Pushkin Press is to publish Land of Snow and Ashes by Finnish debut novelist Petra Rautiainen as a lead title in 2022.
Publisher Adam Freudenheim acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from Leenastiina Kakko at Rights & Brands. Commenting on the sale, Kakko said: "It's exceptional that English rights for a Finnish debut novel are sold prior to original publication. In fact, this is the first time ever.” Rights in Rautiainen’s novel have also been sold to Suhrkamp (Germany), Marsilio Editori (Italy) and Meridiaan UItgevers (The Netherlands), prior to the original Finnish publication in mid-August.
Freudenheim said: “I’m thrilled to have acquired Land of Snow and Ashes, a novel that opens a whole new window on an otherwise familiar chapter of history. Just as importantly, it does so by telling a gripping story and with fully developed characters. I can’t wait for readers to ‘land’ in Lapland when Land of Snow and Ashes arrives as a lead title for Pushkin in early 2022.”
The book is set in Lapland during and after the Second World War. The synopsis states: "The beauty of the Arctic nature contrasts with the brutal actions conducted both at a secret Nazi prison camp during and against the indigenous Sámi people after the war. The novel moves in time between the diary notes of soldier and interpreter Väinö in 1944 and reporter and photographer Inkeri’s investigative journalism in the late 1940s as she reports on Lapland’s post-war reconstruction."
Rautiainen (pictured) has a background in history and cultural studies and is currently working on her doctoral theses on representations of the Sámi people in the Finnish media. “For me, writing is a way to try to understand the world, as well as a way to construct a world," she said.