Rights Roundup: Don’t All Finns Have Reindeer?

In News by Porter Anderson

Our featured titles were first published in Swedish, Spanish, Norwegian, Catalan, German, and Dutch—and they include a diet book for those whose holidays might make such a guide come in handy.

Authors and illustrators with work represented in this Rights Roundup are, clockwise from upper left, Nina Burton; Juan José Millás; José Luis Arsuaga; Katharina Vestre, Linnea Vestre; Meritxell Martí; Xavier Salomó; Berhard Schlink; Felix Kreier; and Maarten Biezeveld

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

A New Agency Podcast from Helsinki
Here in our last Rights Roundup of 2020, we can offer  you Literature From Finland, a newly created podcast series for international audiences from the Helsinki Literary Agency.

Urtė Liepuoniūtė there tells us that the series is meant to shed light on Finnish literature and help call it to the attention of offshore publishers who may want to buy translation rights and produce the books in other languages and territories.

There are three podcasts in place so far, and you can find them here—or wherever you like to find your podcasts—with their attractive deep-red logo designed for them by Petri Latvala with Allesandro D’Anna’s specially composed theme music.

In the second of the three, author Juhani Karila, whose Fishing for the Little Pike we featured in our last Rights Roundup, talks about myths. He talks about how when he tells people that he’s originally from Lapland, lots of myths kick in, in people’s assumptions.

“I’m not some kind of a penguin,” he insists. “I didn’t spend my childhood in a snow cave. And we didn’t have reindeer.

Juhani Karila

“Okay,  my best friend had a reindeer.

“But that doesn’t mean everyone is having a reindeer.”

As well as the Finnish market does in exporting its literature to the world–particularly with the strong work of FILI, Finnish Literature Exchange headed up by Tiia Strandén–you’d think that the international stage is ready for it. But it seems that the folks in Helsinki feel they’re perhaps a bit challenged by mythology, themselves.

“After years of discussing Finnish literature with agents and publishers from all over the world,” the podcasts’ introduction reads, “we realized that it’s still somewhat of an enigma to others: northern, but not Scandinavian; western, but unlike anything you’ll find in Germany, France, the English-language world or anywhere else.

“So we decided to take the matter into our own hands.”

Urtė Liepuoniūtė

In the first and third installments before and after Karila’s reindeer-denialist episode, you can hear from author JP Pulkkinen on literary murders—did someone say Nordic noir?—and from Runeberg Prize-shortlisted author Selja Ahava on the importance of voice in writing.

A new episode comes along monthly, and if you’ve got a topic you’d like to hear addressed, drop a line to Urte at urte@helsinkiagency.fi.

Meanwhile, some very attractive holiday greetings are arriving from agencies and publishers, and we’ll send you off with this nice piece, Ruby Red, by Igor Moritz, sent from Munich to us by Andrea Seibert, Constanze Chory, Sonja Schmidt, Nicola Bieg, Monika Kick, Miriam Zimmer and Luise Hertwig at DTV Rights.

We hope you have a peaceful and safe conclusion to this very long and singular year and that 2021 will be a happier time for everyone.

And we still think Juhani has a reindeer.

‘Ruby Red’ (2019) by Igor Moritz. Image: DTV Rights, Munich

As in each roundup, we use some of the promotional copy supplied to us by agents and rights directors, editing that copy to give you an idea about a book’s nature and tone. If you’d like to submit a deal to Publishing Perspectives, see the instructions at the end of this article.

The Six Walls of Life

By Nina Burton

  • Publisher: Albert Bonniers Förlag, Stockholm
  • Rights contact: Elisabet Brännström, Bonnier Rights
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Slovenian: Mladinska
  • Danish: Kristeligt Dagblad Forlag
  • Dutch: Van Oorschot
  • Finnish: Schildts & Söderström
  • German: btb Verlag
  • Korean: Open Books
  • Slovak: Ikar
  • Japanese: Soshisha
  • Polish: Burda

“What begins with a renovation of Nina Burton’s summer cottage swiftly turns into an exploration of nature, life, and philosophy.

“Within the walls, ceiling and floor of the cottage and in its surrounding garden, we encounter a host of animals—ants, honey bees, foxes, squirrels, blackbirds, badgers, pigeons, and deer—making her house their home.

“This prompts Nina to explore what’s awe-inspiring and often delightfully surprising in each species.”

Life, Told by Homo Sapiens to a Neanderthal

By Juan José Millás and José Luis Arsuaga

  • Publisher: Alfaguara, Madrid
  • Rights contact: Gabriela Ellena Castellotti, Casanovas & Lynch
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Pending offers in Portugal and for World English
  • Italy: Rizzoli
  • Turkey: Kakfa
  • Korea: Teumsae Books

“Questions about life, its origins, and its evolution drove Juan José Millás’ to meet one of the greatest specialists in the field, Juan Luis Arsuaga–a chance to ask why we are the way we are and what has brought us to where we are.”

This book brings together “the paleontologist’s wisdom and the writer’s inventiveness.”

The Animal Book of Records

By Katharina Vestre
Illustrated by Linnea Vestre

  • Publisher: Aschehoug, Oslo
  • Rights contact: Evy Tillman, Oslo Literary Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest –  Pending offer in Russian
  • Dutch: Querido
  • World Spanish: Biblos Minamenau
  • Chinese (simplified): Post Wave
  • Turkish: Domingo

Illustrated nonfiction for readers 5 years and up.

“Edutainment for everyone who wants to learn about the most fascinating animals on earth. Full of fun facts, and every spread is illustrated and designed to give the reader a new experience.”

Format: 9.6 inches by 13.3 inches, 90 pages.

Under the Waves
(Sota les onades)

By Meritxell Marti
Illustrated by Xavier Salomó

  • Publisher: Editorial Flamboyant SL, Barcelona
  • Rights contact: Marina Huguet – Editorial Flamboyant S.L.
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Korean: Spring Garden Publishing
  • German: Jacoby & Stuart
  • Worldwide French:
  • Canada: Éditions 400 Coups

“Here are multiple layers of meaning in an apparently simple story full of love.

“An apparently common encounter at sea reveals the inner conflict of the two main characters. There’s only one thing to do: Dive to the depths of the ocean, seeking hidden treasure, and look attentively with eyes wide open.

“In this way, we might discover what we’re capable of, how wonderful life is, and what really matters.”


By Bernhard Schlink

  • Publisher: Diogenes Verlag, Zurich
  • Rights contact: Susanne Bauknecht, Diogenes Verlag AG
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – English/USA: HarperVia
  • Arab world rights: Masaa
  • China (mainland): Thinkingdom
  • Croatia: Vorto Palabra
  • Czech Republic: Euromedia
  • French world rights: Gallimard
  • English/UK: Weidenfeld & Nicolson
  • Georgia: Intelekti
  • Greece: Kritiki
  • Hungary: 21. Század
  • Iceland: Forlagid
  • Italy: Neri Pozza
  • Japan: Shinchosha
  • Korea: Sigongsa
  • Macedonia: Ili-Ili
  • Netherlands: Cossee
  • Norway: Gyldendal Norsk
  • Poland: REBIS
  • Portugal: ASA/Leya
  • Romania: Polirom
  • Russia: Azbooka-Atticus
  • Serbia: Plato
  • Slovenia: Beletrina
  • Spanish world rights: Anagrama
  • Thailand: Library House
  • Turkey: Dogan Egmont
  • Ukraine: Hemiro

“A man without hope loses himself in African and Arctic escapades, driven by the power-hungry dreams of his time. He can confront reality only in failure, like so many of his generation.

“She remains tied to him throughout her life—in thought, letters, and a great rebellion.

“This is the story of their love, entwined with the twisting paths of German history, leading us from the late 19th to the early 21st century, from Germany to Africa and the Arctic, from the Baltic Sea to Southwest Germany.”

The Hamster Brain Method: How To Lose Weight in a Sustainable Manner

By Felix Kreier and Maarten Biezeveld

  • Publisher: Bertram + De Leeuw, Haarlem
  • Rights contact: 2 Seas Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sale:

  • Germany: Graefe & Unzer, at auction

“Two doctors explain how to reach weight loss goals in a sustainable way.

“When we decide to lose weight and start a new diet, different areas in the brain come into conflict with one another. The more rapid the weight loss, the bigger the conflict and the smaller the likelihood of successful and lasting weight loss.

“By aligning the different areas of the brain, the ‘hamster brain method’ will help you reach your goals of health and lifelong weight maintenance.”

Submit Rights Deals to Publishing Perspectives

Do you have rights deals to report? Agents and rights directors can use our rights deal submission form to send us the information we need. If you have questions, please send them to Porter@PublishingPerspectives.com

Titles we choose to list must have both cover images and author images available. If there’s an illustrator or translator, we’d like that person’s photo as well. We prefer color.

In supplying these assets to us, please don’t use WeTransfer or other similar links–they may expire before we can process a submission.

In a sale listing, we require not only the language/territory into which the title has been sold but also the name of the publisher to which the title has been sold in that territory. The correct format is:

  • Country, Language or Territory: Publisher

If we have used a submission from you in the past, please do not submit that same title again to us without an explanation of why you think it deserves another look.

We look forward to hearing from you.

More of Publishing Perspectives‘ rights roundups are here, and more from us on international rights trading is here. More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.