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?

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