Finland goes German

17 July 2009 | In the news

Frankfurt Book fair - Photo: Fernando Baptista / Frankfurter Buchmesse

World of books: hustle and bustle at the Frankfurt Book Fair, 2008 - Photo: Fernando Baptista

Competition is hard in the book world, both nationally and internationally, so it’s big news that five years from now Finland will be the theme country at Frankfurt Book Fair, the world’s biggest encounter of those who work in the book publishing business.

The commercial Fair is indeed mind-bogglingly big: nearly 300,000 visitors are expected, with 10,000 journalists covering the event, more than seven thousand exhibitors from a hundred countries – and some 400,000 books.

Business aside, what does the honour mean? For example, in 2014 a troupe of Finnish writers will go to Germany to meet not just publishers at the Fair in October but the general public and new readers (as well as old, in many cases, as a fair number of Finnish books have been translated into German during the past few years) at readings and lectures: they and their books will get plenty of international attention all year, as literary publicity at Frankfurt is centred round the chosen country.

In preparation for the big event, next year thirty Finnish writers will go on a literary tour of Germany when Finland will be in focus at the German-language European Literature House Network in 2010. The organiser at the Finnish end is FILI, the Finnish Literature Exchange.