Elin Willows

Elin Willows (b. 1982) grew up in Sweden, but is living in Finland since 2009. She works as a cultural journalist at Yle, Finnish public service.

Photo: Frank A. Unger


The Inlands

Inlandet omslag_0_.jpg

Is it possible to start over anywhere, to create a new life for yourself somewhere else?

A young woman from Stockholm moves to her boyfriend and his home town, a small village in the inlands far north. The relationship has ended by the time they arrive there. Nevertheless she starts working at the local store, and finds herself staying in the village for reasons she cannot quite understand. Slowly she works her way into this new place, and the place works its way into her. The new community has different, unwritten codes. You leave your door unlocked, get drunk at the Hotel on Saturdays, drive on the ice in your car. 

What does it take to become a part of something new?


The Inlands is a radiant story about loss and change, written in a stripped-down, precise language. Debutant Elin Willows examines the tangible mechanics of everyday life, the mentality in a small community and the relationship between freedom and loneliness. The surroundings and wilderness remains a constant presence, reflecting the inner landscape of the characters. Willows lets the light and darkness of the North become an integrated part of the novel.

Elin Willows

Original title:

January 2018

General Fiction

Original publisher:
Natur & Kultur

Reading material:
Swedish manuscript (final)
English sample

204 pp.

Finland (Finnish)/Teos
Finland (Swedish)/Förlaget
The Netherlands/Uitgeverij Stortebeeker
UK/Nordisk Books (WE)
Film rights/Bd Film


“A sensation! I have rarely encountered such a complete debut, with an absolute particular tone and a language that is so effective that you are resolutely sucked into the course of events.”


“In the throws between the constant light of summer and the eternal darkness of winter, Willows is portraying something as unusual in a coming of age novel as the experience of making a choice and sticking to it.”


 “An impressive debut. Her language congenially reinforces the lethargic and listless in the storyteller; The style is laconic, short, but the prose also interacts beautifully with something that could be called the state or culture of the place - it mirrors the deep mid-winter darkness of the polar night, sometimes sparkling like the snow in the March sun, usually flows clear like the water in the mountain stream, and sometimes gives the outlet for a restrained and coarse humour.”


“It's beautiful, rough and sensitively told, about being still until the legs start wanting to move again - a truly strong debut.”


“In the end, it is the monotony of Elin Willow's novel that becomes dramatic. When a young local man dies unexpectedly, society's reaction is noted in the same uninvolved way. Her own reaction too. Even though she had shared his bed.
The astounding mountain nature is captured in the report-like language. Thus treated respectfully instead of romanticized.”


 “Some books are exciting on the surface but may still feel stagnant within the reader. Here it is the opposite. In Elin Willow's book "The Inland", not a lot happens to the main character, but for the reader, the state becomes so peculiar that you hurry over the pages and fill the voids with your own fantasies. And it's in the wavering insecurity this stylistically confident novel gets its extraordinary life.”


“Willows showcase exquisite feel for the language and a poetic attention to everyday events such as pressing cartons or spreading marmalade on a piece of bread.”