Literature has always been an important part of Finnish culture. Finns are avid readers, largely owing to the excellent library system. Finns are the most active EU citizens when it comes to using libraries.
In Finland, reading is a hobby that begins in the home at a young age: according to a study by Statistics Finland, about 70% of parents read out loud to their children. Every third Finn reads literature every month, and this figure has remained stable since 2000.
The library system plays a central role in the maintenance and development of Finnish literacy and the advancement of reading as a hobby. The Government supports the development of library activity, and fosters cooperation between schools and libraries.
Public support for literature
Because the market for Finnish literature is small, public support is indispensable for authors. The creative work of writers and translators is supported by means of grants and subsidies, as well as by separate artist grants. The author grants are allocated by the National Council for Literature.
The National Council for Literature compiles for the Ministry an annual list of quality literature of small distribution from which libraries order books. The list includes approximately 400 titles representing Finnish literature, translated literature, books for children and young persons, comics, Sami-language literature, literary studies, books in simple Finnish and audio books.
The Ministry of Education and Culture supports the publication of and information about easy-to-read books.
Translations of Finnish literature
Finnish Literature Exchange FILI disseminates information about Finnish literature abroad and
promotes the translation of Finnish fiction and non-fiction written in Finnish, Swedish and Sami.
The Finnish national epic, the Kalevala, published in 1835, has been translated into 60 languages. The list of the most widely translated Finnish titles also includes Sinuhe Egyptiläinen (Sinuhe the Egyptian) by Mika Waltari, Trollkarlens hatt (Finn Family Moomintroll) by Tove Jansson, Jäniksen vuosi (The Year of the Hare) by Arto Paasilinna, Puhdistus (Purge) by Sofi Oksanen, Århundradets kärleksaga (The Love Story of the Century) by Märta Tikkanen and Joulupukki (Santa Claus) by Mauri Kunnas.
Currently over 200 titles are published in 40–50 languages every year. The Finnish Literature in Translation database contains references to information on Finnish, Swedish, and Sami fiction and non-fiction translations.
- Finnish Literature Information Centre FILI
- The Arts Promotion Centre Finland and national art councils in different art forms
- Finnish Literature Society
- Society of Swedish Literature in Finland
- Finnish Institute for Children's Literature