The Finlandia award is an annual literary award in Finland. There are three prizes: Finlandia Award for the best novel, Finlandia Junior Award for the best children’s book, and Tieto-Finlandia award for the best non-fiction book (tieto means knowledge).
It’s the most prestigious literary award in Finland and the winners get 30,000 € each. Only Finnish citizens may enter the competition but the work can be in Finnish or Swedish (our two official languages). The winner is chosen by one judge (different for each award) from six options decided by a jury of three.
The awards were given this week and the winners were:
Finlandia: Jussi Valtonen – He eivät tiedä mitä tekevät (‘They don’t know what they’re doing‘)
Joe, an American neuroscientist, moves from the United States to Finland to be with his Finnish wife Alina. Life in the new country is hard and the marriage doesn’t end up great – Joe goes back to America, leaving behind not just Alina but their son, Samuel, as well. The book then follows their struggles throughout the years.
Finlandia Junior: Maria Turtschaninoff – Maresi: Punaisen luostarin kronikoita (‘Maresi. Chronicles of the red monastery‘)
This is more for teens than children, but this fantasy novels tells about Maresi, a girl living in a monastery which acts like a safe haven for women/girls. One day a new girl, Jai, comes to the monastery, running away from her father. The core theme of the story is about getting to know yourself and finding your purpose in life.
Tieto-Finlandia: Mirkka Lappalainen – Pohjolan Leijona. Kustaa II Adolf ja Suomi 1611-1632 (‘The Lion of the North. Gustav II Adolf and Finland 1611-1632‘)
The books tells about Gustavus II Adolf, the King of Sweden (and Finland) from 1611 to 1632, and how life was at the start of the 1600’s. To sum up: war, poverty, violence, persecution, and a young, charismatic king becoming one of the greatest military commanders of all time.
As far as I can tell, none of the books are in English and I’m not sure if there are plans for translating them, but I wanted to mention them in any case, since the award is very famous in Finland. So congratulations to all the winners!