Publishing in Finland: Leena Majander-Reenpää, Publisher, WSOY

In Global Trade Talk by Hannah Johnson

Interview by Hannah Johnson

WSOY Publisher Leena Majander-Reenpää shares this year’s up-and-coming authors from WSOY, projects she’s working on, and more.
Leena Majander-Reenpää is the publisher of WSOY in Finland

Leena Majander-Reenpää is the publisher of WSOY in Finland

Leading up to Finland’s Guest of Honor appearance at the Frankfurt Book Fair, we spoke with Leena Majander-Reenpää, Publisher of WSOY about Finnish literature and digital publishing projects.

What do you enjoy most about working in book publishing?

Working with authors and books is a continuous adventure and personal learning process. The reaction of readers and response from the market is always a surprise.

Top 3 things to know about WSOY.

  1. WSOY is the Finnish home of the biggest brand authors in the world: Dan Brown, John Grisham, Gillian Flynn, Jo Nesbo…
  2. Always curious about the next big thing.
  3. It is great fun to work with us!

What distinguishes WSOY from other publishers in Finland?

WSOY builds upon a strong publishing tradition dating from the 19th century. We are continuously reinventing publishing, with huge respect for the authors and readers.

Who are some of WSOY’s most acclaimed authors?

Internationally, our best known Finnish classics are Arto Paasilinna and Mika Waltari, whose works are experiencing a revival. This year, we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of Tove Jansson, mother of the Moomins.

Our bright contemporary star is Katja Kettu, whose Midwife is now coming out in Germany, among other countries. She is working on the film and theater manuscripts as well as a new novel.

Which titles are you excited to exhibit in Frankfurt this year?

This year’s breakthrough debut novelist is Tommi Kinnunen, whose Where Four Roads Meet will be published all over. In addition, we’ll have Pekka Hiltunen’s crime series of strong Finnish women and Seita Vuorela’s prize-winning crossover series. Mikko-Pekka Heikkinen and Mooses Mentula are masterly voices from up north, where the sun never sets during the summer months.

What trends do you notice in Finnish publishing right now?

Lots of new voices coming up, everybody wants to write and reach the international market. The project for the Guest of Honor program has opened highways for Finnish literature to reach readers in other languages.

What do you want international publishers to know about the Finnish book market?

With the world’s best school system, the Finns are top performers and extremely avid readers. We are not more than 5.5 million people, but books are a matter of heart for us. For those interested in translating Finnish literature, there are plenty of excellent translators working in many languages.

How much of your time is spent working on digital or tech-related projects?

More and more. But even the digital world needs the stories, and that is what I work with and love.

Can you describe a few of these digital projects?

With a magnificent backlist of 136 years’ worth of books, we need to review what is relevant for today’s readers as well as clear the rights. E-reading is taking huge steps in Finland, and I promote the idea of the consumer’s free choice to combine printed and digital reading experience.

Find WSOY at the 2014 Frankfurt Book Fair in Hall 5.0 A79.

About the Author

Hannah Johnson


Hannah Johnson is the publisher of international book industry magazine Publishing Perspectives, which provides daily information and news about book markets around the world. In addition to building partnerships with international cultural and trade organizations, she works with the Frankfurt Book Fair to organize and support a number of its overseas initiatives. Hannah has also worked as the managing editor for an online media company, The Hooch Life, focused on craft distillers and cocktail experts. Prior to that, she worked as a project manager for the Frankfurt Book Fair’s New York office, managing various business and marketing activities.