The screen rights for Dess Terentyeva’s Lovely have been optioned by Helsinki-filmi

06 Jun 2022

We are delighted to share the news that the screen rights for Dess Terentyeva’s young adult novel Lovely (Ihana, WSOY, 2021) have been sold to the Finnish production company Helsinki-filmi. Tia Ståhlberg, producer at Helsinki-filmi and author Dess Terentyeva share their feelings about the news. 

Tia Ståhlberg, producer at Helsinki-filmi, reflects on her feelings on the novel and starting the process of turning a novel into a script: 

“Dess Terentyeva’s Lovely touched me with its description of young people’s feelings of love, as well as the confusing feelings associated with it. There is an important message in the novel about how everyone should be able to be what they are without the pressures of society and the people around them. It is gratifying to set out to modify this highly current young adult novel into a script.”

Helsinki-filmi is one of Finland’s largest production companies. It has produced films such as Tom of Finland (Dome Karukorki, 2017), Dogs Don’t Wear Pants (JP Valkeapää, 2019) and Tove (Zaida Bergroth, 2020). Helsinki-filmi is part of the Aurora Group, a growth company focused on the development, financing, production and distribution of films and television series.

Author Dess Terentyeva on the meaning of selling the screen rights option to her novel: 

“Selling the screen rights for Lovely (Ihana, WSOY, 2021)is the biggest accomplishment of my career so far. In this moment I’m thinking of queer people of past generations, and I’d like to tell them; Look at what we have been able to build from your work: there are even production companies today that want to spread the joyous words of queer stories!”

“My motto is: more is more. This is also true of queer stories. I write queer literature because I know how desperate yearning for them can feel. Helsinki-filmi must understand that feeling, as they want to make a queer story even bigger and more visible!”

Lovely (Ihana) is Dess Terentyeva’s third novel, published by WSOY in 2021.

Lilja is a pansexual in 9th grade who constantly has a crush. Lilja has nicknamed her latest social media crush, who is extremely lovely simply as Lovely. It turns out that Lovely is the child of Lilja’s single dad’s latest girlfriend, which becomes a game-changer. Lovely appears as a confident and conscious nonbinary on social media, but Lovely’s conservative mother has no clue about her child’s true identity. Can Lilja come to terms with the fact that dad is dating a woman who appears to be transphobic? Can one force another to show their true colours?

Dess Terentyeva (b. 1992) is an author of Russian origin who lives in the vibrant city of Tampere in Finland. As a migrant author, both Russian and Finnish cultural aspects reflect in her works. Her writing also carries strong LGBTQ themes. Terentyeva has a Master of Arts from the University of Jyväskylä. 

Lovely (Ihana) is Terentyeva’s first YA novel, a winner of prestigious publisher WSOY’s YA writing competition in 2021. She is also co-author of the urban fantasy book series Neon City (Neonkaupunki, Like, 2020/2021) together with author Susanna Hynynen. 

Are you interested in the publishing rights of Dess Terentyeva’s novels? Contact your representative at Rights & Brands or hit us with your idea on