22 February 08 | Chad W. Post

The Literary Saloon has a link to this article from the Finnish press stating that Finland lost out to Iceland for 2011 Guest of Honor at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

Iris Schwanck, the director of the Finnish Literature Exchange (FILI) was informed on Wednesday of the negative decision by Jürgen Boos, the director of the Frankfurt Book Fair.

“The negative decision is a major disappointment, because the programme Finland offered was excellent, and because the popularity of Finnish literature is just now showing a strong upward trend in Germany”, noted Schwanck.

Apparently, there were non-literary factors at work in this decision:

Nokia’s decision to close down its factory in the German city of Bochum has aroused plenty of negative feelings against Finland in Germany, as has been regularly reported on these pages.

“In fact, Jürgen Boos admitted that the Bochum situation did not make the atmosphere favourable for Finland. However, he offered us another opportunity to apply for the guest of honour position for 2013-2014”, reported Schwanck.

That’s unfortunate for Finland—and FILI, which is one of the best literary cultural organizations in the world—but great news for Iceland, which is very deserving of the honor.


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