FRANCE AT THE HELSINKI BOOK FAIR
France is the theme country of the Helsinki Book Fair this year. French literary figures making an appearance at the event include prose writers, poets, scholars and a comic strip author. The writers will be interviewed on the stages located in different parts of the exhibition hall, while panel discussions will focus on contemporary French philosophy, literature and society.
Prose writers and poets
The Russian-born Andreï Makine will be talking about his relationship with Russia and why he makes so much use of Russian themes in his books. A Finnish translation of the novel La vie d’un homme inconnu (the tenth of Makine’s novels published in Finnish) and a pocket-book version of the translation of his breakthrough work Le testament franÇais, which has also received the Prix Goncourt, have just been published.
Pierre Pével is one of France’s most prominent fantasy writers. He has written seven books and received numerous awards. The novel Les Lames du Cardinal, which is set in 17th century France, will be published in Finnish this autumn.
Yannick Haenel sheds light on the life of Jan Karski and tells us why he wrote a novel about him. The novel, which is based on true events, tells about a man who tried to stop the Holocaust. Jan Karski was a member of the Polish resistance and worked as a courier for the Polish government-in-exile based in London.
Nicolas Fargues has published a large number of novels. J’étais derrière toi, which has also been translated into Finnish, is about the problems affecting a relationship. It was nominated for the Prix Goncourt in 2006.
Timothée de Fombelle, a literature teacher, playwright and a leader of a theatre group, reveals how his first work, Tobi Lolness, its 1.5-mm tall hero and the ecological message that the book conveys became a word-wide success story. The novel, which is intended for young readers, has been translated into 25 languages and has received awards in many countries.
Comic strip authors Charles Berberian and Philippe Dupuy have created the series Monsieur Jean, which has been showered with prizes. Charles Berberian will make an appearance at the Book Fair. The two are also well-known for their humorous travel books.
Sophie Loizeau and Hélène Sanguinetti will be reciting their poems, while the translator responsible for the Finnish versions will be reading from the translations. Finnish translations of their poems are contained in the anthology Runoilevien naisten kaupunki (A city of poetesses), which was published earlier this year.
Mwènè Okoundji, a Congolese poet who lives in France and writes in French, will be interviewed by Jyrki Kiiskinen, who has translated many of his poems into Finnish. Grégoire Polet is a Belgian who writes in French. He will be talking about his novel Leurs vies éclatantes (??), which was nominated for the Prix Goncourt in 2007. The Finnish translation will be published this autumn.
Contemporary literature and the Renaissance
The panel discussion Onko ranskalaisessa nykyfilosofiassa päätä tai häntää? (Does contemporary French philosophy make any sense?) was prompted by the recently published Finnish translations of Michel Foucault’s, François Dosse’s and Jean-Luc Nancy’s works. Finnish experts will be debating the topic and the discussion will be chaired by Tuomas Nevanlinna.
Tommi Melender and Antti Nylén will be talking about their relationship with the works of Michel Houellebecq, a much talked-about French writer. The discussion will be chaired by Timo Hannikainen, the editor of the book Mitä Houellebecq tarkoittaa? (What does Houellebecq mean?).
Translator Ville Keynäs and Arto Kivimäki, an antiquities expert, will be discussing the issue of Rabelaisianism. Keynäs has translated into Finnish Le tiers-livre de Pantagruel, a comical masterpiece created by the 16th century writer François Rabelais.
How do contemporary Finnish and French democracy differ from one another? The subject will be discussed by Eeva Luhtakallio, a Finnish scholar who has written her doctoral thesis on the subject, and Marion Carruel, a French sociologist and university lecturer.
French librarians and Finnish experts of French culture will be discussing the differences between the French and Finnish literary cultures and educational systems.
Anne Colin du Terrail will be talking to Leena Lehtolainen and Johanna Sinisalo, two Finnish writers whose books she has translated into French. The discussion will be chaired by Iris Schwanck. The Swedish poet Anna Franklin and Jacques Outin, who has translated works of Swedish literature into French, will be reciting poems in Swedish and French.
Riikka Ala-Harja and Hannu Väisänen, two Finnish writers living in France, will be talking about their recent novels.
A French star
Actress and writer Anne Wiazemsky, who also holds the title of princess, personifies the many different aspects of French culture. The Nobel writer François Mauriac was her grandfather. Anne Wiazemsky was married to the film director Jean-Luc Godard between the years 1967 and 1979 and played the main roles in films by him, Robert Bresson, Pier Paolo Pasolini and other directors. Wiazemsky has also had a distinguished career as a writer. She has published a total of ten novels, the first in 1988. They have all appeared under the label of Gallimard, a highly respected French publishing house.
Two of Wiazemsky’s novels will be published in Finnish in early autumn. Jeune fille is about the experiences of an 18-year-old girl starring in a film by Bresson, while Mon enfant de Berlin tells the story of the writer’s parents. The Finnish translations are by Sari Hongell and they have been published by Artemisia edizioni.
Three films, in which Anne Wiazemsky plays the main role, will be shown in the Orion Cinema in Helsinki during the Book Fair. The films are Teorema by Pier Paolo Pasolini, La chinoise by Jean-Luc Godard and L'enfant sécret by Philippe Garrel.
For more information:
Programme Director Tuula Isoniemi, firstname.lastname@example.org, tel. +358 500 841 937
The Finnish Fair Corporation, Communications Officer Teija Armanto, email@example.com, tel. +358 50 376 0804