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Tieto-Finlandia non-fiction award for Mirkka Lappalainen

The 2014 Tieto-Finlandia award was granted to historian and lecturer Mirkka Lappalainen for her engaging account of the reign of Swedish King Gustav II Adolf and its impact on Finland. Lappalainen beat out five other finalists for the 30,000-euro prize.

Mirkka Lappalainen Tieto-Finlandia-palkinnon jakotilaisuudessa
Mirkka Lappalainen was the winner of the 2014 Tieto-Finlandia Award. Image: Yle

The choice for the 2014 Tieto-Finlandia prize was made by information sciences docent Heikki Hellman. In selecting the winner Hellman tipped his hat to the work of all of the authors shortlisted for the prize.

“I’ve been in a privileged position. I have been able to read six extraordinary works of non-fiction selected by the panel with good reason. This has been a satisfying and eye-opening task. I read the books one after the other over a period of six days,” Hellman remarked.

However it was Mirkka Lappalainen's "The Lion of the North, Gustav II Adolf and Finland 1611 - 1632" (Pohjolan leijona, Kustaa II Adolf ja Suomi 1611-1632).

The chief judge said that award-winner Mirkka Lappalainen succeeded in creating an enthralling read about the early years of the 1600s, and in so doing had met all the criteria required for the prize.

“The narrative of Lion of the North is an exceptionally skillfully-written work of non-fiction. The writer was able to artfully weave together previous literature as well as numerous original and printed sources. We get a tangible sense of life in examples such as the many delectable cases that came before the courts of appeal,” Hellman continued.

According to the docent however, Lion of the North is more than just a good story. It’s non-fiction that sucks us in and helps us understand where we came from and who we are,” he said in announcing the winner.

Valued at 30,000 euros, the Tieto-Finlandia non-fiction award was first conferred in 1989 to writers of non-fiction or educational books.

Lappalainen a recipient of many awards

Writer Mirkka Lappalainen has received recognition for her non-fiction writing in the past. Her book, "The world’s heaviest money" (Maailman painavin raha) was honoured as the non-fiction book of the year in 2007.

Another work, "Wolf Mass" (Susimessu) was voted history book of the year in 2009 and recognised with the Lauri Jäntti prize and the Urho Kekkonen award in 2010. She also received the state award for public information in 2013.

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