Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

Exploring the Helsinki Book Fair 2015

Helsinki Book Fair 2015 was a four-day stretch of bookworm-y wonderfulness: book sales, author interviews, panel discussions, and great food if you happened to slip into the Wine, Food & Good Living fair, which was held at the same time in Messukeskus. I had the honor of performing at one of the panels on the opening day. The panel discussion centered on a Finnish literature magazine, Lukufiilis, which is set to transform into an online magazine at the beginning of next year, as it is immensely difficult and expensive to maintain a print magazine, especially one as specialized as Lukufiilis. The editorial staff is hopeful that the publication will become bigger and better through this massive makeover: a more impactful presence in social media, perhaps more frequent publishing dates, and increasingly more varied content should increase the magazine’s popularity.

The panel was led by the members of KirjaKallio, students from Kallio high school. They had prepared a presentation of their ideal literature magazine, which focused on isuses, such as social media presence, engaging readers through the writers’ own voices, and presenting accessible and relatable content. Many of the topics that were discussed have been important for Lukufiilis for a long time and are going to be addressed even further after the change into online form. It was, in fact, clear throughout the discussion that the views of our intended readers, such as the KirjaKallio students, coincided with the views of many of our writers, including Terhi Rannela, my co-speaker at the fair as well as the editor-in-chief of Lukufiilis. The synergy from the readers and writers is sure to lead Lukufiilis into an exciting future.

Pictures by Laura Kurki.

After the panel ended, I had the pleasure to roam around the fair checking out the numerous booths. I tend to always be in search of new books to read, so I tried to take advantage of the book fair and buy affordable titles there. Most of the book stores and publishers had good deals, but I found that the best bargains were always at the used books section: there are often even brand new novels and everything is very reasonably priced, whether it’s new books or slightly older ones. You might even find some familiar and long-missed titles from your childhood, as I did. There is nothing more lovely than being nostalgic over the books that transported you to foreign lands and unforgettable adventures as a child.

The theme country this year was Russia and the fair had a wide range of Russian authors who came to visit. Also, the selection of authors representing different genres, such as fantasy and crime, was inspiring. All ideas were utilized: even Skype was used to interview an English author Dan Smith about the novels he’s penned.

Pictures by Laura Kurki.

The annual Food, Wine, and Good Living Fair is usually held at the same time as the Helsinki Book Fair, which means that when your feet start dragging the ground and your stomach sounds like a cat in heat, you can just pop over to get tasty treats from the food stalls that served delicacies from all over the world. The food is occasionally overpriced, so it’s best to find one of the cheapest options and supplement it with the free tastings that most booths have. It’s not everyday that you get to sample Italian cheeses, chorizo, local spicy mustard, and chocolate cake.

The book fair is an occasion that brightens up the fall tremendeously: anyone with a soft spot for reading, writing, drawing, translating, or publishing should consider it a must-see event. No matter how much there is talk about books dying due to the rise of Kindle and other e-readers, or about reading being a dying form of entertainment, the book fair always proves those naysayers wrong.

An English philology major with a passion for reading and writing. I also like photography and wish I was better at it. If you're a fan of Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Charmed or Buffy, we already have something in common.
Similar Reads👯‍♀️