Literature from the Nordic countries and a vast selection of Finnish books at the Helsinki Book Fair


The Helsinki Book Fair gathers authors, books and literature buffs to Messukeskus Helsinki from Thursday to Sunday, 27-30 October 2016. This year the theme is the literature and culture of the Nordic countries. Finland’s biggest literature event raises discussion about the immigration, education and the economy. This autumn presents the book lovers with a vast variety of new Finnish releases. New at the fair is the extended opening hour on Thursday and the book industry’s joint get-together party.

The Helsinki Book Fair offers over 800 presentations by approximately 1000 authors, translators, directors, actors, artists, politicians and other influential figures of the society. All this is happening on 15 stages, two of which are dedicated to programme in Swedish. In addition to all this, the exhibitors offer versatile programme on their stands from interviews to debates and book reviews. The amount of exhibitors is this year 245, 40 of them at the Antiquarian Book Fair. All major publishers and book stores are on display and this year also a host of self-published authors.

”The year 2016 has been very strong for fiction. Also non-fiction is well presented and our financial morning on Thursday is something totally new for our visitors”, lists Programme Director Jan Erola who has this year for the first time produced the programme. “My aim is to keep the programme up to date and reflect what is happening in our society, and, of course, give new and inspiring experiences to our visitors. We are also building closer ties between literature, theatre and the movie industry”.

Nordic countries offer more than crime novels

According to the event’s theme, several crime writers from the Nordic countries present their works, for example, Swedish Nils Håkanson, Michael Hjorth and Hans Rosenfeldt, Viveca Sten and Stefan Ahnhem, Samuel Bjørk and Ingar Johnsrud from Norway, and Lone Theils from Denmark.
The Nordic Council’s Literature Prize finalists gather at the Helsinki Book Fair right before the actual award ceremony in Copenhagen 1 November. Altogether 9 finalists visit the Helsinki Book Fair: Linn Ullman, Geir Gulliksen and Sara Margrethe Oskal from Norway, Sirpa Kähkönen and Sabine Forsblom from Finland, Carina Karlsson from Åland, Sørine Steenholdt from Greenland, Elisabet Kristin Jökulsdóttir and Guðbergur Bergsson from Iceland.

The Helsinki Book Fair presents over 50 international authors, for example, Andrus Kivirähk and Rein Raud from Estonia, Don Rosa, Kelly A. Turner and Tim Walker from the USA. The majority of authors come from the Nordic countries.

Immigration of our time and education

The Helsinki Book Fair is opened by author Jari Tervo who has published a book addressing the issue immigration. The immigration of our time is covered in various discussions, for example, on the opening day in a panel discussion which tackles the question how Finland and Finnishness is displayed outside our borders. Other themes covered are integration and versatility, the global aspects of immigration, Finland in the eyes of a refugee and Europe in crisis.

A charity auction is held on Saturday 29 October from 5 pm to 6 pm. The profit goes to children living in reception centres around Finland and the aim is to promote reading and learning both Finnish and Swedish.

Education is also in the spotlight as the Finnish elementary school turns 150 this year. The programme includes a debate on education and a panel discussion about the export of our educational system.

Financial Thursday

For the first time the Helsinki Book Fair offers programme focusing on financial issues and the economy. Two stages are dedicated for this on Thursday 27 October from 10 am to 12 pm. Business morning gives valuable information to the visitors about the different aspects of finance. The Helsinki Book Fair and Kauppalehti Optio, Finland’s leading financial magazine, organise a business breakfast where financial leaders and experts discuss literature. The breakfast takes place on Thursday from 8 am to 10 am, right before fair opens. “The financial programme gives a good reason to skip work and come to the Helsinki Book Fair already in the morning”, explains Erola.

Children and teenagers as priority
The Helsinki Book Fair offers plenty of programme for children and the renewed stages are Tarina and Magia. Tarina offers programme for children under 7, whereas Magia focuses on older children. On Saturday a hobby horse race electrifies the event and Sunday is a day for princesses. “It is important to bear in mind that children are the most important target group. They are the future of reading and education”, states Erola.
The Helsinki Book Fair in cooperation with the Finnish Association of Non-fiction Writers and Finland’s Finnish teachers’ association organise Book Orienteering also this year. It invites 800 school kids and students to the fair for free to get excited about books and reading.

KirjaKallio is special programme for teenagers organised by peers from the Kallio Upper Secondary School of Performing Arts. The producer is this year Jonni Haasanen and this is the fifth year of KirjaKallio at the Helsinki Book Fair. This time the students themselves choose the books, do the interviews and take a more leading role in the whole process.

Record number of  musicians
The younger book lovers are pampered this year. Books are published from rappers JVG and Cheek, artists Antti Tuisku, Danny, Paperi T, Remu, Jari Sillanpää, Juha Tapio, Pate Mustajärvi, Pauli Hanhiniemi, Sami Yaffa and rock band Eppu Normaali.

Night for literature and book lovers
On Thursday 27 October the event is this year open to 8 pm. This makes it possible to stop by and enjoy literature even after work. After the doors are closed, the evening continues in the restaurants of Messukeskus Helsinki. ”We gather the entire industry, authors and book lovers to relax and enjoy each other’s company”, summarises Erola.

The Helsinki Book Fair 2016 offers:
-Tiedetori, non-fiction programme Thu-Fri
-Programme by the Union of Finnish Writers Sat-Sun
-Detective Saturday
-Poems non-stop
-First published authors
-Helsingin Sanomat presents first published authors

The Helsinki Book Fair is this year organised for the 16th time and it is commissioned by the Finnish Book Publishers Association and the Booksellers’ Association of Finland. The Helsinki Book Fair is Finland’s largest literature event and a significant national cultural forum. The Antiquarian Book Fair will be held simultaneously and it is organised in cooperation with the Finnish Antiquarian Bookseller’s Association. A special area is also reserved for a stamp exhibition. In 2015 the Helsinki Book Fair gathered 328 exhibitors and 79,961 visitors.

At the same time, with the same admission also the Wine, Food and Good Living event.
For more information, please contact:
The Helsinki Book Fair, Communications Manager, Messukeskus Helsinki, tel. +358 50 376 0804,
Programme Director Jan Erola, tel. +358 0 506 4612,
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