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

Ice Cold Crime

Finnish crime literature places guardians of the law and criminals into the spotlight

Frankfurt, 2. September 2014 – As in other countries around the world, thrillers and crime literature are highly regarded by the Finnish readers and therefore continuously top the Finnish book charts. From only 20 new published books a year during the mid-nineties this has now risen to more than 90 new issues of crime thrillers in Finland In the meantime increasingly more are being translated into German. Subsequently the growing presence of Finnish criminal literature on the German market and is strongly competing with established Swedish and Norwegian authors.

It is common in Germany to classify all Scandinavian criminal literature as “Schwedenkrimi” (Swedish Crime), nonetheless there are major differences: Objective realism – in the description of the milieu as well as personalities of the protagonists in addition to a constant down-to-earth narrative are dominating Finnish thriller and crime literature.

Popular names in the Finnish crime scene are for example Leena Lehtolainen, Matti Rönkä, Ilkka Remes or Taavi Soininvaara, says Paula Arvas PhD, who is the Finnish expert for criminal literature and currently working as programme producer at the University of Helsinki Communications and Community Relations. In her point of view the most promising newcomers are Kati Hiekkapelto, Pekka Hiltunen, Antti Tuomainen and Saara Kesävuori.

Compared to its neighbours, the Finnish history of crime literature is a young as the first crime stories in Finnish were not published until the early 20th century. Prior to this point, brutal murder, its offenders and victims were reported in the form of flyers on the street. In addition translation was active. For example French and British crime literature was translated into Finnish, which exerted its influence on the young and inexperienced Finnish authors where literature was still in its infancy. Due to this tradition more realistic mystery still dominates Finnish crime literature, but also today whodunits and the hard-boiled novels are published by the Finnish crime authors.

However the protagonists of Finnish crime fiction vary. While the reader accompanies the enlightened and headstrong policewoman Maria Kallio on her investigations in Leena Lehtolainen’s detective series, Matti Rönkä introduces in his series Viktor Kärppä, a half-Russian with Finnish roots who operates on a thin line between crime and public service, whereby the reader has to decide on his moral stance. Political correctness is often bypassed in this narrative and as a result the assumed evil can have its nose ahead. In the thrillers by Pekka Hiltunen, the London living and underground affiliated graphic artist Lia and her friend Mari, a psychologist with extraordinary powers, put a stop to the dubious games of slave traders, murderers and power hungry politicians. Kati Hiekkapelto is expected to be the most promising newcomer in Finnish crime literature and her debut novel marks a fascinating prelude of her crime series about young commissioner Anna Fekete. Topically her series covers explosive aspects such as immigration or multiculturalism.

“The Finnish crime literature is at its core very democratic. In addition to the law enforcement officials the villains themselves are spotlighted”, states Paula Arvas, continuing: “Also a typical feature in Finnish crime fiction is its realism, both in illustrating the milieu and characters.” With a wink she goes on: “The essential difference between Swedish and Finnish criminal literature is that we have not yet achieved such a literary breakthrough as the Swedish Stieg Larsson Trilogy.”

The high international potential that is existent in Finnish thrillers and crime literature has become evident through the works of the two most productive crime authors from Finland. The stories of both have successfully been published in Germany and ensure a second wave of Nordic crime literature for the market. Ilkka Remes and Taavi Soininvaara produce nerve-tickling stories in which they mix elements of political and psycho thrillers into the traditional police crime story. The characters act in international settings with Finland as the starting point and hub. Ilkka Remes is one of the most read authors in Finland. His thrillers aimed at an adult or teenaged audience frequently top the bestseller lists. He applies as guaranteed to provide top-class suspense in an international format. Chilling suspense is also delivered to the readers by Taavi Soininvaara, who simultaneously sends his two agents in different directions during their investigations. The books about Arto Ratamo, a scientist who later works as an investigator, have received several awards. Similarly the absorbing stories about the secret organization Mundos Novus and the investigator Leo Kara are a great success in Finland.

Finnland.Cool. presents the thrilling world of the Finnish crime literature at the Frankfurt Bookfair 2014 with support of the following authors: Kati Hiekkapelto, Pekka Hiltunen, Leena Lehtolainen, Matti Rönkä, Taavi Soininvaara and Antti Tuomainen.

Finnish Weird: Extravaganza from Finland

Frankfurt, 28. July 2014 – Nordic mythology combined with mordacity and a dash of the scary – this characterises the young, somewhat idiosyncratic fantasy literature of Finland, this year’s Guest of Honour at Frankfurt Book Fair 2014. Presented as an own literary genre under the label “Finnish Weird”.

While more than 150 years ago literature in Germany was at its peak with classical authors such as Goethe and Schiller, Finnish literature was still in its infancy. For example, whereas Goethe achieved broad cultural acceptance for his astonishing Faust – and is now considered as a representative of great literature – stories with unrealistic and fantastic content, aimed at adult readers, were immediately classified as fairy tales or escapism in Finland. Their only chance of gaining acceptance in society was, if aliens or ghosts had an appearance in the story and considered children’s literature.

The young Finnish authors aren’t familiar with genre boundaries or writing traditions, due to the comparatively late development of fictional literature. Therefore a whimsical genre mixture of science fiction, fantasy, horror, surrealism and much more arose, which pays tribute to the folklore and myths of Finland. Thus the distinction in different literary genres is considered restrictive and nonessential by many Finnish authors.

According to the Scandinavian crime stories – marked as “Nordic Noir” – the Finnish science fiction and fantasy author Johanna Sinisalo created the label “Finnish Weird” in 2010 in order to give this bizarre mix of fantastical genre elements in Finnish literature its own name.

“Finnish Weird” can be, in some respects, compared to the Anglo-American term “Speculative Fiction”. Johanna Sinisalo’s Book Troll: A Love story, published in Finland in 2000, is said to be a stylistic prime example for “Finnish Weird” and for this reason led to a boom of fictional stories. Since then, more and more readers have been discovering and enjoying this sort of strange literature, which is based on a bizarre potpourri and is combined as “Finnish Weird”.

The stories told in “Finnish Weird” often set in realistic environments, but are in some way bizarre in their quirky twists so that they differ clearly from the traditional narration. “Fantastic characters, Nordic mythology, legends and bizarre storytelling form the most important elements of this fictitious literature – totally ‘Finnish Weird’”, states Maria Antas, expert for literature and head of the literary program Finnland.Cool. – Guest of Honour at Frankfurt Book Fair 2014.

Johanna Sinisalo arranges “Finnish Weird” as a union of Nordic mythology, references to established Finnish literature and biting sarcasm. Faithful to the diversity of literary genres the plot is prominent in her works. Nature is a frequent motif and the preferred setting for the action, where many Finns seek relaxation and recovery from a stressful daily routine, “Finnish
Weird” inverts this function and the natural protective barrier gets a mystic as well as subtly threatening and foreboding atmosphere.

Analogical “weird” is Emmi Itäranta’s novel Memory of Water. Due to a water shortage the protagonist Noria flees into a cavern where she finds a secret spring. Subsequently this rescuing of this natural treasure metaphorically becomes a serious threat to the little girl. “One of the most important tasks of fiction is, to show the world in a whole new light”, says Itäranta, whose bestseller Memory of Water was published in Finland in 2011.

Even writers who have yet to incorporate write anything fantastic or fictional into their books are increasing including more mystical and fantastic elements. Alongside the disappearing genre boundaries, the older and new styles of writing are forming a symbiosis, which break the former traditional patterns. In addition the weighting and selection of genre aspects enables the authors to compose their stories without limits. Miikko Oikkonen and Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen are promising writers of this unique and fresh genre. Together with Emmi Itäranta and Johanna Sinisalo these two are introducing “Finnish Weird” at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2014 and are accompany the public on a rollercoaster ride through the fantastical genre from the quills of unique authors.

Finland in the Frankfurter Kunstverein

The cultural programme of this years Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair starts with the group exhibition ”Matters of Time. Artists from Finland”

Frankfurt, 24th July 2014 – Finland is this year’s Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair. Finlands literature and culture with not only be present all over the trade fair grounds (October, 8th – 12th), but also in the city of Frankfurt the will be many events and opportunities to discover the culture of Finland.kuorinki

The programme starts with the group exhibition “Matters of Time. Artists from Finland”, which takes place in the Frankfurter Kunstverein from July, 25th to October, 12th. The exhibition brings together works by eight artists and artist duos from Finland, offering an in-depth look at diverse approaches within contemporary Finnish art. Using different media, including photography, video, sculpture, sound, and computer animation, the exhibited works address the nature of time and metaphors of transience. During the opening event Iris Schwanck, the FILI Director and Head of the Finnland.Cool.-project stated:

”The exhibition at the Frankfurter Kunstverein and the accompanying programme reflects the primary idea of our Finnland.Cool.-project. We wish to invite the public to be surprised and awakened, to discover new contexts and to learn a lot.”

Until the beginning of the Frankfurt Book Fair and beyond, Finnish culture will be represented at many locations in the city of Frankfurt to captivate the public. For example:

The Deutsche Filminstitut / Deutsche Filmmuseum shows a retrospective of cult Finnish director Aki Kaurismäki (August, 29th – October, 8th). Furthermore “Carte blanche” is the title of a film series which shows seven film classics based on well known literary works, selected by the film historian and filmmaker Peter von Bagh (October, 8th – 31st).

The Deutsche Architekturmuseum presents with “Suomi Seven” seven promising young architects from Finland (September, 6th – November, 9th).

On the occasion of the Frankfurt Book Fair 2014 the Finnish photography project “The Loveliest Girl in the World” will be shown for the first time in Germany. Interested people can discover portraits of adolescent girls living in a children’s home in Helsinki taken by the Finnish photographer Miina Savolainen in Ausstellungshalle 1A (September, 26th – October, 19th).

The Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt presents in a comprehensive exhibition works by the most important artist and painter of the first half of the 20th century, Helene Schjerfbeck (October, 2nd 2014 – January, 11th 2015).

In October for ten days the Mousonturm is dedictated to the most current and exciting that the Finnish dance and performance scene has to offer with with “Run Wild Stay Cool”.

With “Potretti” the Fotografie Forum Frankfurt shows an exhibition of contemporary photographic art from Finland. The focus is on portraits and self-portraits by the participating artists (October, 4th – November, 30th).

Opening new perspectives on the world we thought we know is the theme of the “Burka” photographs by the Finnish artist and author Rosa Liksom. Her works will be shown from October, 6th to 24th at the Haus am Dom.

For more details about the Finnland.Cool. cultural programme please see here.

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

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.

Read children the world

Children and youth book authors in Germany for the summer – New children’s books from Finland.

Frankfurt, 21st May 2014 – If a child is born in Finland, it is given a book from the Finnish state as a present. Reading and education have an important status in Finland. This is not only shown by numerous free library services and the work of numerous reading centres which contribute to the organization of literary events focused on improving literacy as well as an undampened desire for reading in Finland. Not only reading but also reading aloud is a tradition in Finland. The most well-known Finnish children’s author Timo Parvela still reads aloud to his children today, although they have long been able to read by themselves. For Finland, this year’s guest of honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair, education through reading is also of importance. It is therefore not surprising that by the start of the book fair in October many new releases will also be available in German.


Unusual characters together with the dry Finnish sense of humour also make Finnish children’s books to well-loved reading for children in Germany, Austria and Switzerland bringing a refreshing variety into today’s nurseries. Tatu and Patu, Vilja, Ella, the Moomins and of course Santa Claus are figures which stimulate the imagination and interpret the world of children’s thoughts in a creative way.

Reading is found across all levels of education and age classes in Finland. Therefore there is no question that also teenagers are catered for: So rot wie Blut from the Lumikki-triology by Salla Simukka (Arena Verlag, Sept. 2014) or Der Geschmack von Wasser by Emmi Itäranta (dtv-Hanser Junior, September 2014) are already bestsellers in Finland. Even boys are infected by Das X-Virus by Ilkka Remes (dtv, Sept. 2014) although it is rumoured that they read less than girls. Remes himself is one of the most read authors in Finland.

Also younger readers in nursery school or primary school age in Finland and also soon in Germany will be excited. To while away the summer holiday Timo Parvela fittingly came up with a new Ella novel, titled Ella in den Ferien as well as Ella und ihre Freunde außer Rand und Band (dtv/Hanser, July 2014). Parvela belongs to the top-selling authors of children’s books in Finland. Siri Kolu is also bringing a new Vilja story to Germany: Vilja und der Räuberschatz (Heyne, February 2014). In August Ponyhof Sternenhügel by Reetta Niemelä (Baumhaus Verlag, August 2014, ab5J.) is to follow.

 “Reading means diving into other worlds and maybe even identifying yourself with another person, to literally disguise oneself while reading. There is nothing else that children love doing more”, says Maria Antas who is responsible for Guest of Honour Finland’s literary program.

Finnish children and youth book authors are already coming to Germany before Frankfurt Book Fair to present their new releases to the younger German reading audience.

In the scope of the Internationalen Kinder- und Jugendbuchwochen in Cologne (31st May to 22nd June 2014) Hannele Huovi (Die Federkette, Hanser, Autumn 2014), Seita Vuorela (Wir fallen nicht, Ravensburger Buchverlag, Sept. 2014), Salla Simukka (So rot wie Blut, Arena Verlag Oct. 2014), Emmi Itäranta (Der Geschmack von Wasser, dtv-Hanser Junior, Autumn 2014) will be reading from their works.

There is also variety on offer during the summer holidays: From 19th to 24th July 2014 Siri Kolu will be reading from her new Vilja novel at the White Raven Festival.

For more Information:
Pressebüro Finnland. Cool. | c/o WBCO GmbH | Silvia Lenz | Krögerstraße 2 |
60313 Frankfurt | T +49.69.13388037 | F +49.69.13388033 |