Frankfurt Book Fair 2014: Finland in the spotlight

Diverse, surprising, enchanting – that´s how I would sum up my visit to the Frankfurt Book Fair 2014 this weekend. This year´s Guest of Honor was no other than Finland. The Finnish organizers of the FILI Finnish Literature Exchange called their programme: FINNLAND. COOL.

Frankfurt Book Fair

The Frankfurt Book Fair is the world´s largest trade fair for books, based on the number of publishing companies represented, as well as the number of visitors. For five days more than 7,000 exhibitors from over 100 countries and more than 286,000 visitors take part.

Frankfurt Book Fair

After having seen the Finnish programme, I must say that Finland – despite of the small nation – is a literature giant. Books and libraries are a big part of everyday life from beginning to end, that´s what I´ve been told by many Finns who I met in Frankfurt. Over the five days of the book fair, visitors had over 500 opportunities to find out anything about Finnish literature.

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The main stage for the literature programme was the stylish FINNLAND. COOL. pavilion. Together with designers Natalia Baczynska Kimberley, Nina Kosonen and Matti Mikkilä, the organizers had organize a space where visitors themselves can participate in the creation of literature, listen to Finnish authors talking about their latest works and celebrate the life and work of the late Moomins creator Tove Jansson who would have turned 100 this year.

Muumin Finland

On a personal note: I bought two books at the fair, both by the Finnish cinema historian, director and screenwriter Peter von Bagh. One is about the Sodankylä Midnight Sun Film Festival taking place in Finnish Lapland every year and the other one is a great book about the legendary Finnish film maker Aki Kaurismäki. Peter von Bagh was set to present his new book on the Sodankylä film festival – but sadly he passed away just a few days before the fair started.

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Photos: Stephan Lücke