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Runeberg Prize goes to Quynh Tran for debut novel

En mörkhårig man i gul tröja som läser en bok.
Runeberg Prize winner Quynh Tran is from Jakobstad, on the west coast. Image: Barbro Ahlstedt
Yle News

This year's Runeberg prize was given to Quynh Tran, an author from Jakobstad, for his work Skugga och svalka (English translation Shadow and Coolness).

The book reflects his own background, telling the story of a Vietnamese family in a coastal Ostrobothnian town. Tran himself grew up in Jakobstad, where his family moved from Vietnam in 1989.

"Tran's novel does not accuse or offer ready explanations, but gives the reader a chance to interpret for themselves. The distinctively-voiced novel is a refreshing addition to Finnish literature, a varied and beautiful package."

32-year-old Tran said he was shocked to get this recognition for his very first work.

"I don't quite believe it yet," he told Yle. "The prize is a really big surprise. I have only just gotten used to the idea that people read a book that I've written."

The prize is worth 20,000 euros and is awarded by the Uusimaa newspaper, the city of Porvoo, the Union of Finnish writers, the the Finnish Critics' Association and the Society of Swedish Authors in Finland.

The first prize was given in 1986 and is handed out on Runeberg Day, the annual celebration of Johan Ludvig Runeberg, one of the national poets of Finland who also has a cake named in his honour.

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