About us

The Books from Finland online journal ceased operation on 1 July 2015, and no new articles will be published on the site.

A comprehensive online archive is available for readers to access. Brief extracts from Books from Finland may be quoted, provided that the source is cited.

If you wish to use longer extracts, please contact bff@booksfromfinland.fi.
Also use that contact address to report any technical issues on the site, bad links, etc.

Books from Finland, an independent English-language literary journal, was aimed at readers interested in Finnish literature and culture. Its online archive constitutes a wide-ranging collection of Finnish writing in English: over 300 short pieces and extracts from longer works by Finnish authors were published from 1967 onwards.

Books from Finland featured classics as well as new writing, fiction and non-fiction, and other materials aimed at giving readers additional information on Finnish society and the wellsprings of Finnish literature. The target audience encompasses literary and publishing professionals, editors, journalists, translators, researchers, students, universities, Finns living abroad and everyone else with an interest in Finland and its literature.

Of course, publishing Finnish and Finland-Swedish literature in English requires skilled translators. Books from Finland’s editorial policy was always to use native English-speaking translators. In recent years David Hackston, Hildi Hawkins, Emily & Fleur Jeremiah, David McDuff, Lola Rogers, Neil Smith, Jill Timbers, Ruth Urbom and Owen Witesman translated for us.

Books from Finland was founded in 1967 and appeared in print format up to the end of 2008. From 2009 to 2015 it was an online publication. The journal’s archives have been fully digitised, and remaining issues will be made available in late 2015.

The Finnish Book Publishers’ Association (Suomen Kustannusyhdistys, SKY) began publishing the print edition of Books from Finland in 1967 with grant support from the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture. In 1974 the Finnish Library Association (Suomen Kirjastoseura) took over as publisher until 1976, when it was succeeded by the Helsinki University Library, which remained as the journal’s publisher for the next 26 years. In 2003 publishing duties were handed over to the Finnish Literature Society (Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura, SKS) and its FILI division, which remained its home until 2015. The journal received financial assistance from the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture throughout its 48 years of existence.

The editors-in-chief of Books from Finland were Prof. Kai Laitinen (1976–1989), journalist and critic Erkka Lehtola (1990–1995), author Jyrki Kiiskinen (1996–2000), author and journalist Kristina Carlson (2002–2006), and journalist and critic Soila Lehtonen (2007–2014), who had previously been deputy editor. The journal was designed by artist and graphic designer Erik Bruun from 1976 to 1989 and thereafter by a series of graphic designers: Ilkka Kärkkäinen (1990–1997), Jorma Hinkka (1998–2006) and Timo Numminen (2007–2008).

In 1976 Marja-Leena Rautalin, the director of the Finnish Literature Information Centre (now known as FILI), became deputy editor of Books from Finland. She was succeeded by Anna Kuismin (neé Makkonen), a literary scholar. Soila Lehtonen served as deputy editor from 1983 to 2006. Hildi Hawkins, who had been translating texts for the journal since the early 1980s, held the post of London editor from 1992 until 2015.

The editorial board of Books from Finland was chaired from 1976 to 2002 by chief librarian Esko Häkli, from 2004 to 2005 by the Secretaries-General the Finnish Literature Society, Jussi Nuorteva and Tuomas M.S. Lehtonen, and from 2006 to 2015 by Iris Schwanck, director of FILI. Members of the board included literary scholars, journalists, authors and publishers.

This history of Books from Finland was compiled by Soila Lehtonen, who served as the journal’s deputy editor from 1983 to 2006 and editor-in-chief from 2007 to 2014. English translation by Ruth Urbom.


Web editor 
Leena Lahti / La&La