Thursday, December 01, 2011

Pépites Award to Seita Parkkola

Finnish author Seita Parkkola has won the “Pépites” award in the children/YA category for her novel Viima (“Une dernière chance” in French).

Viima is a middle-grade/YA novel that could be classified as “Finnish Weird”: the world in the novel is seemingly our everyday world, but soon it becomes clear that some things differ from our reality quite a bit. Viima, the main character, is 12 years old, and has been branded as a troublemaker. So he’s been sent to the School of Possibilities where “troubled children are put right”. The story turns towards the dystopian as the kids are constantly surveilled on and off school grounds, required to participate in mandatory after-school activities, and assigned friends and even girl and boy friends by the school. Parents are charged for every infraction of the child, and those whose parents can’t pay seem to disappear, never to be seen again.

Viima was nominated for the Finlandia Junior award (the Finnish equivalent of the Newberry award) in 2006. The novel has been translated in English as The School of Possibilities (review). A couple of excerpts (by a different translator) are available online.

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