Flagship project: Finland as the Guest of Honour at the 2014 Frankfurt Book Fair: FINNLAND. COOL.

Minister of Culture and Sport Paavo Arhinmäki in Finnland. Cool. press conference at Frankfurt Book Fair in October 2013.

Minister of Culture and Sport Paavo Arhinmäki in Finnland. Cool. press conference at Frankfurt Book Fair in October 2013.

The Frankfurt Book Fair is the world’s leading event for the publishing and media industries, and Finland has been designated as the Guest of Honour for 2014. FILI is coordinating Finland’s presence at what will be the country’s most high-profile cultural export event. We are organising a programme in conjunction with Finnish publishers and other literary specialists, as well as key government ministries (the Ministry of Education and Culture, the Ministry of Employment and the Economy, and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs) and cultural figures.

Central to this Guest of Honour project is the sale of translation rights. Another golden thread that carries through the project are new ways of reading and learning. FILI is also in charge of exhibitions about Finnish culture to be staged in museums and other art institutions in Frankfurt. Other cultural programmes in Germany and German-speaking parts of Europe are being coordinated by the Finnish Institute in Germany.

You can follow the progress of the Guest of Honour project on our Frankfurt 2014 blog. The blog also includes contact details and the overall project mission statement. Members of the Frankfurt 2014 team at FILI are FILI’s Director Iris Schwanck, Project Coordinators Maria Antas and Tiia Strandén, Project Assistant Päivi Haarala and Communications Manager Silja Hakulinen. Our contact person in Frankfurt is Project Coordinator Kirsti Pärssinen.

Projects to promote literature abroad

Bringing Finland-Swedish literature to the world

‘Bringing Finland-Swedish literature to the world’ is a campaign funded by Svenska Kulturfonden (The Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland) that is also part of the Frankfurt 2014 themed project. The long-term objective of this campaign is to create sustainable structures to market Finland-Swedish literature around the world, while its short-term goal is to increase the number of Finland-Swedish books in translation. FILI is contributing to these objectives by organising seminars for translators and spotting talented translators who translate from Swedish into other languages, producing print and digital materials about Finland-Swedish literature and participating in major international book fairs. We also provide 6-month-long internships for students or recent graduates with Swedish as their major subject, and we organise Swedish-language seminars on Finland-Swedish literature at universities abroad.

Bringing Finnish comics and graphic novels to the world

Diverse, dynamic Finnish comics and graphic novels are generating ever more interest around the world. As part of this project, FILI has established its own translation and printing grant programme for comics and graphic novels. We organise visits for publishers of comics and graphic novels, have our own stand at the Angoulême international comics festival, and exhibit Finnish comics and graphic novels at other international book fairs. These comics projects are organised in conjunction with the Helsinki Comics Center.

Bringing non-fiction books to the world

FILI helps to promote Finnish non-fiction books abroad with translation and printing grants, by producing materials about contemporary works and by exhibiting Finnish non-fiction books at international book fairs. During this project, we are also organising visits by international publishers to Finland as well as seminars for translators of Finnish non-fiction and academic books.

Bringing literature for children and young people to the world

A dedicated translation and printing grant programme has been set up to help bring Finnish literature for children and young people to the world. FILI provides seminars for translators of children’s and young people’s literature, as well as hosting visits by international publishers. We produce materials to promote Finnish literature for children and young people abroad, and we also maintain the Kolonkolonkolo children’s literature portal.

Pilot project: Masterclass

In 2013, FILI is piloting a new mentoring scheme for translators. This project is being set up in collaboration with seven Finnish Cultural Institutes abroad. Institutes in the following locations are taking part in the launch phase of this ‘Masterclass’ project: Benelux, Berlin, Madrid, St Petersburg, Stockholm, Hungary and Estonia.

International networks


NordLit is a network of national literary promotion organisations. In addition to FILI, the other members are Bókmenntasjóður – The Icelandic Literature Center, Kalaallit Atuakkiortut (KA) – The Greenlandic Writers’ Association, NORLA – Norwegian Literature Abroad, Rithøvundafelag Føroya – The Faroese Writers’ Association, Samisk forfatterforening – The Sámi Writers’ Association, Statens Kulturråd – The Swedish Arts Council and Statens Kunstråd – The Danish Arts Council. Collaborative projects among NordLit member organisations include shared stands and joint Nordic programmes at book fairs, as well as translators’ seminars and other visits.

Literature Across Frontiers 2009–2013

LAF is a joint project of European literature information centres. Its purpose is to promote the translation of literature between ‘smaller’ languages. During the course of this project, joint seminars, conferences and author visits have been held at international literary events. Residencies have been provided for translators and authors in various countries. In 2010 and 2013, LAF’s collaborative projects have also focused on countries in the Mediterranean region.

The LAF project publishes Transcript, a trilingual online journal, with six issues per year.