Books from Finland

Jyrki Hakapää

The academic year is about to begin here in Finland. The university buildings are filling with new students running through their introductory lectures and campus tours. Our blog acknowledges the beginning of the academic year with an entry on the Finnish contemporary literature.

A good number of Finnish writers have been translated to foreign languages and some have even risen to international fame: for example all Frenchmen probably know Arto Paasilinna, Matti Rönkä’s criminal novels became recently German critics’ favorites, and Americans might remember how Mika Waltari’s Sinuhe the Egyptian became a Hollywood movie. And who could forget Tove Jansson and the Moomin family? However, Finnish publishers have not traditionally invested much effort in promoting their authors in the international market, and literary agents are only a recent phenomenon in the Finnish book business. For a long time the distribution of information about Finnish literature was largely based on one publication, the journal Books from Finland which is published jointly by the Finnish Literature Society and FILI – Finnish Literature Exchange. Founded in 1967 and published in print form until 2008, the journal is now available online for free.

Books from Finland offers a broad view on Finnish literary culture. It publishes articles and interviews of contemporary writers as well as translations of their works. Besides fiction, the site also offers essays on contemporary literary culture and reviews of academic works in the fields of literature studies and book history.

When it comes to book history and book historians’ interest towards recent developments of literary and print culture as well as publishing business, Books from Finland has interesting articles to offer. In a recent volume, the literary scholar Teemu Manninen writes about ways of re-inventing the book. Though many have eulogised the new media – internet, e-book and digital publishing – Manninen points out dissident voices that foretell the return of the paper. You can also find a mini review of the history and bibliography of Finnish-language literature published in Soviet Union during 1918–1944, Suomi rajan takana, by Pauli Kruhse and Antero Uitto.

PS. We have added some new features to the blog. On the right side you will find a list of blogs and websites who have kindly mentioned our blog or the forthcoming Book Culture from Below – The 18th Annual SHARP Conference. Moreover, there are links to bloggers who have become our followers. Neither list is supposed to be comprehensive sources for book history or book historians; rather they are meant to function as social tools. We are thrilled to have company while blogging about book history!


  1. Thanks for linking to my blog! (Past and Future book). It's quite a new blog, so I'm still learning. Maybe I will add a post about Tove Janssen, as the Moomin books were among my favorites as a child...

  2. interesting article..maybe i could make it some of my reference...thanks for showing it to me...

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