The Nuori Aleksis award (“Young Aleksis”), named after Finland’s national writer Aleksis Kivi, is an award founded by the Finnish teachers’ union, given each year to one outstanding and significant book, selected by a jury comprising senior high school students from around Finland.
This year’s shortlist has been announced and I’m happy to report that three of the six nominees are sf. Among the nominees are Teemestarin kirja (Memory of Water) by Emmi Itäranta, Unikoira (Seeing Eyes) by Marko Hautala, and Näkijän tytär (The Prophet’s Daughter) by Kristiina Vuori (more info about the nominees).
A curious thing I noticed in the announcement: the nominees are selected by a large jury of high schoolers, but from a long list (around 100 books) given to them, I guess determined by the working group administering the award. Included are novels, short story and poetry collections, plays and essays. But, even though this is an award for young people by young people, YA books are specifically excluded from eligibility. This feels very stupid to me, especially since nowadays there are (in my opinion) larger amounts of very good quality Finnish YA literature than ever before.