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Stiff competition for 2016 Finlandia literary award

A panel of judges pored through more than 100 new novels to narrow down the finalists for this year’s prestigious Finlandia Book Prize. The six authors short-listed for the award have offered readers moving stories about history, relationships and the arts.

Kirjallisuuden Finlandia -palkintoehdokkaat.
Nominees for the 2016 Finlandia Prize for Fiction, from left: Jukka Viikilä, Emma Puikkonen, Riku Korhonen, Peter Sandström, Tommi Kinnunen and Sirpa Kähkönen. Image: Jarno Kuusinen / AOP

The three-person panel appointed by the Finnish Book Foundation faced a gruelling task this year as they sifted through more than 100 novels to select finalists for the 2016 Finlandia Book Prize.

This year’s hardworking jury included Yle journalist Juha Roiha, ex-department store director Päivi Kuntze and translator Kaijamari Sivill. They nominated six writers to vie for the 30,000-euro prize.

The nominees include Tommi Kinnunen for his sophomore novel The Light Behind the Eyes (Lopotti), Riku Korhonen for his sixth work, We Don't Believe in Evil  Anymore (Emme enää usko pahaan) and Sirpa Kähkönen, for The Summer of the Tanks (Tankkien kesä), the seventh installation in a history-based series.

Emma Puikkonen’s European Dreams (Eurooppalaiset unet) also captured the judges’ imagination, as did Swedish-Finnish author Peter Sandström's Laudatur and poet Jukka Viikilä for Watercolours from the City of Engel (Akvarelleja Engelin kaupungista). Up until 1993, any literary work was eligible for the shortlist, but since then it has only been awarded to novels.

Television presenter Baba Lybeck will select the winner, who will be announced on November 24 - traditionally fuelling pre-Christmas sales. The winners of the Finlandia Prize for Non-fiction and the Finlandia Junior prizes will also be announced at the same occasion.

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