Tomorrow Read More: Comics from Turku
In 1994, Pekka Piri and Matti Pulli set out from Helsinki as skipper and navigator (respectively) of the FinnFaster, an open-top motor boat, on a daring attempt to reach Iceland. The Call of the Sagas chronicles not only their voyage across the cold northern seas, but also through the shoals and rocks of life. Their skills are tested. Their equipment is punished. Their endurance is pushed to the limit. In the end they do reach Iceland, but more importantly, they arrive as new men.
More information to come…
by Tapani Bagge
From the Elina Ahlbäck Agency:
The year is 1940. Detective Sergeant Mujunen, familiar to readers of White Heat, is swept up in a new, more poignant chain of events. Mujunen, in mourning for the death of his wife, meets the Lithuanian dancer Ilse Anders at the cemetery, and his heart skips a beat. But his troubles are far from over.
A Finnish commuter plane vanishes after taking off from Tallinn, a bank is robbed in Kerava, and riots flare in Helsinki, the protesters demanding peace and brotherhood between Finland and Read More: The Blue Phantom / Sininen aave
by Tuomas Kyrö
From Books from Finland:
We Are the Champions
Heroes are still in demand, in sports at least. In his new book, author Tuomas Kyrö examines the glorious past and the slightly less glorious present of Finnish sports – as well as the meaning of sports in the contemporary world where it is ‘indispensable for the preservation of nation states’. And he poses a knotty question: what is the difference, in the end, between sports and arts? Are they merely two forms of entertainment?
Read a sample (HTML)
Also by Tuomas Read More: The Sports Book / Urheilukirja
From the Elina Ahlbäck Literary Agency:
A touching and finely tuned growing up story set in northern Finland.
For children, every day brings something new and amazing. It could be a game with your little sister and the kids from next door, it could be a Grandpa who makes you laugh, or it could be the snow crunching under the runners of your pushsled during a race. Or, like for Pete, it could be the first year of school, which is coming up Read More: Over Dark Waters / Tumman veden päällä
by Sami Hilvo
From the Elina Ahlbäck Literary Agency:
A bold, beautiful story of World War II Finland and a love that does not find acceptance in the world around it.
Mikael arrives at his grandmother’s funeral and finds that nothing has changed. His deceased grandparents’ home still feels like home, and his relatives treat him just as coldly as before. When Mikael gets the key to his grandfather’s study, the past takes over. The blue uniform shirt inherited from his police chief grandfather, and the liquor card it holds right next Read More: The Liquor Card / Viinakortti
A new article translation at Books from Finland on Finland’s answer to Sarah Palin.
Elections are coming: what will the vox populi, the voice of the people, dictate? And which people will be deciding Finland’s political future? As columnist Jyrki Lehtola reports, a political debate has arisen about the ‘right’ and the ‘wrong’ sort of pollster – and the ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ kind of Finn.
Just got back from snowshoeing and camping for two days in sub-zero weather in the Uintas. Our goal was to do the same hike we did this summer, but we didn’t make it due to snow conditions and sickness in the group. The winter trailhead is 8 miles farther out than the summer trailhead. I made it in to the summer trailhead, but no farther. Already planning to try again next year! Check out Read More: White Castle
By Leena Lehtolainen.
A complete translation is of this novel is now available. Please contact me or the Elina Ahlbäck Agency for more information if you are an interested publisher.
From the Elina Ahlbäck Agency:
The new installment of the Maria Kallio series is a chronicle of xenophobia and hate. Maria Kallio is investigating the disappearance of three Muslim girls – and the killing of another. Maria Kallio, working on an EU project training Afghani police, travels to the opening ceremonies for the country’s new police academy, with disastrous consequences. Upon returning Read More: Where Have All the Young Girls Gone / Minne tytöt kadonneet
Summary: you have options, and your selection of translator matters.
Literary translators don’t exactly grow on trees. However, at least in my main combination, Finnish to English, there are now options. As a result of a number of factors, most importantly perhaps the work of FILI Finnish Literature Exchange, there are now perhaps a half-dozen translators working at least part-time doing Finnish literary translation into English. If we think more broadly, including non-fiction as well as fiction, the number climbs to ten or fifteen.
However, this is a new enough development that many translation clients are still unaware Read More: Translation Tip #1: Talk to more than one translator
Winner of the 2009 Finlandia Prize for Literature.
A man builds a brick oven and ponders life. Events come and go, the bricks rise and remain. “He started to remember a model, an oven in the Hökkä’s cabin. It was nearly a meter high on the interior, of arching bricks, with an outlet for the flames in the back corner. The vents came forward at the top and then down the sides and then turned at the bottom toward the back wall and then from the back to Read More: The Oven / Uuni
An abridged version of this essay has been published at Books from Finland.
I am a professional translator, and I have a secret: I don’t read translations. Shocked? Don’t be.
I’m not alone. The literary website Three Percent draws its name from the fact that only about 3 % of books published in the United States are translations (the figure for Germany is apparently something like 50 %). There are various opinions about why this is, including this one from Three Percent’s Chad Post writing at Publishing Perspectives. I’ll get to Read More: On the Rocky Road to a Good Translation — Long Version
See my new article on the difficulty of translation and how to make it better at Books from Finland.
Why just three per cent? Translator Owen Witesman seeks an explanation for the difficulties of selling foreign fiction to the self-sufficient Anglo-American market. Could there be anything wrong with the translations?
I have a much longer version of the essay here.
by Jyrki Vainonen
From the Tammi/Elina Ahlbäck Agency Rights Guide:
A unique story of death, revenge and atonement from a true Master of Surprise. The Towers is a perceptive and psychologically charged story, mixed with the elements of fantasy, erotica and horror. Jyrki Vainonen’s works have previously been likened to those of Roald Dahl and Julio Cortàzar, and his world is found in the wild no-man’s-land between reality and fantasy.
Another article I translated for Books from Finland, this one from fall 2010.
Should a journalist show his hand? Columnist Jyrki Lehtola ponders the pros and cons of showing one’s true political colours.
From the Tammi/Elina Ahlbäck Agency Rights Guide:
Worms is an intensely emotional tale of the long shadows cast by the past and atonement for irreversible deeds. It is also a story about modern day people clinging to their blind faith in their own free agency as they are faced with the forgotten secrets of the past. On a barren island lurks the mysterious legacy of a shipwreck, marked by nine stone graves and a small, dilapidated chapel. These ghostly memorials conceal an ancient tragedy and an ideology in which a sinner is of Read More: Worms / Torajyvät
By Markku Pääskynen
From the Elina Ahlbäck Agency rights guide:
A young father’s stunningly intensely depicted trial of strength in a time of difficulty Markku Pääskynen’s Book of Angels is an intense and poetic description of the waning of an individual’s strength and his slow ascent to fresh hope. It is a story of consolation, a bold description of the grandeur of the small, everyday things in life, of the fundamental questions of existence.
Why, and for whom, do we live? What is love? Pääskynen once again exhibits an astounding capacity, familiar to readers of Read More: The Book of Angels / Enkelten kirja
From the Ahlbäck Agency foreign rights guide:
A lyrical, down-to-earth story of family members painfully searching for their place in this world.
A ballad of unrequited love. “The bear would shamble up and she would become the bear’s and everything would be the way it was and no one would be able to do anything about it.” But the bear never comes, and Stella stops waiting.
Until someone starts sniffing around the house. The Bear’s Death expands on Finno-Ugric mythology. Mumma dies but refuses to rest. She cannot; she is simply incapable of it. The Read More: Death of the Bear / Karhun Kuolema
Otava, 2010. By Aino Havukainen and Sami Toivonen
Super fast, super fun, super weird! Super oddballs Tatu and Patu kick off their new, fantastic Incredible Adventures series!
Tatu thinks superheroes are awesome. “Just think how great it would be to run faster than a tall building or leap speeding bullets in a single bound. Or wait, was it….”
Tatu and Patu’s dream comes true: with the help of a televisioactive laser beam they transform from ordinary Oddsvillians into superheroes, who set out to battle super scoundrels and struggle against misrepresentation! They become Read More: Tatu and Patu as Superheroes! / Tatu ja Patu Supersankareina
I’m behind on updates, so I’m going to list work here that I need to create individual entries for later. Contact me for the actual samples if I haven’t posted them yet.
Laittomat [Outside the Law] by Tuomas Lius (LIKE) Tuomas Lius — Outside the Law — Sample Translation (PDF) Fully synopsis also available. Pakonopeus [Escape Velocity] by Taavi Soininvaara (Otava) Taavi Soininvaara — Escape Velocity — Sample (PDF) Viides tuuli [The Fifth Wind] by Päivi Honkapää (WSOY) Päivi Honkapää — The Fifth Wind — Sample (PDF) Meren Read More: 12 Samples — More Details to Come
By Kirsti Ellilä
From the Burning Bridge Agency project:
Romantic horror stories
Kirsti Ellilä’s (b. 1958) short stories will be a surprise to readers who expect routine romantic short prose: her stories are literally strange, stories about human relationships in which romance intersects with elements of crime, horror, fantasy, and science fiction. Ellilä has demonstrated herself to be an excellent short-story writer with a first-rate ability for describing human relationships, no matter what the genre.
Kirsti Ellilä is a generalist writer who lives in Turku and has published Read More: Strange Love / Outoa rakkautta
M. G. Soikkeli belongs to the absolute top names in new Finnish science fiction literature. The most notable Finnish sci-fi prize, the Portti magazine competition, has already been won by Soikkeli on three occasions. Longing for Mars was also nominated for the Tähtivaeltaja Prize for best published Finnish science fiction book in 2008.
The stories in Longing for Mars, which expertly plumb the different trends in the genre, show that sci-fi is more than entertainment. Soikkeli’s sociological short stories are a splendid example of the possibilities for the science Read More: Longing for Mars / Marsin ikävä
Just got back last week from three days with the Boy Scouts in the Red Castle area of the high Uintas. Hiked in ~11 miles the first day and then toured the lakes the next day, adding another good 12 miles. We had rain, sleet, and snow most every day for a while, intermingled with sun. Hiked out the third day. The fishing was good, but I wish I would have taken my photo gear instead. One boy firmly established that pants Read More: Red Castle Hike
Tammi 2009, 279 pp
By Marko Hautala.
From the Tammi/Elina Ahlbäck Rights Guide:
A story about people’s need to preserve their loved ones, both dead and alive, but also the need to conceal their wrongdoing from the eyes of others.
On a mild May day, as Finland is celebrating its victory in the Ice Hockey World Championships, a violent crime takes place in the depths of a concrete suburb. The murderer turns out to be Olavi Finne, a lonely old man who can’t explain what happened. He’s locked up in a mental institution.
Over ten years Read More: Shrouds / Käärinliinat
I recently finished a sample translation for the Elina Ahlbäck Agency of Leena Lehtolainen‘s novel Tappava säde, the current working title of which is The Killing One.
Leena Lehtolainen is the bestselling female crime author in Finland. Her new titles head straight to #1 on the Finnish bestseller lists. In addition to her career as an author, she has also worked as a literary researcher, columnist, and critic. Lehtolainen published her first novel at the age of 12; this work of juvenile fiction Ja äkkiä onkin toukokuu (”And Suddenly It’s Read More: The Killing One / Tappava säde
By Aino Havukainen and Sami Toivonen
From the Otava Rights Catalog:
An indispensable book for anyone who sleeps! This book has everything, from instructions for choosing a bedtime toy to a troubleshooting chart for insomniacs. As a bonus, the book includes the world’s most boring bedtime story. When goddaughter Satu is coming to spend the night at Tatu and Patu’s house, the boys go all out in preparation. Since they’ll have to put her to bed, they’ve composed a new treatise entitled On Dreams, Drowsiness, Bedtime, and Lovely Lullabies or O.D.D.B.A.L.L.
The book explains Read More: Oddball Bedtime Book / Tatun ja Patun Outo unikirja
Otava 2008, 191 pp.
From Petri Tamminen. Tamminen (b. 1966) is known in Finland as a master of short prose and laconic humor. His work has often consisted of page-length vignettes, and even when writing in longer formats, as in the short novel What Happiness Is, the focus remains on trenchant observations of individual phenomena. To summarize What Happiness Is very briefly: two friends set out to write a book about happiness. In the process, the protagonist manages to destroy much of what might have formed the basis for his own happiness.
As a reader, Tamminen’s work Read More: What Happiness Is / Mitä onni on
Like Publishing, 2009.
By Tuomas Lius.
From the publisher:
A weapon of mass destruction from the Second World War.
A lake in Northern Karelia.
A distinguished female undercover cop and a redneck heartthrob.
These are the ingredients of Haka, a startling first effort which is shooting to the top of the thriller charts. It is a supreme mix of eccentric characters and multiple sources of suspense that culminates in a race to find an abandoned German recognisance device at the bottom of a lake in Northern Karelia.
Tuomas Lius (born 1976) moves through the story with a Read More: Haka
By Juhani Seppänen.
From the Otava 2006 Foreign Rights Catalog:
This book could change your attitude to alcohol – for good. The author spins the bottle and questions many of the things we take for granted about the demon drink, shaking up some long-held misconceptions.
Out of a population of around five million, Finland boasts around 500,000 “heavy users” of alcohol. Liquor is an everyday thing for increasing numbers of people, not to mention its use on festive occasions. Does the idea of a party with just a glass Read More: Clearly Drunk / Selvästi juovuksissa
Teos 2007. 384 Pages
By Mikko Rimminen.
Rimminen’s second novel Pölkky (“The Block”) is a story about a park attendant in Helsinki whose inaction is narrated with extreme stylistic precision. Even the most insignificant move by the main character is shared with the reader. However, unlike Volter Kilpi’s tour de force Alastalon salissa (800 pages about a 6 hour span), or even Ulysses, you’re certain to finish The Block, rather than reading the CliffsNotes and then pretending you actually read the book. Rimminen’s second novel is breathtakingly funny and its language is pure genius.
Tammi Publishers. 2008. 219 pages. Finnish edited by Nina Suomalainen and Jyrki Karvinen English edited by Owen F. Witesman Translation by Marju Galitsos, David Hackston, and Setti Mulari.
This book was put together from essays by diplomats and public officials who have worked closely with former Finnish president Martti Ahtisaari in the Balkans. When I was approached about the project by Tammi, I was busy with school, so I suggested something that is rather rare in the literary translation world: subcontracting. I put together a team of translators I knew I could trust and farmed Read More: The Ahtisaari Legacy: Resolve and Negotiate
This is a little story I translated ages ago, mostly for fun. The original title is “Mahtisana” (‘The mighty word’) from the collection Lapsia. Another of those Finnish authors that the world is missing out on. Enjoy.
Sport in Antiquity: From the fields of Olympia to the arenas of Rome Antiikin urheilu: Olympian kentiltä Rooman areenoille
From Sami Koski, Mika Rissanen & Juha Tahvanainen. Winner of the most prestigious prize for nonfiction in Finland, the Tieto-Finlandia Award (2005).
This gave me a rare chance to use my undergraduate minor in Latin! This is a generously illustrated, general audience description of sporting in the ancient world, including detailed descriptions of individual events in addition to discussion of the cultural and religious significance of physical contests.
Read More: Sport in Antiquity / Antiikin urheilu
Local news is a Finnish comic strip written by Vesa Ilmaranta and illustrated by Timo Kähkönen which has appeared in over 40 outlets. In addition to Finland, it has appeared in Norway and will soon be seen elsewhere. The basic storyline is that a young dot-com bubble victim named Miles Conway has moved back to his hometown to work in the local paper. He was burned out on the big city, but small-town life isn’t a piece of cake either.
See more strips at Localnews.fi.
Read More: Local News / Paikallisuutiset
The only literary journal devoted to Finnish literature. I provided translations for every issue from late 2004 through the end of the journals print publication in 2008, approximately 50 essays and literature reviews in total, plus at least the short fiction translations listed below. I continue to contribute to their online publication.
“Misery me” [from Mielensäpahoittaja] by Tuomas Kyrö (2010). “Noah’s progeny” [extracts from Puupää] by Juha Hurme (2009). “What about me?” [from Mitä onni on] by Petri Tamminen. 42:3 (2008). “No place to go” [from Lakanasiivet] by Sirpa Kähkönen. 42:1 Read More: Books from Finland
Footballs and Concert Halls: A Light Blue Love Story or Concert Halls and Soccer Balls: A Light Blue Love Story in US (Sello & Pallo) by Lauri Törhönen.
Winner of the 2010 Topelius Prize for youth fiction.
This is a very sweet (but not saccharine), engaging love story with some of the same elements of anticipation that readers enjoy so much in the Twilight series. The main characters are thrown together, but then separated, with no real way of finding each other again.
Classic sci-fi with lyrical, wistful feel reminiscent of Bradbury mixed with the hard science edge familiar from Arthur C. Clark and Kim Stanley Robinson (space is big, and no, lasers don’t make any sound). This episodic novel follows the travels and travails of Nimbus, a young female star traveler and her AI companion, Talamus. Nimbus herself departs her body, both to be reconstituted in new bodies grown by Talamus and populated with recordings Read More: Nimbus / Nimbus ja tähdet
This is a children’s book written and illustrated by Aino Havukainen and Sami Toivonen (2007). It was awarded the 2007 Finlandia Prize for Children’s Literature. The artwork is pure genius–it captures contemporary Finnishness like few things I’ve seen. Even visiting Finland probably won’t give you nearly as intimate a look into what is important to Finns both in terms of where they’ve come from historically and what modern life is about. And it’s hilarious.
Written by Riitta Jalonen and illustrated by Kristiina Louhi.
From Tammi foreign rights brochure:
A memory never ends
The Girl and the Jackdaw Tree describes a turning point in a little girl’s life, the unavoidable changes caused by her father’s death. Her thoughts and feelings relate a sensitive story – with the child pondering the happenings of her life under a tall tree. The tree is known as a Jackdaw tree as a flock of these big birds frequently nest in the safety of its branches. The girl knows how the tree must feel when Read More: The Girl and the Jackdaw Tree / Tyttö ja naakkapuu
Nominated for the Finlandia Junior Prize!
Written by Tove Appelgren and illustrated by Salla Savolainen
From Ahlbäck Agency foreign rights guide:
Vesta-Linnea feels like her mother always takes her little sister’s side over hers, and she is suddenly very certain that no one in the family really loves her. Will anything disperse her darkest thoughts?
(A full-length translation with images is available upon request)
Short story by science fiction author J. Pekka Mäkelä. Originally published in Tähtivaeltaja 1/2009.
J. Pekka Mäkelä at FinnishWriters.com
Karsta listed in Locus Magazine review of international science fiction 2009
Written by Tuula Korolainen. Illustrated by Christel Rönns.
From Tammi/Elina Ahlbäck Agency foreign rights guide:
Kitten’s mum is upset feeling she has to clean up after everyone else in the family. And as if that wasn’t enough. Sloppy jumps out of the mirror – a little, sloppy cat who looks just like Kitten. And boy, can Sloppy make a mess! He storms from room to room putting everything in disarray, even pasting the walls with jam. Kitten gets carried away with the mess-making, fi nding how much fun it can be. But when Sloppy Read More: Kitten and Sloppy / Kissa Killi ja Sottapytty
Forthcoming. Annexus Oy.
This is a book of mother-themed children’s poetry. More info when it goes to press!
By Hannu Hirvonen.
The cat raised its head and rubbed its cheek against Mii’s hand. ‘We can get out of here with the help of a cat. Maybe.’ ‘How so?’ the boy asked. ‘I don’t know. But it may be the only way. Only a cat can walk on both sides.’
In the beginning everything seems like an exciting dream to Mii. She sees a beautiful little city rising out of nothing. She sets off to look at the investigate. There are people standing around in Read More: Moths of Hades / Tuonenkehrääjät
Tammi Publishers. 2008. 72 pages.
Collaborative translation with Lola Rogers. I handled the final translation and editing.
The original is a graphic novel based on the novel of the same name by Risto Isomäki (2005).
Review at forbiddenplanet, with images.
Aspasia Books. 2008. 109 pages.
This is a themed set of short stories by Petri Tamminen (Otava 2002). The starting point is the impulse toward seclusion–the original title is literally “land of the hider”.
Article by Soila Lehtonen in Transcript.
Some of the pieces from the book were also previously translated by my colleague David Hackston and can be read in the Books from Finland archive here.
Dalkey Archive Press. 2006. 133 pages.
A novel by Anita Konkka (1988). This was a retranslation of a rough translation done by Agatha Haun.
From Publishers Weekly:
The querulous, nameless, love-weary narrator of Konkka’s 1988 novel might have emerged from a Jim Jarmusch film: in her late 30s, recently unemployed, her engagement broken off and in love with an unavailable man, the narrator is a cerebral, dreamy observer of the flotsam of life as she sits at the base of her favorite pine tree writing in a blue notebook. She imagines the lives of people she sees, Read More: A Fool’s Paradise / Hullun taivaassa
Written by Riitta Jalonen and illustrated by Kristiina Louhi.
From the Tammi/Elina Ahlbäck Agency foreign rights guide:
Aidan and Sophie are 8- and 9-year-old friends. This book is a sweet story of summer, closeness, games, adventures – and of first love, from a boy’s perspective.
Through small, delicate details Riitta Jalonen communicates the strong emotions of childhood. Kristiina Louhi’s warm and inventive illustrations bring the magical realm of childhood handy.
The Hurricane Detective Club and the Guardians of the Star Triangle (Etsiväkerho Hurrikaani ja tähtikolmion vartijat) by Jari Mäkipää.
The Hurricane Detective Club returns to school after a hectic summer vacation. The fall begins strangely when Principal McBride doesn’t show up for work. The club sets out to investigate the principal’s strange disappearance. The think it must have something to do with a strange symbol, the star triangle, a mystery the sleuths have tried to solve before.
As they investigate the star triangle, Jesse, Jenny, Caroline, and Matthias descend deeper into the dark secrets of Alder Read More: The Hurricane Detective Club // Etsiväkerho Hurrikaani
Elämänkirja by Esko-Pekka Tiitinen.
The Book of Life is a refined, yet intense novel about Marja, a 17-year-old girl, and the summer during which she has to let go of her old home and way of life.
I was seventeen then.
When I called out from the edge of the field, the cows stood up from resting and followed after me. I could have walked with them even as far as the village; Read More: The Book of Life / Elämänkirja
Kapsäkki Opera and Theatre Company.
A tintamaresque children’s opera by Sinikka and Tiina Nopola featuring their Heinähattu and Vilttitossu characters. I translated the songs lyrics for performance in the US.
Brigham Young University Theses (2001).
A play by Minna Canth (1891). This was done as my undergraduate senior project. My first lengthy translation project.
You may access my full translation of the play using the following link just so long as you realize this was my first translation ever! (Also, it was originally done in Word Perfect, so there are some very, very slight oddities in the file as a result of bringing it into the modern world, as it were).
Read More: The Parson’s Family / Papin perhe
Näkymättömiä kuvia olemattomista asioista, a radio play by Mox Mäkelä (2004).
I’m going to use this space to document a few of my hobbies. The big one right now is my garden. In the last two years I’ve planted 24 fruit trees on our property, plus a variety of berry bushes. I’m also doing a vegetable garden.
My other main hobby is mountain biking. Minor hobbies include photography, paintball, mountaineering, and hiking.
Some nautical exploits:
Read More: Watch this Space
The sample translations posted on this website all represent books for which the authors are seeking foreign publication, unless otherwise noted. All material is copyrighted by the respective authors, illustrators, and translators. Nothing here may be published without permission and it should not be assumed that the sample translation represents the final form in which a translation would be published. Please contact me or the listed foreign rights representative for more information.
Yet another old Books from Finland translation of a Jyrki Lehtola column.
How does it sound, the people’s voice? Loud and sometimes clear perhaps, but, as columnist Jyrki Lehtola finds, more often than not shrill and puerile.
Last of my old Jyrki Lehtola translations for Books from Finland:
When the Finnish media developed a crush on the country’s foreign minister, writes Jyrki Lehtola, no one could foresee the consequences. Especially if the object of their affections might begin to believe what they say about him…
From the Otava Foreign Rights website:
The alphabet is led down memory lane with the boys from Oddsville, where there’s plenty of whacky humour and earth-shaking revelations about the crazy life they’ve lived! With an extra bonus letter: the mark of Oddsville!
Tatu and Patu find a box in the attic brimming with old photos and mementoes of years gone by.
The box is a true cornucopia: there are pictures of their trip to Barbados, a shot of the curling club disco, and one of the Christmas market in Järvenpää. Read More: Tatu and Patu’s Amazing Alphabet // Tatun ja Patun Oudot aakkoset
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