Independent Publishers: Finland’s Siltala Acquires Teos

In News by Porter Anderson

Both ‘known for their ambitious, literary publishing lists,’ Siltala and Teos are forming new independent heavyweight in Finnish publishing.

Touko Siltala, left, and Aleksi Siltala, right, founded Siltala Publishing in 2008. Heikki Herlin, center, has been the majority owner of Teos Publishing, established in 2003, and now becomes one of the main owners of Siltala. Image: Helsinki Literary Agency

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

‘Immensely Well-Known in the Literary Field’
The Helsinki Literary Agency, originally held by four publishing houses, now is owned by three, the result of an acquisition.

As agent Urpu Strellman tells Publishing Perspectives, Teos has been acquired by Siltala, bringing together two of what she describes as “Finland’s maybe best known and most visible” independent houses under one roof.

“Both Siltala and Teos,” Strellman says, “have become well-established and immensely well-known in the literary field here since they started” in 2008 and 2003, respectfully. “Both are known for their ambitious, literary publishing lists and awarded authors.

“In our small, 5.5-million person market where Swedish-owned Bonnier (the houses WSOY and Tammi) and Otava have been acquiring middle-sized and small publishing houses—and where the third largest, Gummerus, was some time ago acquired by Swedish Storytel—the teaming-up of these two independent publishers is big news, and very welcome, too.”

Urpu Strellman

At the Siltala house, Touko Siltala and Aleksi Siltala both are long-term publishers, Strellman points out.

“Touko was the head of fiction and Aleksi the head of nonfiction at Finland’s then-largest publishing house WSOY when they left and founded Siltala in 2008, followed by some winners of Finland’s biggest literary award, the Finlandia Prize – which is to say bestselling authors.”

And Teos, Strellman says, founded with an enormous amount of buzz and interest, quickly became a prize-magnet, itself, “gathering a huge number of the big literary awards—way too many in regard to its size.”

Some of the key award-winning authors associated with Siltala are Kari Hotakainen, Pirkko Saisio, and Iida Rauma. Siltala is also the Finnish publisher of César Aira, Lyudmila Ulitskaya, Jonathan Franzen, George Saunders, and the late David Foster Wallace.

Teos, founded by the late Silja Hiidenheimo and Niklas Herlin, is the publishing home to Juha Hurme, Riikka Pelo, Mikko Rimminen, and Leena Krohn. Teos is the Finnish publisher of the late Hilary Mantel, Thomas Bernhard, László Krasznahorkai, Jorge Luis Borges, and Clarice Lispector.

Helsinki Literary Agency, especially familiar to followers of our Rights Roundups series, was established in 2017 as a joint venture of publishing houses Gummerus, Schildts & Söderströms, and Teos. Siltala became a shareholder in the agency in 2019.

At London Book Fair (March 12 to 14), Helsinki Literary Agency will be found at B9 and B10.

More from Publishing Perspectives on the Finnish market is here, more on literary agents is here, and more on international rights and trading is here. Our Rights Roundup series 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 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.