Finnland. Cool.
Frankfurt Book Fair.
Guest of Honour 2014.

Finland launches literary program in Leipzig

About 80 authors from Finland will be presenting the Finnish literary diversity in the German speaking countries in Europe in 2014 – more than 120 new publications in German will be published at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

Themed “FINNLAND. COOL.”, this year’s Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair will present about 80 Finnish authors of various literary genres in Germany, Austria and Switzerland throughout the year. “The German reader can discover a large treasure of Finnish literature“, states Dr. Iris Schwanck, the director of FILI – Finnish Literature Exchange – which is responsible for the Guest of Honour presentation.

We have already exceeded our bold aim to publish 100 Finnish books in German on the occasion of the Guest of Honour presentation. Thanks to Finnish literature, our authors, publishers, the excellent work of the literary translators and last but not least thanks to the enormously interested German speaking publishing houses, – who strongly believe in the Finnish literature -, we can look forward to more than 120 new publications in German translation.

With its program for literature and translation grants, FILI annually invests about 728,000 Euro in the promotion of Finnish literature abroad.

Finland launches the literary program of FINNLAND. COOL. at the Leipzig Book Fair, where ten authors from Finland will attend in 30 reading events and discussions presenting their literature. Some of them are already well known in Germany, e.g. Timo Parvela, Aki Ollikainen or Tuomas Kyrö. But there are also a lot of new discoveries. The strong presence of the Finnish comic book is particularly pleasing. Thus FILI follows up on the exhibition Comics & Comments which took place at the Leipzig Book Fair in the previous year.

Over and over again the Finns show us just how cool their country is: They not only have cool authors, but also show us, for example that libraries can be quite attractive places”, says Juergen Boos, Director of the Frankfurt Book Fair. “Therefore, I am excited that three comic artists have joined us here in Leipzig and will give us an insight into their culture with unusual und funny live performances.

In the course of this year, numerous authors, illustrators and translators take part in more than 20 European literary events and festivals, e.g. the Comic Festival Fumetto in Switzerland, the ilb in Berlin or the Harbourfront festival in Hamburg. From October on the literary project KOMPOSITIO shows young Finnish literature in the German speaking literature houses. One further highlight of the Guest of Honour program will be the SaunaPoetry Tour which starts in Berlin and will make a stop in many other German cities during October.

The highlight of the Guest of Honour presentation is the Frankfurt Book Fair, where around 60 Finnish authors and numerous experts from the literary field, such as illustrators and education experts, will be part of the literary program. The selection of the authors is primarily based on the demands of the foreign publishing houses as well as of the availability of a German translation.

This year we are constructing the future for our literature. For a small country like Finland, the opportunities for growth are in creative areas such as  literature or the expansion of international activities”, stresses Schwanck and adds: “Numerous Finnish success stories over the past years support this thesis. For example, the translation rights to Salla Simukkas trilogy of books for adolescents were sold in numerous countries of the world at record pace.

Beside the literary program by FILI there will be a multi-faceted supporting program in Frankfurt with exhibitions, music, theatre and performances. In addition to FILIs literary and cultural program in Frankfurt there is a cultural program organised by the Finnish Institute in Berlin. Themed COOL2014 the Finnish Institute introduces cultural, scientific and social contents in collaboration with a large number of partners. These topics surpass literature und reach throughout the German speaking part of Europe. Thus Finland comes e.g. to Berlin, Bonn, Kiel, Cologne, Munich, Stuttgart, Switzerland and Austria… and to many other places. Dr. Anna-Maija Mertens, director of the institute, says:

The variety of the program stands for the typical Finnish accessibility of culture and education which fascinates people in Germany, Austria and Switzerland again and again. This exchange of information enriches both sides – without doubt beyond 2014!

Further information:
Press Office Finnland. Cool. | c/o WBCO GmbH | Silvia Lenz | Krögerstraße 2 |
60313 Frankfurt | T +49.69.13388037 | F +49.69.13388033 |

Across the Globe with 13 Books

Finns love their libraries, and borrow about 13 books per capita annually

Reading is a key aspect of the Finnish culture. Each inhabitant borrows an average of 13 books per year from Finland’s Finnish libraries. If these books were lined up end to end, the volumes borrowed by Finland’s 5.4 million citizens would exceed the earth’s diameter (1). By comparison, Germany’s inhabitants borrow only an average of three print media per capita annually from public libraries (2). In Austria, this figure is two per capita annually (3) and 4.5 per capita annually in Switzerland (4).

The Finnish library system is the Finn’s most important cultural asset and serves as a role model all over the world, for which the Finns are justifiably proud. In a survey by the Finnish Cultural Foundation last year, the library system was chosen as the country’s most important cultural service. Approximately 93 percent of the survey participants considered it important or very important to have a library nearby. Readers in Finland enjoy the services of the country’s 827 libraries, 151 of which are mobile libraries that make over 12,000 scheduled stops. There is even a library boat that stops at eleven different ports.

Finnish libraries are characterized by the fact that all library services are free. These libraries also host outstanding collections of books, music and films. Some libraries also loan out board games, sports equipment and even electric drills. Each Finn visits a library an average of ten times a year. Visiting a library means not just borrowing books, but also reading and relaxing in airy, modern surroundings as well. Web-based technology is a common element in these libraries. Users have access to virtual and interactive online services, as well as the traditional print media.

Käännös by ALA Architects

Photo by ALA Architects

“Käännös” by ALA Architects Ltd Helsinki won the architectural competition for the Central Library Helsinki


Helsinki’s new Central Library is scheduled to open at Töölönlahti Bay in 2017 – the 100th anniversary of Finland’s independence. In addition to its traditional functions, the Central Library will also serve as the country’s “living room” – a gathering place and venue for meetings, as well as a center for culture and entertainment.


1) average length of a book = 20cm

2) German Library Statistics, print media borrowed from public libraries, 2012

3) Data: Austrian association of libraries, print media borrowed from public libraries, 2012

4)  Data: Swiss Federal Office for Statistics, Library Statistics public libraries cities and municipalities, number of overall print and audio-visual products borrowed,2012

Press conference

Finnland. Cool. held its first official press conference at Frankfurt Book Fair on Thursday. Press material, including speeches, will soon be available online.