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majority of rights sales by Finnish
publishers are to publishers in Germany.
Rights sales to other countries are on the
increase–in part because of the current
fashion for Nordic crime fiction. But it is
literary work that FILI aims particularly
to promote; “literature cannot cross
borders without this kind of help,”
Schwanck says, referring to FILI’s
translation grants. The organisation
enabled 728,000 euros in grants in 2013.
She says that FILI has worked hard to
make the application process as straightforward as
possible, and adds that she welcomes the opportunity at
Frankfurt to showcase the work of translators–people
who work in minority languages such as Finnish are
Asked about the aims of Finnland.Cool, Schwanck says
that they are to raise awareness of Finnish literature and
culture, and to boost the country’s literary exports. In
Germany, the activities of the programme have attracted a
good deal of coverage already. The Book Fair is likely to
add a considerable boost to FILI’s aims. ■
Education will be a strong theme,
featuring in various events and exhibitions.
The Agora space will display a mobile
library, decorated with Moomins, the
much-loved creations of Tove Jansson, the
centenary of whose birth falls this year. A
Moomins musical will take place on Friday.
Contemporary children’s authors including
Timo Parvela and Seita Vuorela will be
among the Finnish contingent at the Fair.
Iris Schwanck reports the Finnish book
industry to be in reasonable health in the
light of wider economic conditions. Nevertheless, there
is “a decline in sales of books, and ebooks are not
replacing the loss”. This is a country where the per capita
consumption of books is a healthy 17 a year. But the
population is 5. 5 million, and a bestselling title will have
sales of about 70,000 copies. Total book sales in 2013
were worth 253m euros. “So it is very important for us to
look outside Finland,” Schwanck says.
While the majority of translated titles in Finland–
they account for about 17% of the country’s annual
output of almost 4,000 new titles–are from English, the