A Finnish edition of Hassan Blasim’s collected short stories, published in 2013 and brought into Finnish by translator Sampsa Peltonen, is on the finalist’s list for the 2016 HelMet Literary Prize:
Blasim’s collection, Irakin Purkkajeesus, is the only non-Scandinavian book on the ten-book list. According to Peltonen, “Hassan’s book…is the only one originally written in a non-national language, but Hassan is considered a Finnish writer, so he qualifies for the competition.”
The criteria — beyond literary excellence — are that the book must be by a Finnish writer and published within the past five years. Blasim was granted asylum in Finland in 2004; he recently became a citizen.
Helsinki-area library patrons can vote for their favorite through the end of August, and a winner is set to be announced on September 15, 2016. The winner will be take home a “golden” library card and €1,000.
The full list, as provided on the HelMet Literary Prize website:
1. Aalto, Ilari & Helkala, Elina: Matkaopas keskiajan Suomeen (Atena 2015)
2. Anttila, Juhani & Perhoniemi, Tuukka: Popin ja pikkukarhun avaruusmatka (Ursa 2014)
3. Blasim, Hassan: Irakin purkkajeesus (WSOY 2013)
4. Honkalinna, Mika: Korppiretki (Maahenki 2015)
5. Jalonen, Olli: Miehiä ja ihmisiä (Otava 2014)
6. Kirkkopelto, Katri: Molli (Lasten keskus 2013)
7. Krohn, Leena: Hotel Sapiens (Teos 2013)
8. Ollikainen, Aki: Nälkävuosi (Siltala 2012)
9. Rauma, Iida: Seksistä ja matematiikasta (Gummerus 2015)
10. Sandström, Peter: Transparente blanche (S&S 2014). Suomennettu nimellä Valkea kuulas.