Estonia is Main Theme at Helsinki Book Fair
27 October (ERR)
During the 11th annual Helsinki Book Fair, which kicked off today, the literary spotlight will shine on Estonian writers, thinkers and artists. In the coming year, a record number of Estonian authors will see their works translated and published in Finnish - 20 in all.
"Estonia's presence at the fair is truly striking, both in terms of the proposed works, the authors present at the fair, and the striking design of the [exhibition] stand," said Asta Trummel, a literary adviser to the Ministry of Culture. "The number of Estonian works translated into Finnish has increased, as has the number of Estonia-themed works published in Finland."
Estonia's "Black Cube" booth – nine meters high, 200 square meters of floor space, and minimalist in design - will be the centrepiece of the fair. It will serve as both exhibition space and bookstore for Estonian events. The "Black Cube" was created by graphic designer and poet Asko Künnap. The book fair will take place at the Helsinki Exhibition and Convention Centre.
For the first time, works by Estonian award-winning authors Ene Mihkelson and Mari Saat will be published in Finnish. Renowned Estonian writer Viivi Luik, already well-known in Finnish literary circles, will see her autobiographical novel, "Varjuteater" (The Shadow Theater), appear in Finnish.
The book fair, which runs until 30 October, will feature talks and seminars by a veritable who's who of Estonian letters. Poets Asko Künnap, Karl Martin Sinijärv, and Jürgen Rooste will deliver Estonian haikus to book fair-goers. Siim Aimla and his band, together with a clutch of poets, will perform poetry and prose to music. Seminars on themes of pan-European social movements and Estonian history will feature such discussants as Marju Lauristin, Toomas Hiio and Mart Laar.
President Toomas Hendrik Ilves also attended to give an opening address and unveil the Finnish translation of a compilation of his essays, articles and interviews. In his speech, Ilves emphasised how the rule of thumb in Anglo-American academic circles to “publish or perish” also applies to small nations, since if they do not develop their literary cultures and have works translated they face the danger of dying out.
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