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

Finland makes Frankfurt cool

Frankfurt, 25.6.2014 — Uncomplicated, creative and cuttingly “cool” –this is how Finland, this year’s Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair is presenting itself today at the Frankfurter Literaturhaus. In accordance with the Guest of Honour’s motto, Finnland.Cool. the Finns are presenting their literary and cultural programme with a “stand-up” performance. The performance shall be just as uncomplicated and relaxed and will surprise and enthuse the Frankfurt public in the Autumn.

As Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair (8th-12th October 2014) this year, Finland is inviting you to a cool adventure, and in addition to 130 publications in German is bringing more than 50 authors from almost all genres of literature to Germany, Austria and Switzerland to sustainably present literature from Finland. New, brave, crazy and surprising are the attributes that will distinguish the Guest of Honour’s appearance in 2014. Finnland.Cool. is the motto, the focus of which is on Finnish literature and reading. But also numerous art events and exhibitions shall be representing Finland.

“Literature belongs to everyone and should be accessible everywhere. Therefore we are also bringing Finnish literature and books to Frankfurt, to the literature centres of the city, in urban saunas, private apartments and clubs. We have even organised a saunamobil in cooperation with the Finnish Goethe Institute”, states Iris Schwanck, director of FILI (Finnish Literature Exchange) and manager of the honorary guest’s appearance in Frankfurt.

“What fascinates me about the Finnish guest appearance is the ease and also the consistency with which Finland presents its education and culture as an inseparable unit”, says Juergen Boos, Director of the Frankfurt Book Fair. “As the first Guest of Honour country the Finns are also organising a national stand in the education area in Hall 4.2. To me this attitude signalises the greatest confidence in the future of Finnish society and also respect for their tradition. We are receiving a ‘lesson’ in the best sense of the word.”

Finnish authors shall be not only present in city of Frankfurt, they shall also be appearing at around 25 literature festivals and other events in German-speaking countries. One of the literary highlights in Frankfurt is definitely an evening with Finnish Estonian bestselling author Sofi Oksanen (When the Doves Disappeared) on 8th October at the Schauspiel Frankfurt. The Finns’ literary performances will be everything other than cold, when during the days of the Book Fair, a Finnish author visits one of the city’s public saunas in Frankfurt and administers the visitors a literary infusion. The “poetic infusion” is a collective project with the Goethe Institute Finland and shall take place between the 7th and 12th October in various locations in Frankfurt.

In addition to the spontaneous sauna poetry performances, the “Schweiß & Sauna” project from the young Finnish spoken word scene will undertake a poetry road trip with a fire engine converted into a saunamobil across Germany between 7th and 10th October. The mobile sauna will also visit Frankfurt. At the Frankfurter Stadtbibliothek various exhibitions will be held on e.g. the history of Finnish literature or Finnish children’s book illustrations. Also, readings and discussions on topics such as Finnish thrillers, minority literature, reading or the library system are in planning.

“When talking about Finnish literature we often forget that we have actually two “literatures” in one- the Finnish and the Swedish. Both running alongside, but when it comes to the Moomin trolls from Tove Jansson we all speak the same literary language”, say Maria Antas and Tiia Strandén, both responsible for the literary program of the Guest of Honour.

Finland will be visible all over the exhibition grounds. The Guest of Honour shall be represented in the Forum at the Book Fair as per tradition. For the first time in the history of the Frankfurt Book Fair no famous architect was commissioned with the design. Instead this was placed in the hands of students on the Master’s course in Room and Furnishing Design at Aalto University, Helsinki. In line with the slogan Finnland.Cool. a Finnish winter landscape provides the basis for the exhibition. From this, the peace and purity of Finland are brought together to a spatial concept with six rotundas that accommodate individual rooms with different moods and contents, such as exhibitions, a stage with room for an audience and a café. The inspiration for the space concept was conceived by the designers on the basis of the numerous libraries and park landscapes of Finland:

“Like a Finnish park, the Finnland.Cool. Pavilion shall serve as a place of relaxation in the midst of the large, hectic book fair. It is designed to invite visitors to take a journey into the world of Finnish literature, whereby they can take a seat and relax with a book under a leaf canopy or become active themselves.”

The Finnish publishing world shall be represented by two national stands at the fair: with 37 Finnish publishers at the Finnish Publishing Association stand in Hall 5 and six publishers at the education and schoolbook stand in Hall 4.2. As typically Finnish, the library bus shall also be in the Agora of the fair and shall be honouring the 100th birthday of famous Finnish author, illustrator and painter Tove Jansson with an emphasis on the Moomins. Finland’s capital Helsinki can also be discovered by visitors to the fair in a park that shall be created in the Agora.

In addition to the literature, a lively “cool” cultural programme shall be included in the Finnish guest country project, which shall be implemented in Frankfurt. The launch for this is the exhibition Matters of time. Artists from Finland. that shall be showing contemporary Finnish art from the 25th July at the Kunstverein Frankfurt.

Two extensive series of Finnish films will be shown at the Filmmuseum Frankfurt. With the Carte blanche series of films, the grand old master of Finnish cinema, Peter von Bagh, is invited to select ten of his films that can be seen from 8th bis 31st October at the Filmmuseum. In addition there will be a complete Aki Kaurismäki Retrospective (29.8.-8.10.2014).

The Deutsche Architekturmuseum is hosting the exhibition Suomi Seven – Junge Architekten aus Finnland from 5.9. to 26.10. A modern classic of Finnish photography shall be exhibited in Frankfurt exhibition rooms from 25.9. with the exhibition Maailman ihanin tyttö / The Loveliest Girl in the World, a project by artist and pedagogue Miina Savolainen. The work of Finnish painter Helene Schjerfbeck, some of which has never been officially publicly displayed can be viewed from 1st October at the Schirn Kunsthalle.

Run Wild Stay Cool – a festival of contemporary Finnish dance shall be held from 4.10. at the Mousonturm, where four different ensembles shall be presenting their current productions. Author and artist Rosa Liksom shall open her Burka exhibition on 5.10. at the Haus am Dom. With her photos she intends to show a new perspective on the subject of equality.

Naturally the famous Finnish tango cannot also not be missing from Frankfurt: at the Literaturhaus there will be a literary tango ball shortly before the opening of the Book Fair on 6th October, in which you can dive into the secrets of Finnish tango steps to the music of the Unto tango orchestra.

In addition, the Finnland-Institut in Deutschland shall provide a comprehensive cultural satellite programme with music, design, fine arts and discussions that is being implemented in over 30 towns in German-speaking countries.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

niemensivuAdventurous, on the go and optimally organised– this characterises the Finnish comic scene. In recent years, young artists have established themselves whose books are published around the world. The unusual content and style of the narratives have to date receive little attention in Germany, which could well be changed by the Guest of Honour presentation of Finland at this years’ Frankfurt Book Fair. In the run-up to this, young Finnish comic artists including Tiitu Takalo, Mika Lietzén and Reetta Niemensivu, who are both represented with contributions to the recently published “Comic Atlas Finland”, will be showing a selection of their works.

An exhibition in cooperation with FILI – Finnish Literature Exchange
A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Young Comics from Finland | Exhibition in the scope of the International Comic Salon Erlangen 2014 Kunstverein – Neue Galerie | 19th to 22nd June | Opening hours: Thurs. 12–7, Fri/Sat. 10–7, Sun. 10–6 p.m. |

100 Years Tove Jansson – The Moomins in Erlangen

Exhibition in the scope of the International Comic Salon Erlangen 2014 muumi

Tove Jansson is one of Finland’s best known authors. She often spent her summers with her parents and siblings in a small cottage on the sea. These surroundings influenced the creation of her most well-known characters, the Moomin trolls. 1948 the publisher of the Associated Press asked Tove Jansson to create a regularly appearing comic strip for his newspaper. The Moomins always pursue their curiosity and play instincts which occasionally got them into sticky situations, but which never defeated them. Friendship and a sense of family are more important in the Moomin Valley than order and ambition. And almost every story ends with a big party. You just have to love them for this!

An exhibition in cooperation with FILI – Finnish Literature Exchange and Moomin Characters Ltd. | Rathaus, Kleiner Ratssaal, 1st floor | 19th to 22nd June | Opening times: Thurs. 12–7, Fri/Sat. 10–19, Sun. 10–6 p.m. |

The Finnish Book Market 2013

Educational and nonfiction books make up two-thirds of sales, e-book downloads are increasing, 34 new publications in English expected to appear at Frankfurt Book Fair.

Helsinki/Frankfurt, June, 10th 2014. In 2013, Finland brought about 5,000 new literary publications (excluding educational books) out on the market. 71.3 percent of these were first editions, including 340 translations from the fiction genre, 577 children’s books and 98 books for teenagers. Finland as the Guest of Honour at this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair is going to introduce 34 new releases translated into English to Frankfurt.

With a total turnover of EUR 253.6 million net in 2013, the book market in Finland slightly decreased by -3.6 percent compared to the previous year (2012: EUR 263.0 million). The lion’s share is assigned to printed products; approximately seven percent are digital products (+ 1.7%). Roughly one third (34.7%) of these are educational books with a sales volume of EUR 88.1 million, another third (33.1%) are nonfiction books at a sales volume of EUR 83.9 million. The final third of is light fiction and is split into fiction EUR 40.9 million (16.2%), children’s and youth books EUR 30.9 million (12.2%) and comics EUR 9.7 million (3.8%).

The approximately 5,836 operating publishing houses in Finland produced approximately 20.3 million books last year (-11%), including educational and audio books. This book production is for a population of 5.4 million Finns.

The Finnish bestsellers of 2013 were, amongst others, the Finnish-Swedish author Ulla-Lena Lundberg with her novel ”Is” (Ice), for which she was awarded the Finlandia price 2012. ”Ice” remained in the Finnish Top 10 bestseller list for more than six months. The new novel about Finnish superintendent Maria Kallio ”Rautakolmio” by Leena Lehtolainen held its place for more than five months on Finland’s bestselling fiction lists. Also popular in Finland: the new novel by bestselling Estonian-Finnish author Sofi Oksanen “Kun kyyhkyset katosivat” (When the Doves Disappeared) which is set around the resistance and collaboration during the time of the Estonia occupation during and after the Second World War. Also highly popular in Finland is “Kätilö” (The Midwife) by Katja Kettu. Her novel is set during the time of the Second World War in Lapland and has become a literary phenomenon. The novel has sold over 80,000 copies in Finland. The Finns also regard their comic artists with a high level of interest. According to FILI, two of the ten commercially most successful books in Finland in 2013 were comics.

The interest in reading with e-readers is increasing in Finland even though the market for e-books and mobile reading devices is in its infancy. Over the past year 1,138 new e-book titles were published (2012: 678) which is an increase of 67.8 percent. 848 e-books are in the category of literary works, a further 290 are education materials.


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

Finnish comic literature conquers Germany

In addition to conventional works of fiction, Finland as Guest of Honour is also focusing on its active and internationally renowned comic scene at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2014

Frankfurt, June 4th, 2014 – Colorful, young and lively. These characteristics roughly describe Finland’s literary scene of Finland and no literature genre can portray this image as well as the comics do. What began in the postwar period to the early seventies with Tove Jansson’s Moomins is today being expressively continued and with a joy for experimentation by artists from the modern comic scene such as Ville Tietäväinen.

These two examples clearly demonstrate the broad thematic and creative variety of Finnish comics. The world of Tove Jansson’s Moomins is characterized by the daily problems and external threats to Moomin Valley. But also cheerful adventures are a part of the Moomin universe. Tolerance and friendly cooperation are communicated. The conflicts and methods of resolution which are illustrated in the tales of the Moomins are almost timeless and can be transferred to the present.

However, Ville Tietäväinen is more specific in his works. He attempts to elucidate social issues and expresses social and political criticism. His stories deal with specific topics that he attempts to pierce in his graphic novels in an artistic and topical way.

“Finnish comic authors are well known for their ambitious visual creations and graphic quality. Illustrators like Ville Tietäväinen work with experimental, provoking and unique styles in order to continually develop themselves further. We do not have something like a graphic tradition in comics. Because of this, new genres and visual impressions are permanently being created”, explains Kalle Hakkola, director of the Finnish Comic Center in Helsinki.

The Finnish comic scene has been highly active for several years and is growing rapidly and not only due to the efforts of the respective authors. In the past year Finnish comics implemented a sales volume of 9.7 million Euros. Furthermore, the Finnish state financially promotes the comic culture, so that Finland’s comic scene of Finland is organized at its specially constructed Comic Center and from here can promote new stories and illustrators. The Ministry of Culture invests 300,000 Euros per year in the national comic scene. FILI the Finnish Literature Exchange, also supports the export of Finnish comics: for example, translation and printing costs are being subsidized by up to 1,000 Euro. Comics hold cult status in Finland. It’s not a coincidence that the biggest comic festival in Northern Europe takes place in Helsinki each September.

“A primary sign of the continuingly increasing popularity of comics is that last year two out of ten of the commercially most successful books in Finland were comics”, says Maria Antas, literature expert at FILI. “A further characteristic which distinguishes the Finnish comic scene from those of other countries is that most of the graphic novels drawn by women”, continues Antas.

Comic stories are not for children per se and can definitely please an adult public. “Besides, many Finns are not afraid to admit that they first learned to read through comics”, says Kalle Hakkola.

In order to pay tribute to pioneers like Tove Jansson , who would have celebrated her 100th birthday this year, Finland will equip the comic genre with an impressive showcase with international flair at the Frankfurt Book Fair (October 8th to 12th). Many young comic artists will be on site to present the colourful variety of their country. Even the renowned Ville Tietäväinen will be there whose social-critical graphic novel “Invisible hands” (published by avant Verlag in 2014) that narrates the story of Moroccan refugee Rashid who is illegally looking for work in Southern Spain in order to support his family. He was awarded with the Finnish Comic Prize for this unconventional work. One year before, he was already awarded Finnish Cultural Fund prize.

“It’s very nice to see how graphic novels continue to acquire more fans, also in Germany, the potential in this artistic narrative form is definitely nowhere near being exhausted”, Ville Tietäväinen is pleased about the high popularity of comics and graphic novels in Germany.

Besides social-critical and serious topics the generally most well-known form of comic, the comic-strip, deals with controversial subjects accompanied with a cutting humor (e.g. “Fingerpori”) that is in the style of the traditional underground comic.

“The most successful comics are those which were printed in newspapers before their publication as a book. Finland itself is a very small market with only five million inhabitants. Because of this, the authors directly structure their comics to assume an international relevance. For this reason Finnish comics can be understood around the world and the content is current for every culture”, states Kalle Hakkola of the Comic Center.

In order to increase the reputation and attention for comics in general and Finnish narrations in particular, the Finnish artists will visit a wide range of events in German-speaking Europe during the run-up to Frankfurt Book Fair. For example, the Fumetto Comic Festival which recently took place in Lucerne, Switzerland. Ville Tietäväinen was already a guest at the Literarisches Colloquium (LCB) in Berlin in May. Following this, the International Comic Salon will be held in Erlangen (from June 19th until 24th). Also attending this event are JP Ahonen, Mika Lietzén and Reetta Niemensivu. The exhibition “Ein Mittsommernachtstraum” at the Kunstverein – Neue Galerie is devoted to young comics from Finland. The Moomins will also move into Erlangen City Hall in the scope of the “100 Jahre Tove Jansson” exhibition.

The Comic Atlas Finnland provides an insight into the Finish comic world, that was published at the beginning of the year by Reprodukt Verlag. In the 240 pages of this anthology, editors Kalle Hakkola and Sascha Hommer provide an outline of the avant guard comic scene in Finland with contributions from artists such as Roope Eronen, Matti Hagelberg, Jarno Latva-Nikkola, Mika Lietzén, Hanneriina Moisseinen and many more. In order to strengthen the ties between Finland and Germany in the comic sector, Germany will be the honored guest country at the Helsinki Comic Festival from September 5th until 7th. At the Frankfurt Book Fair in October 2014 the stars of the Finnish comic scene will be guests and will present a bigger range of idiosyncratic Finnish comics that know no consistent style and each possesses an individual quality.