Get into the mood with our animation trailer
The story of how we became Finnland. Cool. began already in 2009, when an agreement on the Finnish presence at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2014 was signed by the Frankfurt Book Fair organisation and the Finnish Literature Society. FILI – Finnish Literature Exchange is a section of the Society (founded in 1831), and is responsible for coordinating the project. This is a venture of a Finnish NGO with economic support from the state and the rpivate sector. We collaborate with publishers, authors, readers and other parties in the field of literature both in Finland and abroad.
The message of Finland
Finnland. Cool. is the slogan of Finland’s year as the guest of honour. With it we want to express not only our Northern dimension but also a cool Finland where classics of literature and modern technologies go hand in hand. Literature keeps abreast of the times – and it’s cool.
The focus of our project is the significance, joy and everyday nature of reading. Finland has a high rate of literacy and reading as a pastime often begins at an early age when parents read to their children. Our free and modern library system is also a reason why the Finns are a nation of readers. Everyone has access to books and literature. It is this ideology that we also wish to implement in guest of honour project t – we bring literature to everyone, everywhere.
The visual design of Finnland. Cool. plays with words and languages. We want to express the importance of language and the significance of a small language area. Finland is a country with an active and distinctive literary scene in both Finnish and Swedish, our other national language. The literary field is further enhanced by the works of Sámi, Roma and immigrant writers.
Large numbers of books are published in Finland, some 4,500 titles a year. Finland comes second only to Iceland in numbers of published titles per capita. The core strategy of Finland’s project as guest of honour is to raise the sales of the translation rights of Finnish literature to a permanently higher level.
Finland is also known for the world’s best schools and its high results in the PISA educational rankings, and it is only natural that educational materials are included in our year as guest of honour. The Finnish department at the Frankfurt Book Fair has two sections, one for literature in general and the other for educational material.
The preparation of the project
Finnland. Cool. is coordinated by FILI, a national expert and export organisation in the field of literature, with a staff of nine employees and two interns. Our tenth employee is stationed in Frankfurt.
FILI has worked actively to prepare the guest of honour project over a period of three years. We have focused on the training, support and networking of translators, since professional translators are a vital necessity for making Finnish and Finland-Swedish literature available to readers in other countries.
Foreign publishers who buy translation rights to Finnish and Finland- Swedish literature also have an important role. Over the three-year period we have actively invited foreign publishers to get to know our field of literature and to meet Finnish colleagues.
Our programme in support of the translation of Finnish literature has served international publishers since the founding of FILI in 1977. It has been developed in an increasingly user-friendly and accessible direction. We provide financial support for over 200 translations into over 40 languages on a yearly basis.
The literature programme for 2014 is being prepared in collaboration with our German partners, publishers, literature festivals and houses of literature in Germany. It will be officially presented, as before, at the Leipzig Book Fair in March 2014.
The administration of the project
FILI is the coordinating body of Finnland. Cool., the executive committee is headed by Iris Schwanck, the director of FILI. The project has a steering committee of three members and a broader organising team of experts focusing on cooperation, representing all the main partners and stakeholders of the project. The organising team provides support and mediates information concerning the project.
Senior Director Riitta Kaivosoja, Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture
Publishing Director Liisa Hakamies-Blomqvist, The Society of Swedish Literature in Finland
Director Mikko Fritze, Goethe-Institut Finnland
Head of Unit Timo Heino, Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs
Senior Adviser Mikko Härkönen, Finnish Ministry of Employment and the Economy
Ambassador Päivi Luostarinen, Embassy of Finland in Germany
Director Pirjo Hiidenmaa, Chairperson, The Finnish Association of Non-Fiction Writers
Publisher Leena Majander, Vice-Chairperson, The Finnish Book Publishers Association
Director Marjo Mäenpää, Ministry of Education and Culture
Director Anna-Maija Mertens, The Finnish Institute in Germany
Stefan Moster, German translator and author
Information Officer Jaana Tamminen, The Union of Finnish Writers
Chairman of the Board, Secretary-General of the Finnish Local Heritage Federation Lassi Saressalo, The Finnish Literature Society
Director Jorma Kauppinen, The Finnish National Board of Education
Author Tove Appelgren, The Society of Swedish Language Authors in Finland
In addition, members of the staff of FILI participate in the meetings of group as consulting experts:
Head of Literature Programme Maria Antas, FILI
Director Iris Schwanck, FILI
Communications Manager Silja Hakulinen, FILI
Counsellor for Cultural Affairs Mervi Tiensuu-Nylund, Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture