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Minister Arhinmäki at the Frankfurt Book Fair: "Greatest asset in Finland is education"

Ministry of Education and Culture
Publication date 10.10.2013 8.30
Press release -

Finland has been chosen as the Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair next year. A press conference on next year's programme was held at this year's Book Fair on Thursday 10 October. Paavo Arhinmäki, the Minister of Culture and Sport, opened the occasion. Finland's slogan as the Guest of Honour of the Book Fair in 2014 is FINNLAND. COOL.

"Now that we're looking ahead to next year's Fair, we hope to see worldwide interest focus on Finland's many-voiced literature and authors, who write in Finnish, Swedish and Sami. In fact, the whole story of Finland builds on literacy and how it has evolved in shaping Finnish society and individuals", said Minister Arhinmäki in his speech.

The Ministry of Education and Culture and the Ministry of Employment and the Economy have financed the literature projects of the Frankfurt Book Fair for a number of years already. Finland's currently biggest cultural export event is being coordinated by FILI, the organisation for Finnish literature exchange. A key aim of the project is to bring the sale of translation rights for Finnish literature to a permanently higher level thanat present. The Book Fair will display Finnish novels, crime fiction, poetry, children's and young people's books and, as a newcomer, also comics.

There are about 300,000 visitors at the Book Fair in Frankfurt every year. Most of them, that is 175,000 participants, are in the publishing field from around the world, who come to buy and sell translation rights. The Guest of Honour displays numerous publishing houses and hosts a huge pavilion at the Fair.

"FILI has trained hundreds of translators, invited dozens of international publishers to Finland and marketed the Guest of Honour year in many international fairs and book events around the world", Minister Arhinmäki described the project preparations.

The Minister, who praised the Finnish school system and network of libraries, stressed that Finland's success as a nation is based on education and equality.

"Finland's greatest asset isn't forestry or quarrying, although they are important too. Our greatest asset is actually education and culture, high competence, the ability to understand what's being read, and being able to absorb information. Education and the ability to learn new things have allowed us to create our own national identity. They are the solid foundation of our independence and also of our future."

In Frankfurt, the Minister will also be meeting Juergen Boos, the President of the Book Fair. On Sunday 13 October, the final day of this year's Frankfurt Book Fair, Finland will receive the role of Guest of Honour from Brazil, which is this year's Guest of Honour.

- Mervi Tiensuu-Nylund, Counsellor for Cultural Affairs, Ministry of Education and Culture, tel. +358 40 722 1328
- Iris Schwanck, Director, FILI, tel. +358 40 508 0331

Requests for interviews:
- Silja Hakulinen, Communications Manager, FILI, tel. +358 40 534 7526