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.
This year’s Finlandia Junior prize for literature has been awarded to Vilja-Tuulia Huotarinen (b. 1977) for her young adult novel Light, Light, Light.
Awarded by the Finnish Book Publisher’s Association for outstanding children’s and young adult literature, this year’s prize was decided upon by musician Paula Vesala. The size of the award is 30,000 euros.
“Huotarinen doesn’t underestimate her reader, instead delivering a broadside,” Vesala said in her award speech.
“The narrative approach, which boarders on poetry, increases the power of the discussion of suicide. The text includes space for one’s own ideas and interpretations, but at the same time, as if to help and protect the young reader, the rapid distancing feels like an absolutely ingenious solution given the topic and probable age of the readership.”
Huotarinen is a lyricist and young adult writer from Tampere. Prior to this winning novel she has published three collections of poetry as well as the Silja trilogy, also for young adults.
She is a previous winner of both the Union of Finnish Writers and Kalevi Jäntti prizes.
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 meet in the middle of the oven and the current rose at the centre of the top of the oven, coming forward into the chimney that led from the brow of the oven up to the roof.”
Summer comes. Although the oven is finished, the building continues. It’s about life, its continuation, permanence and transience. About the grasp of life that comes from doing.
Award-winning author Antti Hyry, one of our most esteemed writers, published his breakthrough novel, He Started from the Highway, in 1958. His 1999 The Granary was a nominee for the Finlandia Prize.
The Oven is Hyry’s tenth novel.
Antti Hyry’s texts have been published in thirteen languages, by Hinstorff (Germany) and Bonniers (Sweden), among others.
In Hyry’s novel, the reader’s interest is not directed to a plot or character portraits. There are no dramatic turning points in this description of the construction of a baking oven. On the surface, Hyry’s writing is reminiscent of the kinds of modernists who build their texts on simple perceptions of the world of objects in order to emphasize incompleteness in their sketches of the world. Instead, the person in Hyry’s book is taking concrete steps to establish a home in the world. His tasks gain their significance from the meaningful places of life in its entirety. This portrait of everyday life thus opens out into a cosmos where the central character is living the life he was meant to live.