Book World Prague, the largest annual book fair in the Czech Republic, hosted Nordic countries as joint guests-of-honour this year. The four-day book fair took place between May 12 and 15 and generated a lot of interest.
Around 50 different events focusing on Nordic literature and culture took place at the exhibition grounds. Discussions, lectures and book signings were attended by 18 Nordic authors and experts. Among the Finnish authors were Elina Hirvonen, Katja Kettu, Johanna Sinisalo and Antti Tuomainen. The programme also included launches of new Czech translations of Nordic books, exhibitions, micro courses in Nordic languages, Nordic gastronomy events, etc.
The core of the Nordic presentation and this year’s fair was the Nordic Stand, which was opened by Danish Minister of Culture Bertel Haarder and Czech Minister of Culture Daniel Herman together with three Nordic ambassadors in Prague and the visiting Nordic authors. The Nordic Stand was designed by two young designers from the Czech Technical University in Prague Monika Fišerová and Markéta Rádková.
To generate interest and provide insight into the region’s contemporary trends and its rich literary heritage, the four Nordic Embassies in Prague, together with the Scandinavian House, launched the #ReadNordic literature campaign already in September 2015. Iceland joined the other Nordic countries at the book fair. The campaign was divided into eight thematic months and consisted of a reading challenge, a social media campaign, visits by Nordic authors, film screenings and other cultural events.
From a Finnish perspective, highlights of the campaign included an event in November that was dedicated to Finnish historic novels and focused on the work of Mika Waltari, a literature discussion in Brno that focused on Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen's book The Rabbit Back Literature Society, as well as author Minna Lindgren's visit to Prague in April. The Czech translation of Katja Kettu's novel Kätilö (Porodní bába) was the best-selling book at the Nordic Stand.
Embassy of Finland in Prague wants to thank those who were involved in and supported the project, in particular the Finnish Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers, FILI, Nokian Tyres, Škoda Transportation, Tieto and YIT!