Publishing in Finland: Nina Paavolainen, CEO of Teos

In Global Trade Talk by Hannah Johnson

By Hannah Johnson

Nina Paavolainen, CEO of Teos, presents the latest titles, top authors, and market observations from this independent Finnish publishing house.
Nina Paavolainen, CEO of Teos Publishing in Helsinki, Finland

Nina Paavolainen, CEO of Teos Publishing in Helsinki, Finland

Leading up to Finland’s Guest of Honor appearance at the Frankfurt Book Fair, we spoke with Nina Paavolainen, CEO of Teos, an independent publishing house in Helsinki which focuses on Finnish fiction and non-fiction.

Top 3 things to know about Teos:

  1. Teos is an independent publishing house, focusing primarily on works of Finnish fiction and non-fiction with a list of 40-45 new titles per year. This year, we celebrate our 10th anniversary. Small in size but big in publishing literary fiction: our authors have won the prestigious Finlandia Prize three times — last year’s prize went to our author Riikka Pelo — and many of our authors have been translated and published abroad.
  2. We also have published translations of modern classics like Thomas Bernhard, Jorge Luis Borges and Clarice Lispector in the series called Baabel. Furthermore, our translation list includes names like P. G. Wodehouse, A. S. Byatt and Hilary Mantel. Brilliant, steady-selling names with translations made by top translators.
  3. In order to systematically introduce works by interesting Finland-Swedish authors in Finnish, we work in collaboration with publishing company Schildts&Söderströms. We do some children’s books with them as well.

Who are some of Teos’ most acclaimed authors?

The list of Finnish authors is actually quite long: Johanna Sinisalo, Leena Krohn, Mikko Rimminen, Riikka Pelo, Ulla-Lena Lundberg… Emmi Itäranta’s fantasy title, Memory of Water, has been sold into 16 countries, including the USA. Minna Lindgren’s hilarious “granny crime” series, set in a home for elderly, is a best-seller in Finland and selling well in foreign markets as well.

What titles are you excited to exhibit in Frankfur this year?

We’ll have new literary titles in Frankfurt by Riikka Pelo, Eeva-Kaarina Aronen and Satu Taskinen, all award-winning writers, and all different. Pelo writes about the relationship between Russian poet Marina Tsetayeva and her daughter; Aronen tells a mystery story set in Helsinki in the ’50s; and Taskinen’s story is set in Vienna, her actual hometown. All exquisite writing!

What trends do you notice in Finnish publishing right now?

Finns are still avid readers and like domestic writers. For foreign publishers, there is a wide spectrum of writing to discover from crime and fantasy to literary fiction. Fortunately, there are also good translators and translation grants available.

You can find Teos at the 2014 Frankfurt Book Fair in Hall 5.0 A79.

About the Author

Hannah Johnson

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Hannah Johnson is the Publisher of Publishing Perspectives. Before joining PP in 2009, she worked as Project Manager at the German Book Office New York.