Finland, cool! The Frankfurt Book Fair 8–12 October

30 September 2014 | Articles, Non-fiction

Finnland. Cool pavilion in Frankfurt

Finnland. Cool. pavilion in Frankfurt, designed by Natalia Baczynska Kimberley, Nina Kosonen and Matti Mikkilä from Aalto University

It starts next week: Finland is Guest of Honour at the Book Fair in the German and global city of Frankfurt. This link will take you to it all.

Approximately 170,000 professionals from the literary world are expected to visit the exhibition halls from Wednesday to Friday; the weekend is reserved for the general public, c.100,000 visitors. Since 1980s different countries have been in focus each year.

This enterprise – massive for Finland – began to take shape in 2009 when the Finnish Literature Society signed an agreement with Frankfurt Book Fair, and FILI – Finnish Literature Exchange took on the task of coordinating the project. President Sauli Niinistö will speak at the opening ceremony on Tuesday, Minister of Culture and Housing Pia Viitanen will open the Finnland. Cool. pavilion.

The Finnish authors attending the Fair will be those who have had a new German translation of their work published this year by a German publisher or those who have their own funding and local parthers. More than 180 books (including new editions) by Finnish, Finland-Swedish and Sámi authors – contemporary and classic, fiction and non-fiction – will be published in Germany in 2014.

The literature programme – click ‘fair programme publication’ – has been produced in collaboration with German publishers who will have their own events with Finnish authors. Almost 60 authors will attend the Book Fair. There will be readings, interviews, discussions, poetry and other installations as well as exhibitions (and events taking place outside the fair halls, in participating venues, such as Finnish tango dancing on 6 October at the Literaturhaus).

This link – search term: Finland – shows the Calendar of Events at the Fair.

The focal point for Finland’s presence at the fair will be a pavilion (2,300 square metres) designed by graduate studens at Aalto University (the university consists of six schools, among them the school of arts, design and architecture).

Almost 300 Finnish books are published yearly, into 40 languages. As part of the programme FILI organises a seminar for translators: 60 of them, working in 16 languages, will discuss their profession and learn more about the role of translation in cultural exchange.

The 2014 Finnish Government Prize for the Translation of Finnish Literature – now awarded for the 50th time, worth € 15,000 – will be awarded at the Fair.

A special (limited edition) English-language issue of Finnish Granta (Granta Finland 3), published in Finnish in September, subtitled ‘Best of young Finnish Novelists’, featuring the work of 20 Finnish novelists (under the age of 40), will also be introduced at the Fair.

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One of the happy results of this massive selling and buying event – the Frankfurt Book Fair is the world’s largest book trade enterprise – will be that exposure here will enable a growing number of Finnish authors to find readers in other languages.

An even wider range of literature – poetry, essays and classics, in addition to the contemporary prose that is on show in Frankfurt – will hopefully also find a larger readership: that really has to be cool.

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