Rights Edition: Finland’s Oulu Stages the 2022 ‘Books Meet Rights’

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The northern-Finnish rights-trading program ‘Black Hole: Books Meet Rights’ has its second annual outing, February 11 and 12.

A cyclist looks at springtime ice in the Gulf of Bothnia at Oulu, about 100 miles from the Arctic Circle, May 1, 2018. Image – Getty iStockphoto: Aki Kipinä

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Seminar Sessions and One-on-One Meetings
The literary agent Urtė Liepuoniūtė at Helsinki Literary Agency last year alerted us to a “black hole” of a kind more promising than they usually seem.

Black Hole: Books Meets Rights is the name of the Oulu Writers Association‘s second annual rights-focused digital conference and one-on-one trading sessions. This year it’s set for February 11 and 12. And while it was entirely online last year (snow-free, after all), this year, a limited number of people may be able to participate in person in cultural programming set in the northern Finnish seaport of Oulu, which is Finland’s fifth most populous urban hub after Helsinki, Espoo, Tampere, and Vantaa. It’s been selected as Europe’s Capital of Culture for 2026.

The digital platform will again be Brella.io, and the organizers were pleasantly surprised last year, they say, to find participants from 19 countries engaging with the effort on its first outing.

This year, the speakers include:

  • Bjarne Michael Jensen and Jeanne Dalgaard from Denmark
  • Edinburgh International Book Festival director Nick Barley
  • Germany-based translator Elina Kritzokat
  • Nillas Homberg, the Sámi musician and author of Halla Helle, a Liepuoniūtė client who has sold the book’s rights to France’s Éditions du Seuil

The Oulu writers’ organization is made up of professionals who founded their association in 2010 at the Oulu House of Literature and featured in a magazine called Stiiknafuulia

Pre-registration is here, and we’ll give you some of the high points of the program below.

Oulu’s ‘Black Hole’ Rights Programming 2022

All times in our listings here are GMT+2 hours. That’s Eastern European Standard Time, EEST.

Friday February 11

  • 11 a.m.: Welcome
    Journalist Pia Kaitasuo, Kaleva
  • 11:05 a.m.: ‘The Gravity of Black Hole’
    Antti Leikas, chair, Oulu Writers Association
  • 11:15 a.m.: Place-Making, Community Building and Fostering the Creative Sector: Cornerstones of Cultural Climate Change in Oulu
    Johanna Tuukkanen, head of cultural services and director of the cultural center Valve, City of Oulu
  • 11.30 a.m.: Finnish International Literary Rights Sales
    Päivi Haarala, International Projects Manager, FILI, the Finnish Literature Exchange
  • 11:45 a.m.: Publishing Finnish Literature in Denmark
    Publishers Bjarne Michael Jensen and Jeanne Dalgaar, Jensen & Dalgaard
  • 12:45 p.m.: Translating Finnish Literature Into German: ‘My Experiences in Europe’s Most Important Market for Translations’
    Translator Elina Kritzokat
  •  13:15 p.m.: The Land of Kaamos: The Lure of Northern Finnish Literature
    Urtė Liepuoniūtė, Helsinki Literary Agency
  •  2 p.m.: Northern Literature: Authors’ Perspectives
    Authors Simo Hiltunen and Sami Lopakka
    Moderator: Jirky Korpua, University of Oulu
  • 2:30 p.m.: Sámi Literature
    Niillas Holmberg
    Interviewer: Veli-Pekka Lehtola, Sámi culture professor at the Giellagas Institute, University of Oulu
  • 3:30 p.m.: Seminar Wrap-Up
    Pia Kaitasuo, Kaleva, and Antti Leikas, Oulu Writers Association
    Literary agent Viivi Arela , Helsinki Literary Agency
  • 4 to 8 p.m.: One-on-One Meetings
    Participants can book 30-minute one-on-one meetings with each other
  • 9 p.m.: In-Person Only (not streamed): Black Hole Club
    Food and Lounge, Mannenkatu 2, Oulu
    Niillas Holmberg and composer and saxophonist Pauli Lyytinen with music and poetry.

Saturday February 12

  • 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.: One-on-One Meetings
    Participants can book 30-minute one-on-one meetings with each other
  • 2 p.m.: Nick Barley, Edinburgh International Book Festival
  • 2:30 p.m. ‘The Resilience of Books: Long-Term Effects of the Pandemic on the Book Industry’
    Nick Barley,  Urtė Liepuoniūtė, Jyrki Korpua
  • 3:15 p.m. Seminar Wrap-Up
    Pia Kaitasuo, comics artist Lauri Ahtinen, author Jenni Räinä
  • 4 to 7 p.m.: One-on-One Meetings
    Participants can book 30-minute one-on-one meetings with each other
  • 8 p.m.: Virtual Club
    Casual conversation, hosted by Tuomo Heikkinen, Oulu Writers Association

The event is made possible by the financial support of the Council of Oulu Region and the City of Oulu. Partners include the Finnish Literature Exchange FILI; Helsinki Literary Agency; and
Arts Promotion Center Finland.


More from Publishing Perspectives on the Finnish market is here, more on rights is here, and more on the ‘digital acceleration’ observed in world publishing’s pandemic years is here.

More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is a non-resident fellow of Trends Research & Advisory, and he has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As as an arts critic (National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.

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