Catch Up at Feltcooperative.org

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 Red as Blood

As Red as Blood by Salla Simukka US Cover Art

As Red as Blood

The Snow White Trilogy (Book 1)
by Salla Simukka
Translated by Owen F. Witesman
Published by Skyscape in the US and Hot Key in the UK.
Order now.

*Kirkus starred review*
*Publisher’s Weekly starred review*

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. Lumikki lives alone in a studio apartment far from her parents and the past she left behind. She transferred into a prestigious art school, and she’s singularly focused on studying and graduating. Lumikki ignores the cliques, the gossip, and the parties held by the school’s most popular and beautiful boys and girls.

But finding the blood-stained money changes everything. Suddenly, Lumikki is swept into a whirlpool of events as she finds herself helping to trace the origins of the money. Events turn even more deadly when evidence points to dirty cops and a notorious drug kingpin best known for the brutality with which he runs his business.

As Lumikki loses control of her carefully constructed world, she discovers that she’s been blind to the forces swirling around her—and she’s running out of time to set them right. When she sees the stark red of blood on snow, it may be too late to save her friends or herself.

AS_RED_AS_BLOOD_Cropped 2“This trilogy opener from a talented young author has a bracing energy that stands up to the most muscular of Scandinavian thrillers and a heroine more than equal to her competition. … Limned in stark red, white and black, this cold, delicate snowflake of a tale sparkles with icy magic.” — Kirkus

“Finnish author Simukka creates a tough, self-sufficient heroine in 17-year-old Lumikki Andersson in this first book in the Snow White Trilogy. … Fans of Nesbø and Larsson won’t be disappointed.” — Publisher’s Weekly

 “Lumikki is fit, resourceful and a mistress of disguise, able to transform her appearance at a moment’s notice…the world Lumikki infiltrates is amoral and cynical; a sophisticated tale, then, suavely translated by Owen F. Witesman.” – Financial Times

Copper Heart

PPCover_CopperHeart_lowresCopper Heart

The Maria Kallio Series (Book 3)
by Leena Lehtolainen
Translated by Owen F. Witesman
Published by AmazonCrossing
Order now
.

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.

What should have been a quiet summer soon turns dramatic—and deadly. Meritta, an outspoken local artist, plunges to her death from the copper mine’s tower, and Maria immediately suspects someone helped her fall. Now Maria must face the harsh truth that one of the town’s residents killed Meritta, and friends Maria has known for decades all harbor their own murderous motives—even Johnny, her gorgeous former crush who almost makes her forget about her long-distance boyfriend, Antti, who is studying in Chicago.

In this thrilling addition to the internationally successful Maria Kallio mystery series, the past and present of the beloved Finnish detective violently collide, leaving her future in grave danger.

Also in the Maria Kallio Series:

7104891_MFM_FrontCover[1] HerEnemy_CvrImg[1]

Her Enemy

HerEnemy_CvrImgHer Enemy

The Maria Kallio Series (Book 2)
by Leena Lehtolainen
Published by AmazonCrossing

Order now.

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—a chance to not only put her new law degree to use, but to nurture her budding romance with Antti Sarkela. But when she discovers the strangled body of a new acquaintance, old habits die hard for the redheaded sleuth—especially since the accused is not only the victim’s fiancé, but a member of Antti’s family.

Though she works as a legal counselor, Kallio soon finds herself unofficially investigating the murder, now labeled a sex crime. While Antti’s relative may have some peculiar sexual tendencies, Kallio doubts that the man she’s agreed to defend is capable of the crime. To crack the case, Kallio will have to pull back the curtain on Espoo high society…and uncover a secret someone is willing to kill to keep hidden.

Her Enemy, the latest addition to Lehtolainen’s bestselling crime series, sends intrepid Detective Kallio into the dark side of human passion.

Also in the Maria Kallio Series:

7104891_MFM_FrontCoverPPCover_CopperHeart_lowres[1]

Cold Courage

Cover ArtCold Courage

by Pekka Hiltunen
translated from the Finnish by Owen F. Witesman
Hesperus Press.

Order now in the UK.

“Panic spread through the street, rippling in a viral wave of contorted faces and anxious gestures. The moment before catastrophe. This is what it looks like.”

When Lia witnesses a disturbing scene on the way to work, she, like the rest of the city of London, is captivated and horrified. As details unfurl in the media the brutal truth transpires – a Latvian prostitute has been killed, her body run over by a steamroller and then placed in the trunk of a car to be found. As the weeks pass and no leads are found, the story quickly disintegrates but Lia can’t easily forget. So when she meets Mari in a bar late one night she feels fate might have brought them together. Like her, Mari is a Finnish woman in London finding her way, somewhat of an outsider, very independent. But there is much more to Mari than meets the eye: she is a psychologist who possesses an unnatural way of being able to ‘read’ people, see into their inner most thoughts and pre-empt their actions. She uses her ‘gift’ to try to help people and has formed a close unit she calls the Studio, a kind of team of investigators, who are not beyond breaking the law to put the worlds to rights. Mari and Lia strike up a firm friendship and when Lia shares her plaguing thoughts about the murder, Mari thinks she and the members of the Studio can help where the police have failed. But Mari and Lia are about to step foot into extremely dangerous territory, especially as Mari has a will to control others, take vengeance on those she deems deserve it and use the Studio to questionable ends.

From WSOY Foreign Rights:

“Hiltunen’s debut novel Cold Courage is a skillfully paced, intensive and exciting psycho-thriller. The book sets a new, high standard for intelligent entertainment. The novel is food for both thought and for the feelings. Though the narrative dwells on human trafficking in Europe, political populism and the hard culture of working life these days, the author does not moralise. With his debut novel, Hiltunen takes his place among the mystery authors that write about ordinary people solving crimes. Hiltunen’s protagonists Lia and Mari, two Finnish women living in London, take the reader on a journey through the contemporary world.

The book opens with Lia seeing a murdered body. The sight of it stays with her. Soon Lia meets Mari, who through questionable means tackles injustice. Thus the narrative sets the question of whether the end justifies the means. Alongside moral questions, the novel dwells on modern people’s sense of alienation, with elements of a growth story.

The Finnish Whodunnit Society in awarding the Clue of the Year 2012 (Finland’s top prize for mysteries and thrillers)

Praise:

“I predict international success for this confident, unique and captivating thriller.” – Kaleva

“Pekka Hiltunen hooks the reader of his new thriller from the very first page. The main characters are likeable and believable, and the author’s awareness of social issues shines through in his writing. Cold Courage is a very topical novel.” – Apu

“The women’s friendship, the organisation’s activities, and the use of technology are all narrated in a convincing way. I recommend this book to readers who like slightly unusual psychological thrillers – here evil certainly gets its just rewards in a way which, while being complex, is also often amusing, touching and unusual. A good opening for the new series!” – Kirjavinkit

“Cold Courage expands the thematic landscape of Finnish crime literature. It is refreshing to read about professional and amateur private detectives with no problems regarding either alcohol or woman. In its own way the book gives faith in the notion that the world can and should be changed.” – Helsingin Sanomat

“The novel updates the story traditions of crime novels in an interesting way. It is a psychological thriller and a whole lot more, too. As well as having an exciting plot it shows depth in its descriptions of people. Hiltunen´s concept of the Studio is a fascinating insight into these modern times. Rich in details, sure in its descriptions of London and smoothly written, this novel is a stylish debut.” – Turun Sanomat

My First Murder

My First Murder
by Leena Lehtolainen
Published by AmazonCrossing

The best-selling Detective Maria Kallio series begins in English!

Order now, including as an audiobook.

Maria Kallio has just been assigned her first murder investigation. To prove to herself and her squad that she has what it takes to be a detective, she’ll have to solve the death of Tommi Peltonen. Found floating face down at the water’s edge of his Helsinki villa, Tommi had invited his choir group to spend a weekend at his retreat. But beneath the choir’s seemingly tight-knit bonds seethed bitter passion and jealousy. As Maria sets out to determine the difference between friends and foes, she uncovers the victim’s unsavory past—and motives for all seven suspects. Now it’s up to her to untangle a complex set of clues before the killer strikes again.

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.

 

Also in the Maria Kallio series:

HerEnemy_CvrImg[1]  PPCover_CopperHeart_lowres[1]


 

The Railroad / Rautatie

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.

From kirjasto.sci.fi:

“In 1884 appeared Aho’s first major work, Rautatie [Railroad], a humorous story of a country couple Matti and Liisa, who embark on their first railway journey. When Minna Canth read the manuscript, she got so enthusiastic that she compared Aho to Gogol and Zola. In 1921 Rautatie had become the bestselling work of fiction after Kalevala and Vänrikki Stoolin tarinat.”

Pop Song Lyrics — Veikko Huovinen

Author Veikko Huovinen; Photo: Harri Nurminen

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 Huovinen’s 1960s short story “Pop Song Lyrics” at Books from Finland and an introduction to Huovinen’s work by Jarmo Papinniemi.

Angry Birds Books

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!

Pompom and the Happy Year // Kumpulaakson Pompom ja iloinen vuosi

Pompom and the Happy Year
Otava 2009

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.

 

Tatu and Patu in Helsinki // Tatu ja Patu Helsingissä

2012, Otava

By Aino Havukainen and Sami Toivonen

Now available for purchase in Finland! Akateeminen Suomalainen

Get ready for another rollicking ride with the boys from Oddsville, this time through the 2012 World Design Capital!



See also:

Tatu and Patu’s This is Finland (Published)

Tatu and Patu’s Adventures in Outer Space (Sample)

Tatu and Patu as Superheroes! (Sample)

Tatu and Patu’s Oddball Bedtime Book (Sample)

Tatu and Patu’s Amazing Alphabet (Sample)

The Human Part / Ihmisen osa

Ihmisen osa, Siltala, 2009.
From Finlandia Prize winning author Kari Hotakainen.

Runeberg Prize for fiction, 2010.
Prix Courrier International, 2011.

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 doing well, but the writer imagines less salubrious lives for them, as the downturn of Finland’s economic boom begins to bite. Perhaps he’s on to something.

The Human Part is pure laugh-out-loud satire, laying bare the absurdities of modern society in the most vicious and precise manner imaginable.

From the WSOY foreign rights guide:

A fearlessly tragic and deeply humorous novel about how, now more than ever, we buy and sell things with rhetoric. This is Kari Hotakainen at the top of his craft.

A writer buys a life from Salme Malmikunnas, an 80-year-old former yarn seller. You can get a lot for 7000 euros. Salme opens up and tells him everything the way she wants to remember it – the silence of her husband, Paavo, the accident that befell her daughter Helena, Maija’s marriage, and Pekka’s success in business. But will the author tell the story like they’d agreed? Can he resist the urge to write about subjects that are off limits? And is Salme telling the truth?

True to its title, the novel asks what the human part of life is. Its rich cast of characters answers this question in many voices. The novel takes the pulse of the present and builds on the past to portray a world where buying and selling are the order of the day. It sheds light on eternal truths about working life, both then and now. More than anything else, it’s talk that makes business run today. Instead of things like yarn, we now sell images. And when the words run out, it’s time for action.

Hotakainen is a prolific writer, but he has never produced anything quite like this. The Human Part is a rich, wide-ranging novel full of honest wisdom. It’s disarmingly moving and deeply humorous. The novel fearlessly grapples with today’s world and tries to understand it. That’s not possible without laughter. Or tears.

“Hotakainen is a skilled storyteller whose works are full of understated surprises. His humour is intelligent, transporting the reader from laughter to tears. Hotakainen’s books are not meant to be mindlessly devoured – but demand to be read in one sitting.”
Savon Sanomat, 2009

“Aesthetically, The Human Part is one of Hotakainen’s most complete works. Chapter by chapter, he builds his ideas about society like a jigsaw puzzle. Grotesque effects occasionally echo the author’s keen interpretations of the waning of hope and quality of life among modern Finns.”
Satakunnan Kansa, 2009

“Hotakainen delights in language and makes your shoulders shake with laughter.”
Aamulehti, 2009

“Definitely one of the author’s best books.”
Helsingin Sanomat, 2009

Wolves and Angels // Hukan enkelit

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!

Hatefully Yours — Jyrki Lehtola

Illustration: Joonas Väänänen

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…

Read the essay

Alpo Finds Alma // Alpo löytää Alman

Alpo Finds Alma by Jukka Lemmetty

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. Choose to listen along to charming narration by Sean Connolly, or read by yourself. Tap around the page to see secret animations, bringing Jukka Lemmetty’s illustrations to life!

Available in the Android Marketplace and iTunes Appstore!

Famingo review (4 out of 5 stars): “This super cute children’s book app is the first English translation of a popular Finnish book series. The story is fun, the drawings are cute and there is there is a lot of interactive content if you explore.”

Strange Things Afoot: The Animals’ World II

Strange Things Aftoot — The Animals’ World II
by Marsa Pihlaja

Annexus, Forthcoming

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 points of contact with human life. Colorful illustrations and amusing speech bubbles add spice to each hilarious page.

In the DID YOU KNOW? fact sections, an astute mole reports interesting, sometimes surprising things about the animals in the poems and the environment we share.

The first volume of the Animals’ World and its accompanying exhibition were nominated for the 2009 City of Helsinki Environmental Award. A dynamic exhibition based on this second volume is also on tour.

Come along for another wild adventure in the Animals’ World!

Also from Annexus Publishing:

Mother // Äiti

Are we stupid or what? — Jyrki Lehtola

Illustration: Joonas Väänänen

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.

The Heretic Essays // Kerettiläisesseet

Kari-Hukkila

The Heretic Essays, by Kari Hukkila

The Heretic Essays, by Kari Hukkila

Savukeidas, 2010

“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 a confrontation. Through modern Yemen and Algeria, Hukkila journeys to the Spain of the Middle Ages. He returns to modern Paris and his friend Hafed and reflects on Dostoyevsky’s Grand Inquisitor, Carl Schmitt, Romany beggars, the Picaresque novel, Spinoza’s converso background and ends up on Omaha Beach. Together, the subjects form a rich and splendid whole which shows that heretics have always been needed. By its wide-ranging scholarship and open thinking The Heretic Essays bring new aspects of thought to the debate around xenophobia, foreignness and the confrontation between cultures. Hukkila’s writing style is gently ironic and thoughtful, tender when speaking of friends but uncompromising and direct when faced with stupidity and cruelty.

“Kari Hukkila’s first literary work, the collection called The Heretic Essays is an extremely interesting and singularly irritating book. I have argued many days against Hukkila, on Hukkila’s behalf and with a vague understanding for Hukkila. The Heretic Essays consists of some ten essays. Their theme is one and the same and it couldn’t be of more current importance: immigration, what happens to people on the journey from one culture to another. Unlike most other participants in the current debate Hukkila also knows something of the subject. (…) The Heretic Essays brings quality, depth and nuances to the immigration debate.”

-Matti Mäkelä, Helsingin Sanomat

 

The Politics of Difference — Jyrki Lehtola

Chairman of the True Finns party Timo Soini at...

Homo sapiens populismus: Timo Soini of the True Finns Party. Image via Wikipedia

Illustration: Joonas Väänänen

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.

Read the essay.

 

Comics from Turku

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.

View the whole brochure (PDF 4.5 mb)

Mika Lietzén: Yesterday, Tomorrow (Eilen, huomenna), a graphic novel
Ave Koskela: Mr. Bastard’s Flower Book (Armaksen kukkakirja), a comic strip album
Anni Nykänen: Granny (Mummo), a comic strip
Tuuli Hypén: Nelly (Nanna), a comic strip
Jupu: Barbutterfly (Baarien nainen), a comic strip
Joonas Lehtimäki: Anonymous Animals (Anonyymit eläimet)

 

 

The Call of the Sagas / Saagojen kutsu

Pirius, 2010 (3rd Ed) by Pekka Piri

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…

The Call of the Sagas at the YLE Living Archive (Finnish)

www.callofthesagas.com


Pekka Piri

 

Are We Really Like This?

To be, or not, a true Finn? Illustration: Joonas Väänänen

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.

Link

On the Rocky Road to a Good Translation — Books from Finland

You get the picture? A translation error in China. Photo: Leena Lahti

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.

What Grade is Your Kid in?

Illustration: Joonas Väänänen

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.

Link

The Book of Angels / Enkelten kirja

Tammi, 2010

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 Vihan päivä (The Day of Wrath), to see deep into the human heart.

“Enkelten kirja is based mainly on sensory observations, thoughts, feelings and memories. The reader is compelled to remain attentive as the course of events and referential function of the story gradually become unveiled. – – It is nice to see a novel that places so much confidence in the power of words.”
– Parnasso

Markku Pääskynen — Book of Angels – Ch 1-3 (PDF)

Additional text from Books from Finland

Books from Finland Review

Markku Pääskynen on “Writing and not writing”

Strange Love / Outoa rakkautta

Turbator/Pelipeitto Oy, 2008

By Kirsti Ellilä

Read an excerpt.

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 books for children, teens, and adults. Her work in various genres ranges from ironic relationship stories to psychological thrillers, fantasy, and horror. Ellilä has also written science fiction short stories and three plays. Ellilä’s protagonists are female: girls, teenagers, and young women. She describes her characters’ lives, their strengths and weaknesses, through the means of irony and sarcasm, with a feminist spin.

Ellilä’s most recent novel, Life Preservers (Pelastusrenkaita, Karisto 2010), touches on the discussion within the Lutheran about the rights of sexual minorities, female ordination, divorce, and love affairs between middle-aged women and young men. Life Preservers is an independent sequel to the novel Priest on Board (Pappia kyydissä, Karisto 2009). Ellilä’s next work, a fairytale novel written for teens named Reetta and the Prisoners of the Castle (Reetta ja linnan vangit), will appear in fall 2010.

What the critics are saying about Kirsti Ellilä:

“The characters are regular mortals, quiet and conscientious everyday types, whose extravagant passions and sexual desires, as well as their most powerful dreams and visions, are revealed as the narrative progresses. … Ellilä’s genius is precisely in this mode of narration, in which the internal and secret passions of the absolutely average, everyday person float to the surface.” – Hömpän helmet women’s literature blog

“Ellilä builds the action of the book with a light touch” –Salla Vrunou, Etelä-Saimaa newspaper

“I recommend this for everyone, both as entertainment and to spark ideas and conversation.” – Kirjavinkit.fi book reviews

“Ellilä’s trump card, in addition to humor, is that she makes her protagonists multidimensional, interesting characters. She skillfully writes according to the conventions of the romance genre, yet at the same time modifying and turning those same conventions on their head.” – Sanojen aika, Helsinki City Library

Longing for Mars / Marsin ikävä

The incomparable debut collection from the Finnish science fiction guru.

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 fiction short story as literature addressing even the most sensitive of topics. However, Soikkeli’s short stories also include excitement, subdued humor, and dizzying speculation both about the development of the sciences and of society. The short stories in Longing for Mars are passionate studies of the possibilities of being human in a world of increasing technological advancement.

Markku Soikkeli (pen name M. G. Soikkeli, b. 1963) is a Finnish science fiction author and student of literature. Soikkeli holds a PhD and works at the Tampere University Department of Literature and Arts. Previously Soikkeli has served as a lecturer in Finnish literature at the University of Turku and as a visiting professor. Soikkeli also works as a critic, reviewing both film and literature. Soikkeli was the host of the Kirja A&Ö (‘Book ?&?’) television show until 2000.

“Soikkeli’s short story collection demonstrates that in skillful hands science fiction is like a vitamin shot straight to the brain, stimulating thought and opening up new worlds.” -Vesa Sisättö, Helsingin Sanomat newspaper

“This bewitching short story collection masterfully traverses several styles of science fiction.” -Tähtivaeltaja Prize committee statement

“Translated into English these stories would be good enough for presentation in the top markets abroad.” – Toni Jerrman, Tähtivaeltaja sci-fi magazine

Cover picture: Jukka Murtosaari 2007

Read the title short story, “Longing for Mars,” in English

Taking Offense / Mielensäpahoittaja

My translation of extracts from the collection of short prose, Mielensäpahoittaja (‘Taking offense’, WSOY, 2010) by Tuomas Kyrö were just published at Books from Finland.

The extracts at Books from Finland

Tuomas Kyrö at WSOY

Tuomas Kyrö’s blog

Muistiin punottua = Woven into Memory

Atena Kustannus OY. 2006. 119 pages.

Dual-language book about contemporary Finnish weaving and fiber art by Minna Koskinen, Anelma Savolainen, and Anna-Maria Väätäinen. I translated the Finnish portions into English. The pictures are stunning!

Listing at Suomalainen.com

The Ahtisaari Legacy: Resolve and Negotiate

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 the chapters out to them, with me acting as project manager and translation editor to ensure consistency in the translation. We did this on a very short time table (two weeks) in order to have the book ready for the ceremonies surrounding Mr. Ahtisaari’s receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Quoted here.

Suomalainen.com bookstore listing

Hot! Hot! Hot! / Hot: chiliä ja muita mauste-elämyksiä

Bonnier Books Ltd. 2008. 184 pages.

A cookbook by Marianne Kiskola and Sanna Miettunen (2006).

It’s this food blogger’s favorite cookbook! One of the recipes being prepared at Kitchenbutteryfly.com.

Suomalainen.com bookstore listing

Amazon.co.uk listing

Local News / Paikallisuutiset

Miles Conway

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.

Books from Finland

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 (2008).
“Night Decorator” [“Yösisustaja”] by Sari Mikkonen. 41:1 (2007).

Article by me on translating This is Finland.

Search my work online at Books from Finland.

This is Finland / Tatun ja Patun Suomi

Otava Publishing. 2007. 48 pages. In 5th printing.

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.

Sample pages:

Finnish oddities, Part 1: Sauna
Finnish oddities, Part 2: Rye bread
Tatu as Santa Claus

Article in Books from Finland (see links at left).

My article on the work of translating This is Finland.

Suomalainen.com bookstore listing.

Swift Moments Slowly Woven / Hitaasti kudotut nopeat hetket

Otava, 2006.

Finnish author Olli Jalonen’s doctoral dissertation on the creative process and association. I translated the English summary, which was also published in revised form in Books from Finland (3/06).

Olli Jalonen at Transcript

Entry at Books from Finland

The Animals’ World / Eläinten maa

Annexus Oy 2010

Written and illustrated by Marsa Pihlaja.
Translated by Owen F. Witesman

Environment-themed poems with eye-popping illustrations.

Sample from Annexus Publishing

Mother / Äiti

Forthcoming. Annexus Oy.

This is a book of mother-themed children’s poetry. More info when it goes to press!

The Sands of Sarasvati / Sarasvatin hiekkaa

The Sands of Sarasvati by Risto Isomaki

Risto Isomäki

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.

Another review.

Suomalainen.com bookstore listing

The Sands of Sarasvati by Risto Isomäki (graphic novel)

The Sands of Sarasvati by Risto Isomäki (graphic novel)

The Sands of Sarasvati by Risto Isomäki (graphic novel)


Also by this author:

The Sands of Sarasvati (novel version)

Hiding Places / Piiloutujan maa

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”.

PDF Sample

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.

A Fool’s Paradise / Hullun taivaassa

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, diligently records her dreams and childhood memories that intrude in the narrative like non sequiturs, and dabbles in astrology, which underscores that “everything has some diabolical purpose.” When her lover, Alexander, goes back to his wife, Vera, a Russian woman who reminds the narrator of capricious characters in Dostoyevski, the narrator grows obsessively jealous, invents an elaborate scenario between husband and wife, and, confronting her status as a castoff, muses darkly about the inequitable relations between men and women. This is Konkka’s first work to be translated into English. As rendered here, her prose is wonderfully cadenced and vivid; it establishes her nameless character as a memorable figure—not quite a cynic and not completely a sensualist, and none the wiser through experience.

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Overeducated, unemployed, recently dumped, and depressed, the 38-year-old nameless narrator is a familiar American character, except she’s Finnish. It is the 1980s, her married Russian lover has recently left her, and the narrator compulsively writes in her journal as she tries to put her life back together. Obsessed with omens, astrology, dreams, fortune-tellers, and other objects of the paranormal, the narrator is both funny and morose. Konkka does a masterful job of making the narrator’s internal romantic turmoil mirror the political turmoil in post-Communist Europe. Some political allusions seem to be lost in translation, but with references to writers from Lao Tzu to Yeats, Konkka’s crisp prose and understated humor transcend cultural limitations.

Marta Segal
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Interview with Anita Konkka.

A review.

Amazon listing.

Dictionary of Happiness

Petri Tamminen

Visa Infinite. 3 (2005): 72-73.

Based on an unpublished original short work by Petri Tamminen. This was an amusing project since both Petri and I are quite sure we will never be the sort of people who qualify for this credit card or afford anything advertised in the magazine.

Visa Infinite PDF

Hayhat, Feltslipper and the Big Bang / Heinähattu, Vilttitossu ja suuri pamaus

Cover of original CD

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.

The Altar Stone / Uhrikivi

Journal of Finnish Studies 7:1 (Aug 2003).

A short story by Hannu Raittila, from the collection Miesvahvuus (1999).

PDF

The Parson’s Family / Papin perhe

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).

The Parson’s Family by Minna Canth (Papin perhe — 2001 Translation) (PDF)

Invisible Pictures of Non-existent Objects

Mox Mäkelä/Finnish Public Radio (YLE).

Näkymättömiä kuvia olemattomista asioista, a radio play by Mox Mäkelä (2004).

Vox Bloody Populi

Illustration: Joonas Väänänen

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.

Link

Pleased to See Me?

Illustration: Joonas Väänänen

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…

Link