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

Finnland. Cool. exceeds all expectations

Frankfurt, October 11, 2014. “Finnland. Cool.” – under this motto Finland presented itself as the Guest of Honour of this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair. Today the director of the Guest of Honour’s project, Iris Schwanck, positively reviewed the appearance in Frankfurt.

Already prior to the Frankfurt Book Fair, it was evident that the Guest of Honour presentation by the Finns would be a success. With around 130 new German editions that were published in cooperation with German-speaking publishers, FILI, Export organisation of Finnish literature, was able to surpass its target. “Usually we have 30 to 40 translations from Finnish or Finland-Swedish to German per year. 130 new publications from Finland in German exceeds all our expectations, and we have hereby taken a further step to achieve our principle aim of making Finnish literature more well-known in the world book markets“, stated Iris Schwanck, Director of FILI and the Guest of Honour’s project Finnland. Cool.

But not only the German-speaking market was convinced by Finnish literature, Schwanck announced also 34 new publications for Anglo-American regions. During the trade visitor days both, Finnish authors and publishers, attracted highest international attention, which is reflected by the successful negotiations for rights and licenses. The approximately 40 Finnish publishing houses expressed their satisfaction with their business. “As stated by our publishers who are present in Frankfurt there was a huge increase of promising conversations and contract negotiations with international publishing houses during the trade visitor days. This rising demand for books from Finland has been strongly affected by the Guest of Honour presentation Finnland. Cool.”, as Iris Schwanck stressed.

The Finland Pavilion experienced a flood of visitors at the forum of the Frankfurt Book Fair, which had a clear, light Finnish design, fully devoted to the literature and poetry of the Nordic country. Already during the first three days of the fair a large number of visitors mingled in the pavilion and listened to the literary events and readings that were held by the approximately 60 Finnish authors present.

The Finnish contribution to the topic of education at the Hot Spot Education on Thursday was also highly successful. More than 300 international participants joined the seminar at the Hot Spot Education. The keynote was given by the education expert Pasi Sahlberg, who sees the key factors to the success of the Finnish education system in good cooperations between the publishers of educational material and the educational authorities, as well as the extremely high literacy rate and first-rate educational materials.

“In these days Finland is nearly everywhere, on the fairground as well as in several cultural events in the city. Actually, the President of the Republic of Finland has been spotted skating at the Main River,” says Juergen Boos, the director of the Frankfurt Book Fair. Furthermore, he confirmed that Finland as Guest of Honour attracted the highest media attention ever.

Literary and cultural Finland can be discovered until Sunday and beyond at the exhibition grounds and in the city of Frankfurt.

Finnland is not only to guest in Frankfurt. “The satellite programme Cool2014 extends to over 200 events in Germany, Austria and Switzerland in over 30 towns. The entire programme that thematises the accessibility and openness of culture and education is planned and implemented with over 90 local partners. What began at the Leipzig Book Fair is to continue until the end of the year and beyond”, states Anna-Maija Mertens, Director of the Finnland-Institut in Germany.


Frankfurt, October 8th – Today at the Frankfurt Book Fair, Minister for Education and Culture Pia Viitanen awarded the Finnish State Translation Prize to Angela Plöger from Germany.

Angela Plöger (born 1942 in Danzig) received her doctorate at Hamburg University in Fennistics and has been translating Finnish literature into German for decades.

Her first translation, Tamara by Eeva Kilpi, was published back in 1974. Following this a total of 40 translations of Finnish novels were published and she also participated as a translation in numerous anthologies.

Her newest translations that are currently being talked about a lot are the novel The Midwife by Katja Kettu (Finnish Kätilö), whose sophisticated way of expressing herself and fluent German is being praised by critics, as well as When the Doves Disappeared by Sofi Oksanen (Finnish Kun kyyhkyset katosivat). She also translated two earlier works by Sofi Oksanen.

Angela Plöger also translated work by Leena Lander from whom seven translations have been published, and also five novels by Eeva-Kaarina Aronen as well as four by Anja Snellman.

Angela Plöger also made a significant contribution to make contemporary Finnish drama well-known in German-speaking countries: she has translated more than ten Finnish plays. She also translated a large number of non-fiction books and scientific literature.

This year the Finnish Ministry for Education and Culture is awarding the Finnish State Translation Prize for the 40th time. The prize that is endowed with 15,000 Euros is awarded annually based on the nomination from the export organisation for Finnish literature FILI (Finnish Literature Exchange) to distinguished translators of Finnish literature. This year as an exception, the award was presented at the International Frankfurt Book Fair at which Finland is the host country.

Metatext Project Renews the Conventions of Text, Reading and Book Fairs

How does a text change if I imagine that my mother or father has written it, it’s an excerpt from a holy book or my own unfinished creation? Helsinki based Reality Research Center’s research administrator Pekko Koskinen has created the Metatext Project for Frankfurt Book Fair 2014. The project develops new forms of reading and writing and it is part of Social Space Agency (SoSA).

Read the whole press release here.

JIMI TENOR’S COSMIC SHOW with Megatron Braineater, Syksy Räsänen, and Johanna Sinisalo

Finnish Eve as part of the ilb Berlin
Haus der Berliner Festspiele
Oberes Foyer
Sep 20, 2014 07:30 pm

Jimi Tenor, one of Europe’s most innovative electronic musicians, is curating a Finnish evening for the ILB, featuring Johanna Sinisalo, who wrote the screenplay for the Nazi sci-fi comedy Iron Sky, the cosmologist and political activist Syksy Räsänen, and the outsider artist Maria Candia, alias Megatron Braineater.

Speaker: Denis Abrahams
Price: 8 Euro / reduced 6 / pupils 4

Johanna Sinisalo
Johanna Sinisalo born in 1958 in Sodankylä, writes novels in the »Finnish Weird« style, a style that unites Finnish writers who have turned down the realistic tradition. Her debut novel Ennen päivänlaskua ei voi (2000; En. Not Before Sundown) was awarded the Finlandia Literature Prize. Sinisalo’s books have been translated into about 20 languages. Auringon ydin (2013; tr. The Core of the Sun) is her seventh novel.

Megatron Braineater
Megatron Braineater is the pseudonym of Finnish science-fiction author Maria Candia. In her four-volume »psychedelic space opera« »Kapteeni Shiva« (tr: Captain Shiva) she, among other things, makes use of what the genre has to offer in order to play around with gender issues and the classic understanding of sex-based roles and our understanding of gender. How the series came about is also quite unorthodox. The books were published by the small record label Flamongo. The artist sometimes also performs as a DJ.

Jimi Tenor
Jimi Tenor was born as Lassi Lehto in 1965 in Lahti, Finland. He lived in Berlin, New York and London until he returned there in 2005. Working in the boundary zone between Jazz, House and experimental pop, Tenor has recorded an album with the African music legend Tony Allen (»Inspiration Information 4«, 2009), among others, and has collaborated with several orchestras. His passion for self-made instruments is also apparent in the album »Itetune« (2011). In 2014 he received the John Peel Play More Jazz Award.

Translators of Finnish literature to attend the Frankfurt Book Fair – Over 60 translators from all over the world will take part

Frankfurt, September 9th, 2014. As part of Finland’s project as Guest of Honour at the 2014 Frankfurt Book Fair, FILI is organising a separate programme of events for translators of Finnish literature. This is the first time in the history of the Book Fair that a dedicated programme has been put together specifically for translators.

A total of 60 translators have already registered to attend the programme, including 54 who translate from Finnish and 6 who translate from Finland-Swedish, into 16 different languages in all. Fully one third of the participants translate into German.

During the three-day-long translators’ programme, participants will acquaint themselves with the Book Fair from a professional perspective and will learn more about the role of translators in exporting literature. The world’s largest event for the publishing industry is a forum for the sale of translation rights – an activity that is important for translators to know about as well, because many of them act as ambassadors for Finnish literature in their own countries and market contemporary literature from Finland to local publishers.

The objective of the ‘Finnland. Cool.’ Guest of Honour project is to achieve a permanent boost in the sales of translation rights to books from Finland. This will not be possible without skilled translators, for whom FILI has provided many training opportunities. Over the years, FILI’s educational offerings have included translation seminars for beginning translators, for translators specialising in various literary genres, and even for translators working on the same author’s works or the same book.

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


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.