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Finland as Guest of Honour at the 2014 Frankfurt Book Fair

Ministry of Education
Publication date 16.6.2009 11.48
Press release -

Finland has been invited as Guest of Honour to the Frankfurt Book Fair 2014. The Director Jürgen Boos, representing the Frankfurt Book Fair, the Finnish Literature Society and the Ministry of Education signed the agreements on the project on Tuesday.

Minister of Culture and Sport Stefan Wallin sees this as an exceptional situation: ?The situation is unique in that this is a commitment to a large-scale cultural export project which will see its realisation after the current government term. For Finland to be able to take part in international projects of this magnitude, this kind of planning beyond government terms must be possible ? vast projects are not realised in a year or two to the standard our culture deserves, he said at the information event publicising the Guest of Honour project.

– The status as Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair is one of the spearhead projects recorded in the Finnish Cultural Exports Promotion Programme. Now, being a certainty, it is an opportunity for the Ministry of Education to cooperate with other ministries, especially with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Employment and the Economy. The Guest of Honour project will also bring together different art forms and those operating within them to work under the same flag.

– Because Germany is the foremost importer of Finnish literature, it is natural to invest in growth there. As the largestinternational event in the book industry, the Frankfurt Book Fair offers the best possible impetus for a wider breakthrough of Finnish literature abroad, Mr Wallin said.

– The Guest of Honour project will be realised in five years. In the intervening years we can concentrate on training translators, visiting publishers and making other preparations needed to promote the publication of Finnish literature in Germany.

According to Minister Wallin, the foundation is already being laid: Finland has been invited as the first theme country in the programme of the German-speaking House of Literature network in 2010. ? The aim is to launch 20 new authors on the German-speaking market and arrange a large tour of 30 authors in all the eleven Houses of Literature in April 2010. At present the Directors of these Houses, three German publishers and four journalists are visiting Finland to learn about Finnish literature and meet authors, Mr Wallin said.

The Guest of Honour project will be realised by FILI ? Finnish Literature Exchange. The project will also have a steering group, with representation of the Ministry of Education, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Employment and the Economy, the Finnish Literature Society, publishers and authors.

The Guests of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2009 will be China, in 2010 Argentina and in 2011 Iceland, which is the first Nordic country to have this honour.

For more information:
- Director General Riitta Kaivosoja, Ministry of Education, tel. 09- 160 77053
- Counsellor for Cultural Affairs Mervi Tiensuu-Nylund, Ministry of Education, tel. 09-160 77266
- Director Iris Schwanck, FILI ? Finnish Literature Exchange, tel. 020-1311 290; 040- 5080 331.

- European House of Literature network
- Frankfurt Book Fair