The Heretic Essays // Kerettiläisesseet

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


Finncon Report

General Thoughts:

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 Richard Morgan, were excellent, doing the opposite of what I described above: he not only gave concrete tips on successful writing, he was also generally encouraging of new authors.

All your con program are belong to us.

Panel on Finnish Science Fiction, Fantasy and Comic Books:

While at Finncon I participated in a panel on literary exports with Irma Hirsjärvi, Toni Jerrman and Cheryl Morgan, moderated by Maria Säntti. My main message was that speculative fiction is not marginal literature in the English-speaking world, especially the United States, and that there is room for foreign authors who play the game.

What is the game? To get published, you write a great book that will have international appeal, prepare a query letter, synopsis, and sample translation in English, and send them to lots and lots of people you have access to through the contacts (or an agent) are constantly making because you’ve overcome your shyness for the sake of selling your book.

And for goodness sakes, use qualified native translators and editors. It matters.

Shameless self-promotion is encouraged! (It’s called advertising)

Some reaction to the panel (in Finnish).

Speculative Fiction Translation Seminar

Prior to Finncon, Burning Bridge Literary Agency hosted a translation seminar focused on speculative fiction and comics taught by yours truly and attended by Claire Saint-Germain (France), Kristian London (US), Alexandra Stang (Germany), Mattias Huss (Sweden), and Ave Leek (Estonia), all up-and-coming literary translators. The seminar was a great success–special thanks to the organizers, Maria Säntti, Terhi Hannula, and Annukka Vähäsöyrinki, as well as our special guests, cartoonist Joonas Lehtimäki and sci-fi author M.G. Soikkeli. Also Petteri Oja of Zum Teufel Press and the Turku Sarjakuvakauppa (“comic shop”) for letting us invade his shop on short notice.

Big in Finland--Julia hamming it up with the one translation I wish I would have asked for royalties on.


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 line so we can meet up!

Essays on Desire and Doubt / Halun ja epäluulon esseet

Essays on Desire and Doubt Cover
Essays on Desire and Doubt Cover
Essays on Desire and Doubt by Antti Nylén
Author Antti Nylén
Antti Nylén

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.

His first book, Vihan ja katkeruuden esseet (Essays on Anger and Bitterness, Savukeidas 2007) won the Kalevi Jäntti Prize for Literature in 2007 and was nominated for the Helsingin Sanomat Best Debut Book Award. In this polemical essay collection, Nylén writes about neckties, sex, crazy bitches, meat, pop, and God.

Antti Nylén’s second essay collection, Halun ja epäluulon esseet (Essays on Desire and Doubt, Savukeidas 2010) examines Nico, Morrissey, the possibility of being saved, buttocks, Robert Bresson, strange sensuality, religion and irreligiosity. The book received rave reviews and was nominated for the Runeberg Prize for Literature for 2010.

“Desire is pleasure in and of itself; need is a state of deprivation and distress.”

“Doubt is not-belief. Nonetheless, it is not a knowing. Doubt is a synonym for faith.”

Read the essay “On the Possiblity of Salvation” at Burning Bridge

About Essays on Desire and Doubt:

Antti Nylén’s second essay collection, Essays on Desire and Doubt, examines Nico, Morrissey, the possibility of being saved, buttocks, Robert Bresson, strange sensuality, religion and irreligiosity. These freely-meandering essays are often obstinate and always emotional.

“I hope that everyone who reads the book will become a vegetarian. And if ever before they’ve been hostile to Christianity, that they will think two friendly thoughts about it, about Jesus and the church,” Nylén has said in an interview (Uusimaa 17.1.2011).

Essays on Desire and Doubt received rave reviews and was nominated for the Runeberg Prize for Literature for 2010.

“Desire is pleasure in and of itself; need is a state of deprivation and distress.”

“Suspicion is not-belief. Nonetheless, it is not a knowing. Suspicion is a synonym for faith.”

Original title: Halun ja epäluulon esseet
Publisher: Savukeidas 2010, 393 pages
Cover design: Antti Eerikäinen

Even though this will not please everyone, after Antti Nylén’s second collection, Essays on Desire and Doubt, we are forced to admit that the young essayists at Savukeidas are writing the most interesting, intellectually challenging, sociophilosophically insightful literature being produced in Finland today
– Matti Mäkelä, Helsingin Sanomat newspaper

Even though Nylén shuns the irony characteristic of contemporary prose, his sentences exude laconic flair and black humor.
– Jussi Kaskinen, Etelä-Saimaa newspaper

The best thing in Nylén’s essays is that you can appreciate them even if you don’t agree with him. Books that make you want to fling them against the wall don’t come along very often.
– Marja Honkonen, Jyväskylän Ylioppilaslehti college newspaper

In recent decades the Finnish literature have been keeping their distance from Christianity. — – As a result, Essays on Desire and Doubt, by the versatile man of letters Antti Nylén, feels like the inauguration of a new epoch.
– Esko Miettinen, Sana Christian magazine

The power [of the essays] is in the ideas, in Nylén’s way of thinking differently than what we are used to. Essays offer something invigorating, comforting. They are invigorating. It isn’t true that there is nothing new under the sun. There is here.
– Lauri Linna, Scriptor

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)



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.” – 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