Winner of 2020 Petrona Award announced – a first for Finnish crime
The winner of the 2020 Petrona Award for the Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year is:
LITTLE SIBERIA by Antti Tuomainen, translated from the Finnish by David Hackston and published by Orenda Books.
As well as a trophy, Antti Tuomainen receives a pass to and a guaranteed panel at CrimeFest 2022. Antti Tuomainen and David Hackston will also receive a cash prize.
The judges’ statement on LITTLE SIBERIA:
Antti Tuomainen’s LITTLE SIBERIA stood out on the shortlist for all of the judges. From its arresting opening, in which a meteorite unexpectedly lands on a speeding car, to its very human depiction of a pastor grappling with private and theological crises, this is a pitch-perfect comic crime novel with considerable depth and heart.
The first Finnish crime novel to receive the Petrona Award, LITTLE SIBERIA is a particularly fitting winner for 2020 – a year in which life was turned upside down. A celebration of resilience, fortitude and simply muddling through, it is a novel for our times.
David Hackston’s fine translation captures LITTLE SIBERIA’S depictions of an icy northern Finland and its darkly comic tone, skilfully showcasing the writing of one of Scandinavia’s most versatile and original crime authors. LITTLE SIBERIA is published by Orenda Books, one of the UK’s foremost independent publishers, which consistently champions international and translated crime fiction.
Comments from the winning author, translator and publisher:
Antti Tuomainen (author):
To make a long story short, I have to make it long first. A few years ago, after publishing five very dark and very noir books, I felt there was an element within me I had to bring into my writing: humour. Before my first darkly funny book The Man Who Died was published I was very nervous. Was I making a big mistake? One of those career choices you read about in artists' biographies under the chapter title 'The Fall'? Not that anyone would write about me, as I would be forgotten, found much later in a basement room, alone, perished in the middle of a last 'humorous' sentence … Happily, I was wrong, and not for the first time. Which seems to bring us to Little Siberia. It is my eighth book and now the recipient of the prestigious Petrona Award. When I set out to write a darkly comical crime novel with a priest as main character, I knew I was taking a leap – again. Alas, here we are. I want to thank David Hackston and Karen Sullivan, both incomparable and indispensable, as without them all the jury would have had was a book in Finnish with no idea who sent it. I send my warmest thank you to the ladies and gentlemen of the jury. Oh, and that shorter story: after fifteen years of writing and nine books, it seems I'm finally an overnight success.
David Hackston (translator):
I'm extremely honoured to receive the Petrona Award 2020, not least because of the illustrious, formidable company on the shortlist. Many congratulations to all the authors and especially to my fellow translators – my co-conspirators in bringing Nordic writing to English-speaking readers. My thanks to the panel and a huge, heartfelt thank you to Orenda Books, without whom none of this would be possible. Of course, behind every good translation is an excellent original text, and in this respect Antti Tuomainen is the gift that keeps on giving. Kiitos, Antti; thanks for the laughs thus far. Long may it continue.
Karen Sullivan (Orenda Books):
We are honoured and absolutely thrilled by the news that Little Siberia has won this prestigious award – quite possibly the only designated award for Scandinavian crime fiction in English – and it feels fitting that in such a difficult year, Antti's beautifully written, funny, philosophical and exquisitely plotted thriller has been chosen. Antti has pushed the crime genre in so many exciting directions, and I applaud the judges for making such a bold and perfect choice. It can be no easy feat to translate Finnish and yet David Hackston has once again produced an elegant, pitch-perfect translation, and we are so delighted that his work has been rewarded in this way.
The judges would also like to highly commend THE SILVER ROAD by Stina Jackson, translated from the Swedish by Susan Beard and published by Corvus (Atlantic Books).
The Petrona team would like to thank our sponsor, David Hicks, for his generous and continued support of the 2020 Petrona Award.