18 October 2023

ILP Acquires Majority Stake in
Arto Paasilinna Estate

  • ILP acquires a majority stake in the Arto Paasilinna Estate and will manage the prolific work of the Finnish writer, journalist, and darkly comic novelist.
  • Best known as the author of iconic works such as The Year of the Hare, The Howling Miller, A Charming Mass Suicide and The Forest of Hanged Foxes, Paasilinna is published in 40 languages.
  • Paasilinna was a literary pioneer, establishing a broad readership outside of Finland in a way few other Finnish authors had before him.

International Literary Properties (ILP), the global company that invests in, acquires, and manages literary estates, is honoured and excited to announce the acquisition of a majority stake in Arto Paasilinna’s literary estate.  

One of Finland’s most successful novelists, Arto Paasilinna (1942-2018) penned thirty-five novels and other works during a career spanning 50 years and his appeal reached far beyond Finland in a way few other Finnish authors have before. His tragi-comical stories about life have seduced millions of readers around the world, with his work being translated into 40 languages and over eight million copies of his books sold worldwide.

Described as “the brightest star in the Finnish translated-literature firmament,” by Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat, Paasilinna’s works continue to endure with their modern themes of mental health, ageing, desperation and the tribulations of everyday life, which explored in his fast-paced and humorous style, can be described as adventure stories with a satirical take on modern life.

Mary Durkan, EVP Global Acquisitions of ILP, says, “Arto Paasilinna is a literary legend, both in Finland and beyond. The fact that his books are translated into so many languages speaks to the quality and wit of his writing. We are thrilled to be working closely with his son, Petteri, and the Paasilinna Estate to curate Arto Paasilinna’s literary legacy and bring his important work to new global audiences.”

Petteri Paasilinna, Arto Paasilinna’s son, says, “I am delighted to be working with the International Literary Properties team and putting my father’s work into their hands to protect his legacy. I’m looking forward to our exciting plans for the future and sharing my father’s works with new international audiences.”

Hilary Strong, CEO UK and EMEA of ILP, says, “Following the decision to expand ILP’s reach into Europe, we are excited to welcome the estate of Arto Paasalinna and his classic novels into ILP’s portfolio of wonderful literary IP. Paasalinna’s works are always adventurous and entertaining, often with a satirical take on society and we look forward to working with his family and his publishers to build on his very special legacy.”

Paasilinna started his career as a journalist, working as a writer and editor, and later as a columnist. In 1975 he published his famous work, The Year of the Hare. Translated into 18 languages, the novel was a bestseller in Finland and France and was later adapted into two feature films: The Year of the Hare (1977) a Finnish film directed by Risto Jarva, and Le Lièvre de Vatanen (2006) a French film directed by Marc Rivière. The story follows a spiritless journalist named Vatanen whose life’s meaning is rejuvenated after nearly killing a wild hare. “In Mr. Paasilinna’s anarchic world, life itself is a burning house, and the very moment you think you are safe is the most dangerous time of all,” said The Wall Street Journal in 2017. Other best-selling titles include The Howling Miller, A Charming Mass Suicide, The Forest of Hanged Foxes, The Sweet Poison Cook and Prisoners of Paradise.

Paasilinna wrote twelve nonfiction books and thirty-five novels between 1975 and 2009. Amounting to nearly a book per year, his Finnish publisher is quoted as saying, “The annual Paasilinna is as much an element of the Finnish autumn as falling birch leaves.” He was also awarded numerous literary awards and honors including the Prix Littéraire Air Inter (1989) and the Giuseppe Acerbi Prize (1994).

International Literary Properties, in collaboration with the Arto Paasilinna Estate, has already begun a comprehensive programme of work to reinvigorate and champion Paasilinna’s work globally.

With extensive experience in publishing, TV, film, theatre, audio, brand and merchandising, ILP’s team works closely with agents, publishers and producers to find fresh focus for authors’ works and create new creative and commercial opportunities. Over the past four years ILP has partnered with best of breed partners in the UK and USA to close multiple TV, film and theatre deals. These include the first contemporary adaptation of George Simenon’s Inspector Maigret series, written by Patrick Harbinson (Homeland, The Tower, 24) and produced by Playground Entertainment.