Saturday, February 14, 2015

Kati's got a Clue!

Interviewing Kati Hiekkapelto at the
Bloody Scotland festival last September
News is just coming in that Kati Hiekkapelto has won the Vuoden Johtolanka (Clue) Award, which is given annually to the best Finnish crime fiction novel by the Dekkariseura (Finnish Crime Society). Kati has won for her thriller THE DEFENCELESS, the sequel to THE HUMMINGBIRD, which has been translated into English.

While Sweden seems to be the country most people associate with the 'Scandinavian crime wave' of recent years, Finland has had many terrific crime writers for decades (they aren't just popping up as part of a new trend). Though, in fairness, most haven't been available in English, so have been overlooked by world media.

The Clue Award has been awarded since 1985, and beginning in 1993, the society also recognised a foreign author, whose work has been translated into Finnish.

Past Finnish winners who are available to read in English include Harri Nykanen, Antti Tuomainen, Jarkko Sipila, and Matti Joensuu. Authors from other countries who have won the 'in translation' prize include Denise Mina, Dennis Lehane, Ian Rankin, PD James, Hakan Nesser, Jo Nesbo, John Le Carre, and Arnaldur Indridason. A heck of a line-up.

It's an exciting time for Kati: THE DEFENCELESS was one of the top 10 bestselling books in Finland last year, and has been picked up for translation and publication in English by new specialist publisher Orenda Books (which is bringing some truly fantastic books to the British and wider market). I know Karen Sullivan from Orenda is very excited about Kati's writing, and is bringing her over for several events in the UK this year, including Newcastle Noir, Crimefest, and Bloody Scotland.

I was first introduced to Kati at Bloody Scotland last September, having randomly met her on the train on the way up from London, then interviewing her at the event (see photo above). She is an incredibly interesting and fun person, along with being a very good storyteller. She sings in a punk rock band, does performance art in a wedding dress, teaches special needs kids, and lives on an old farm on the island of Hailuoto in Northern Finland. Quite the renaissance woman.

Orenda Books will publish THE DEFENCELESS in September (translated by David Hackston).

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