Finnish Books

The Finnish Institute in London is celebrating the centenary of Finland’s independence by highlighting the importance of literacy, literature and libraries. ‘10×10 Stories from Finland’ campaign has collected 100 books written by Finnish authors, translated into English, in cooperation with British publishing houses. The books are being donated to 10 different libraries around the UK during 2017.
Leeds Central Library was delighted to be part of this campaign and to be selected to receive 10 books. These books are now available for loan in our Lending Library.


A HAPPY LITTLE ISLAND cover final.inddA Happy Little Island by Lars Sund

Lars Sund is a Finnish writer from the Swedish speaking town of Jakobstad. He has written 8 novels and ‘A Happy Little Island’ is the first book translated into English. A scribe shapes the world into an island which he names Fagero, and populated it with an assortment of characters. The people of Fagero were often divided against each other but united in their appreciation of their happy little island. Then the dead bodies began to arrive, washing ashore with no identification and no one to claim them. Fagero’s inhabitants are forced to confront the truth that, even on their remote island, the world’s horrors and injustices could not be ignored.

Finnish Summer BookThe Summer Book by Tove Jansson

Tove Jansson is best known for her Moomin stories which were first published in English over 60 years ago. Jansson then produced a dozen novels for adults including the Summer Book which was a best seller in Finland. An elderly artist and her six year old granddaughter spend the summer together, on a tiny island in the Gulf of Finland, their solitude disturbed only by migrating birds, sudden storms and an occasional passing boat. Gradually, the two learn to adjust to each other’s fears, foibles and yearnings for independence, and a fierce yet understated love emerges – one that engulfs not only the summer inhabitants, but the very island itself. Tove Jansson writes with a special toughness, and with a quiet, dry sense of humour, about a small girl and her grandmother, who as kindred spirits share the long days together.

Finnish Daisy DarlingDaisy Darling, Lets read a Story by Markus Majaluoma

The collection of 10 stories also includes this children’s book by award winning children’s author Markus Majaluoma.
At the end of the day, a story is calming for children and adults alike. Daisy and Daddy start by choosing a book. What should they read? Where does the tale lead them? Daisy has her own favorite, and a wonderful journey begins.

Finnish One EveningOne evening in October I rowed out on the lake by Tua Forsström

Tua Forsström is a visionary Finland-Swedish poet who has become Finland’s most celebrated contemporary poet. Her poetry draws its sonorous and plangent music from the landscapes of Finland, seeking harmony between the troubled human heart and the threatened natural world.


Finnish CompartmentThe Compartment No. 6 by Rosa Liksom

A sad young woman boards a train in Moscow. Bound for Mongolia, she’s trying to leave a broken relationship as far behind her as she can. Wanting to be alone, she chooses an empty compartment – no. 6. Her solitude is soon shattered by the arrival of a fellow passenger: Vadim Nikolayevich Ivanov, a grizzled, opinionated and foul-mouthed ex-soldier. Vadim fills the compartment with his long and colourful stories, recounting his sexual conquests and violent fights in lurid detail.

Finnish IceIce by Ulla-Lena Lundberg

In the summer of 1947, a young priest, Petter, his wife and baby daughter, arrive by mail boat on a tiny island. They are to take over a drafty homestead from where Petter is to minister to the scattered community. In this evocative tale, we are drawn into the minutiae of an austere yet purposeful life where the demands of self-sufficiency – cows to milk and sheep to graze – are tempered by the kindness of neighbours. With each season, the family’s love of the island grows and when the winter brings ice, a new and tentative link is created.

Finnish BicyclingBicycling to the moon by Timo Parvela

Purdy the cat and Barker the dog live together in a sky-blue house on top of a hill. Barker likes to potter in the garden. But Purdy has big dreams. One day Purdy decides that if he could just get a bicycle and ride it to the moon, he will come back the happiest cat in the world, and never want anything else again.

Finnish Winter WarThe Winter War by Philip Teir

On the surface, the Paul family are living the liberal, middle-class Scandinavian dream. Max Paul is a renowned sociologist and his wife Katriina has a well-paid job in the public sector. They live in an airy apartment in the centre of Helsinki. But look closer and the cracks start to show. As he approaches his 60th birthday, the certainties of Max’s life begin to dissolve. He hasn’t produced any work of note for decades. His wife no longer loves him. His grown-up daughters – one in London, one in Helsinki – have problems of their own. So when a former student turned journalist shows up and offers him a seductive lifeline, Max starts down a dangerous path from which he may never find a way back.

Finnish The MineThe Mine by Antti Tuomainen

In the dead of winter investigative reporter Janne Vuori sets out to uncover the truth about a mining company whose illegal activities have created an environmental disaster in a small town in rural Finland. When the company’s executives begin to die in a string of mysterious accidents and Janne’s personal life starts to unravel, past meets present in a catastrophic series of events that could cost him his life.


Among the collection is a copy of the country’s beloved book Kalevala, a collection of epic poetry and one of Finland’s most culturally significant texts.
Compiled in the 19th Century, Kalevala explores the traditional Finnish creation myth, including the fantastic story of the Earth being created from the shards of a duck egg and a string of fantastical quests and adventures. It grew out of a rich oral tradition with prehistoric roots. The poetry was brought together in the 1840s by the Finnish scholar Elias Lönnrot. Published in 1849, it played a central role in the march towards Finnish independence and inspired some of Sibelius’s greatest works.