Helsinki Book Fair 2015 – Day 1 & 2

Helsinki Book Fair (Helsingin Kirjamessut) is an annual trade fair for books held since 2001. It is held in Helsinki Exhibition and Convention Centre. This year event is held 22-25 October.

Day 1 – Thursday

Russia is the theme country this year at Helsinki Book Fair and it has  influenced the program highly.  On Thursday, there was a lovely event where hosts read poems of Korney Chukovsky. Chukovsky is known for his poems for children, he is basically Dr.Seuss of Russia. Hosts of the event also explained the history and meaning of his poems and they also told more about Chukovsky himself. There was also a lot of discussion all around the book fair on freedom of speech in Russia and both Finnish and Russian authors discussed what kind of challenges literature faces in Russia.

This was my first book fair so I think I was overly excited about the program, my original plan had way too many seminars and author interviews.  In the end, my first day at Helsinki Book Fair consisted pretty much of shopping… I bought many second hand books (there was a second hand book fair at same time yay) some new books and lovely bookish bags and notebooks. Kind of wrecked my budget in the process.

Day 2 – Friday

On second day, I did plenty of book shopping, however I managed to visit many different events as well.

10.30 – 11.oo  Finnish hockey player Jarkko Ruutu talked about his biography Jumalainen näytelmä (written by Tuomas Nyholm). It was fascinating to hear about Jarkko’s life in US and in NHL. I was surprised to learn how hockey player who is practically worshipped in Finland was once hated in US.

16.30- 17.00 Sofi Oksanen discussed her newest book ‘Norma’. Sofi Oksanen is a wonderful author. Her books Puhdistus (Eng.Purge) and Kun kyyhkyset katosivat (Eng. When the Doves Disappeared) explore Estonia’s terrible wartime through fictional stories. Unfortunately I haven’t had time to read Norma yet.

17.00-17.30 Luke Harding: The Snowden Files (Finnish translation: Snowden – maailman halutuin mies). I have read Harding’s previous book ‘Mafia State: how one reporter became an enemy of the brutal new Russia’ and it was stunning. For a while it seemed like no one would dare to write about Russia truthfully anymore and most authors seem to discuss same old topics over and over again. And then Harding did it, something new and something amazing. I haven’t read The Snowden Files yet but based on his interview, it sounded very worth of reading.

I´ll continue this post on Sundaywith day 3. Stay tooned

To what book fairs have you been to? Have you read books written by Finnish authors?

18 thoughts on “Helsinki Book Fair 2015 – Day 1 & 2

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  1. There is a small fair near to where I live, at Oundle in Northamptonshire. I also like to go to Edinburgh. What would you recommend as an introduction to Finnish literature?

    1. Aaa I see, it would be lovely to visit book fair abroad :) especially in English speaking country. The Egyptian by Mika Waltari is my favorite one, Purge by Sofi Oksanen, Seven Brothers by Aleksis Kivi (book is interesting because it describes how Finland was once very poor and illiterate country) and Mr Boo by Hannu Mäkelä.

      1. we just have a local three day book store a year . they concentrate on other genre and not on fiction, young adult ,fantasy (my interest presently ) There aint any book signing /interviewing the author event …

        1. I see, I’m sorry to hear that. That’s sometimes the problem with some book stores and libraries, they fail to see the greatness of fantasy and YA books o.O

  2. How exciting! Book Fairs are awesome aren’t they? Glad you got to see and hear and be around all these different authors and such. :)

    I’ve been to BookCon, the Frankfurt Book Fair, Scholastic Book Fairs (several), and the Annual New York Antiquarian Book Fair. I don’t know it Comic Con counts, but I’ve obviously been to that a number of times and there are crazy amounts of books and book sellers there of all kinds.

      1. Lovely! :) The book fairs you attended, did you travel there especially because of the book fair or did you combine it with holiday etc. TIBF is so going on to my bucket list

        1. Oh! Haha, I didn’t see this comment when I replied to your other one.

          So basically, the only ones I went to JUST for me and not for work was… NYCC a couple times (back in High School & then College), the Antiquarian Book Fair a couple years ago, a Scholastic Book Fair (when I was little), and BookCon the very first year it hosted the event. :) All the other times were for work or combined with a trip. SDCC, and the yearly NYCC, Frankfurt, and Scholastic fairs were all for work’s sake. TIBF was just super good timing on my part when I went to visit family in Yokohama. XD And it was AWESOME. I soooo want to go again.

    1. Ah, Comic con (of course that counts!) …Frankfurt Book Fair… everything I want to visit one day! I need to travel more…and get a job that would allow me to travel XD

      1. Lol~ Well good!Glad it counts. XD And, actually… it was because of my job that I was able to go to most of these. Comic Con, not so much, but the others where I had to travel? Oh yeah. XDD No way I would have been able to go to them otherwise. Sooo much fun though. Would gladly go again if I could.

        What kinds of jobs are you interested in? I went into publishing which is why I was able to go to such cool things, but there are a bunch of other kinds of jobs that would let you go to amazing events like this free of charge! (Or almost free in some cases.)

        1. Okay haha. I was just wondering that how is that possible, that’s (SO SUPER COOL!) awesome! :) Whenever someone mentions cool book fairs or comic cons, travel bug bites me immediately lol.

          I’m getting my degree now in tourism and hospitality and in future I’d love to organize different kinds of events and such. Or something to do with marketing and social media. Though now (for some unknown reason haha) publishing sounds like a very interesting sphere. I’ll look into that :) thank you!

          1. Ahaha, yeaahh. I know the feeling. I’m always wondering how people can go to so many of these events without the help (or requirement) of work/business, retirement (and thus have all the time in the world), and such forth.

            Huh. That’s an interesting degree. I would have never thought about that, but mostly because I would never want to go into travel lol~ Doing a little here and there is fine, but not for an everyday job. :P If you really do decide to go into Publishing, I urge caution. 8D;;; Be aware that you will be constantly working. There will be no time for anything else. xDD;; *word of advice from this workaholic who’s fit to do this sort of gurgling, time-restrictive job*

            1. I can relate to that haha, I think that’s why I slowly try to immerse myself in the event world :D I love “constantly working”! So in that sense it might be something for me. Thank you for the advice/warning! :)

              1. Ohh, then Publishing/Editorial would definitely be the place for you! :D You get to travel every so often, work all the time, meet interesting people/artists/authors/etc. Done. We’ve planned out your life lol~

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