Four prose writers, all with solid theatrical backgrounds, rose to the top of the exceptionally high-level competition.
Helsingin Sanomat has won the award for the best debut work written in Finnish in the year Terhi Kokkonen with a novel Marches (Big Dipper).
Read more: When Terhi Kokkonen heard that he had won the HS Literature Prize, he himself was surprised by his strong reaction: “Decades of pressure eased”
According to the jury, “concise and multidimensional Marches starts like a psychological thriller, but soon breaks all expectations of what is happening between people and in their consciousness ”.
In the work, a well-to-do couple flies to a snow holiday in Lapland, looks through nature through glass and loses the gestures of their elitism from a holiday paradise to a test laboratory of the human mind.
“Kokkonen leaves the reader with power by showing only the magic mountain of emotions, experiences and motives,” the explanatory statement praises.
“In Kokkonen’s side characters, in a rich and psychologically accurate description, people can be strange, lewd and at the same time infinitely ordinary. Contradictions and a mystery-like atmosphere remain in place, as is part of the best, permanently fascinating tradition of prose. ”
Born in 1974, Terhi Kokkonen is a musician and playwright from Helsinki.
A video of Terhi Kokkonen’s victory speech can be viewed in connection with this article.
Second in the competition ranked two works: Marko Järvikallas (b. 1970) collection of short stories Where to go here (Siltala) and Milja Sarkolan (b. 1975) novel My capital (Work).
Marko Järvikallas “sees precisely the reasons that plunge the central person of each story into a strange, twisted or at least unfavorable behavior for himself”, the jury characterizes the messenger of humanity and mercy.
Järvikallas’ “fifteen strong short stories are united by the theme of everyday change: the women, men and young people of the short stories have no choice but to blindly reach towards the unknown, even though it may be a gap”.
Despite her horror, Milja Sarkola’s humorous novel examines the impact of hegemonic structure on the individual. “Art is seen as an area of freedom and rebellion, but it is everything else: in the yoke of money plus social power relations,” the award justification states.
“Even a fool, as well as the artist himself. It is easy to identify with the generously caricatured protagonist of the work. ”
Unusually ranked fourth in the fierce competition Janne Saarakkalan (b. 1972) novel Happily Ever After (Like). According to the jury, it is “a joyful, apt, charming and, of course, in some places also depressed longitudinal cut of the time that was to be brought to the generation born in the 1970s by the revolution of freedom”.
In addition to the excellent level of power this year, it is also exceptional that all four of the best of the race have a solid theatrical background. In addition to Kokkonen, Järvikallas is also a playwright and playwright, while Sarkola is a theater director and playwright. Saarakkala is a director, screenwriter and performer.
All in all In 2020, 80 firstborns appeared, which is the usual number for recent years. Of these, the jury selected ten for the final competition: seven novels, two works of poetry and one collection of short stories.
The prize, EUR 15,000, continues the tradition of the J. H. Erko’s first book prize, awarded in 1964–1994.
The jury included journalists Suvi Ahola, Arla Kanerva, Sanna Kangasniemi, Antti Majander (chairman) as well as the author Eino Santanen and last year’s winner of the competition, the poet Jouni Teittinen.