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

Finnland. Cool. Strategy.

Mission Statement: The Final Breakthrough for the Export of Finnish Literature

Finland will appear as guest of honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2014. Thanks to our status as guest of honour, the export of Finnish literature will attain new levels not only in Germany but throughout Europe and in many other countries further afield.

The Frankfurt Book Fair is the single most important annual event in the calendar for professionals working in the literature and media business. The Frankfurt 2014 Project will allow us to present the full spectrum of Finnish culture, not only at the Fair itself and through the extensive Finland exhibition to be featured there, but also in collaboration with wider German cultural circles. In this way the project will open up new opportunities for international collaboration in all fields of culture and the arts.

Literature and the mediation of foreign rights’ sales are at the heart of the Frankfurt 2014 Project. Literacy and reading represent our central success story. In Finland this is a success story in a number of senses. The results of international PISA research paint a positive picture of the reading and literacy skills of Finnish schoolchildren; our extensive library services – all free of charge – are a respected institution in their own right, and the contemporary Finnish literature scene is positively thriving. A belief in the power of reading to foster wellbeing and that access to culture is a right for all are cornerstones of the Finnish mindset. Reading is one of our superpower – and it is an integral part of the Finnish story.


FILI’s work at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2014 will have a significant, lasting impact on the wider international profile of Finnish literature. The success that Finnish literature has experienced in recent years demonstrates that small language areas also have the capacity to produce international
bestsellers. The German publishing industry is one of the most important in the world and serves as a springboard to markets in other countries and linguistic areas. What’s more, the Frankfurt Book Fair is the single largest annual event in the publishing and media calendar and is the subject of great media attention. The Frankfurt Book Fair is a truly international market and meeting place for professionals working in the publishing business. Finnish learning solutions and school system are widely recognised as of high quality. It is for these reasons that Frankfurt is the best possible forum to present and market the richness and diversity of literature in Finland today. The Frankfurt 2014 Project will also support and enhance work already underway and aimed at increasing Finland’s international profile in other areas of society.

Key Strategic Points

The Sale of Foreign Rights
Improvements in sales representation and more extensive networking between publishing professionals are crucial if literature is to find more readers. In this respect the role of publishing editors, who are responsible for all publishing decisions, and the active work of professional agents and foreign rights representatives is crucial. Further education and training for translators – both experienced translators and those at the beginning of their careers – is of key importance because of their role as mediators between languages and cultures. In turn, these factors will provide authors with greater opportunities to profit from their own work.

Marketing Finnish Authors
The Frankfurt Book Fair 2014 will feature appearances by around fifty Finnish authors. In and around the Fair these authors will appear at a variety of literary events organised by the network all across German-speaking Europe.

Increased Awareness of Finnish Culture
Finland’s position as guest of honour at Frankfurt 2014 will generate great media interest. Around half of all the Fair’s media coverage is dedicated to the guest country, which, in addition to the shared publishers’ section, has the use of a pavilion 2,300m2 in size. The pavilion and its surrounding areas will present the success story of Finnish literacy in a fresh and contemporary way.

Collaboration Between Cultural Institutions and the Arts
Collaborative projects involving different artistic and cultural institutions, including museums and cultural centres, will produce a host of exhibitions and presentations as part of Frankfurt 2014. This collaboration will also serve to expand and enhance networking among literary professionals and will reach a wider audience. Our cultural programme at Frankfurt 2014 is designed to support the Fair’s programme as a whole and to enhance its value. The Fair, meanwhile, will provide a platform for all manner of other related cultural events.

Other Cultural Events in German-Speaking Europe
Freelance artists working in the fields of art and culture will also take a leading role in events at Frankfurt 2014 as Finnish culture will be presented in events right across German-speaking areas of Europe.

Visibility in Finland
The progress of the Frankfurt 2014 Project will be visibly reported and communicated in Finland too. As part of the project FILI will host a number of press conferences and panel debates involving professionals from the world of publishing and other fields. The progress of the project will be extensively documented and will employ the full gamut of opportunities provided by social media to help engage the public, to get them involved, to allow them to debate and discuss and to have an impact of their own.

Concept and Slogan: FINNLAND. COOL.
The overall profile of this project and of all communications associated with it is one of simplicity, one that respects others and their views, one that is reliable and has a sense of humour. The adjective ‘cool’ has a variety of meanings and associations: chilled, appropriate, calm, refined, great. The experience of the FINNLAND. COOL. project will be one of a shared sense of hospitality.

Strategic Objectives

Continued Increase in the Sale of Foreign Rights
In recent years the sale and mediation of foreign rights throughout Europe has been on the increase: in Germany alone well over a hundred Finnish titles will appear in translation in the course of 2014; after this the level will again settle at around seventy. Moreover, there will also be an increase in the number of Finnish titles published in other languages, both throughout Europe and further afield.

Translated titles will encompass all literary genres: literature, comics, books for children and young adults, non-fiction, classics and a variety of learning materials. Further interest in these works will be garnered through a broad programme of literary events.

Networking and collaboration has brought cultural institutions and the arts closer together, while an extensive cultural programme has fostered a wider awareness of Finnish culture
FILI’s continued work in the extensive, innovative presentation of Finnish culture has received much media attention in recent years and in turn now reaches an ever larger and more diverse audience. In addition, collaboration and networking between professionals in the literature and publishing business has strengthened. The reputation of Finland as a country of culture and as a fascinating holiday destination has spread well outside Germany. Finland is cool!

What can Finland’s presence at Frankfurt 2014 mean for all professionals?

The Frankfurt 2014 Project will result in concentrated international visibility, in an ever-tighter networking with other international colleagues, in increased working partnerships formed as a direct result of the project, and in a greater knowledge of new working methods and skills – in short, in improved working conditions and collaborative possibilities for all Finnish professionals in the literary and publishing fields.

Timetable 2012–2015

1. The most intensive phase of the Frankfurt 2014 Project will be the preparatory period 2012–2013. During this period the project will progress on a number of levels:

a. The provision of further education and training for translators will be considerably increased, communication with translators will be improved and numerous translation seminars will be held each year. In 2012 FILI will host a seminar for around 120 translators in Helsinki. The seminar is entitled Kääntäjän osa – Översättarens ord – The Translator’s Word. FILI ensures that all translators are in regular contact with Finnish publishers. To an ever increasing degree FILI’s work concentrates more and more on Frankfurt 2014: the online journal Books from Finland, the translators’ online community Kääntöpiiri and FILI’s system of translation grants with its flexible application deadlines all serve to support translators in their work.

Strategic partners: the network of translators of Finnish literature, CIMO, foreign universities offering instruction in the Finnish language, foreign rights managers and agents in Finland.

b. German-language literary professionals, primarily publishing editors who make decisions about translated titles, will be invited to Finland to give them the opportunity to acquaint themselves with the Finnish literary world and the contemporary literary scene. Visits by German-speaking publishing professionals will be organised several times a year, and other international publishers will have the opportunity to take part too.

Strategic partners: German-language publishers (and publishers from other countries), the Goethe Institute, the Finnish Foreign Ministry and the German Embassy in Finland.

c. In association with the Fair organisers, FILI will liaise closely with Frankfurt-based cultural institutions to compile a cultural programme for the Fair, and key figures from Frankfurt will be invited to Finland. Strategic partners: TAIVE (an umbrella organisation and communications network for cultural institutions), directors and curators of German cultural institutions, museums, the Finnish Institute in Germany, the Finnish Foreign Ministry.

d. The presentation of Finnish literacy and reading skills (and planning thereof). Strategic partners: the Finnish National Board of Education, publishers of textbooks and educational material, LitCam (Frankfurt), the Finnish Library Association.

e. A programme of “fringe” events in Germany will be coordinated by the Finnish Institute in Germany, in association both with FILI and the Finnish Embassy in Germany.

f. FILI, the Finnish Institute in Germany and the Finnish Embassy will keep full records of their liaison and collaboration as part of the Frankfurt 2014 Project for the period 2012–2014.

g. Finnish organisations in Germany are to work in closer collaboration with regard to exports, trade and science in manners that will support the project in a wider sense.

h. The planning of collaborative work and negotiations with future partners will continue intensively. Our business collaboration strategy will be compiled and completed in 2012. Strategic partners: the German-Finnish Centre of Commerce, companies operating in the German-speaking world.

i. The visual appearance of the Frankfurt 2014 Project will be created as a guided project involving both teachers and students at the graphic design programme at the media department of the Aalto University. In association with the space and furniture design programme at Aalto University’s department of design, we will hold a competition (2013–2014) to create the visual layout of the Fair’s pavilion.

j. Right from the outset, the opportunities offered by social media have been an integral part of the project. All important information is provided in our e-mail newsletter. In 2013 our online portal will eventually become available in three languages (English, German and Finnish). In the summer of 2013 we will open the project’s communications office in Frankfurt.

2. Throughout 2014 we will concentrate our efforts on the German media and on ways in which to increase the sale of Finnish titles to German publishers.

Strategic partners: German media, booksellers, international professional guests, the Finnish Foreign Ministry, the Finnish Institute in Germany.

3. After 2014 our work will continue at book fairs both in Germany and elsewhere, in order to capitalise and expand upon the positive effects and fringe benefits of the Frankfurt 2014 Project.

4. The final assessment of the Frankfurt 2014 Project will take place in 2015. The project will be assessed from a variety of perspectives and the results of the assessment will be presented at a seminar to be held by summer 2015. These results will be employed effectively to have a positive impact on future large-scale international joint projects both in the world of publishing and in other areas of cultural life. Strategic partner: the Frankfurt Book Fair Organisation.