The Finnish Reading Center
Reaching out by reading!
Mission of the Finnish Reading Centre
The Finnish Reading Centre celebrates its 40th birthday this year. It is a well-established literary organization, with a history of innovative and successful reading campaigns.
Our mission is to promote reading, and to produce materials and services for schools in particular, but also for libraries and the general public, for the benefit of children and young people all over Finland. We are funded by the government (Ministry of Education and Culture), together with several Finnish charitable foundations.
Our basic activity centres around organizing author visits. We generally receive over 300 requests a year for these visits from schools, libraries and other organizations. That amounts to about 700 events each year. We oversee the visiting authors´ fees, and our fee structure is used widely as a standard. At the moment we are also creating an extranet author database to speed up the process, and looking at models for permanent funding for our A Writer To Every School visiting programme.
In addition, we have run several major campaigns to promote reading during the last decade, aimed at children, teenagers and young adults, all funded by the Finnish Cultural Foundation and the Swedish Language Cultural Foundation. The main thrust of these projects has been an extended programme of authors´ visits. In a project called “Runo vieköön”, poets and writers of youth literature joined forces to create a new genre: youth poetry. In an earlier project, authors visited vocational schools. We have also run Joy And Comfort From Reading – a project which involves sending writers of children’s books to hospitals and orphanages.
Furthermore, we publish three literature magazines. “Vinski” is aimed at children, and “Lukufiilis” is for young people. Both are quarterlies. The special feature of these two magazines is that children and young people write most of the articles and book reviews themselves. The reviews are also published on our website. The editorial boards of these magazines consist of professionals such as schoolteachers and writers. Our third and largest literature magazine is published on the Web: “Kiiltomato” (Swedish title “Lysmasken”) releases three to four reviews each week, a quarter of them in Swedish. The site reviews Finnish and foreign fiction and non-fiction of the kind that deserves more exposure than it receives in the mainstream media. “Kiiltomato” is very well known in Finland, and its regular readers include professionals and the general public.
Besides arranging author visits and publishing magazines, we organize an annual Reading Week, and we host literature events with local partners at the Writers’ House in central Helsinki, the headquarters of the Finnish Reading Centre.
The Finnish Reading Centre consists of ten member organizations, the leading literary societies in Finland. They are: Society of Swedish Language Authors in Finland (FSF); KVS Foundation; The Finnish Critics’ Association; The Union of Finnish Writers; Finnish Library Association; The Finnish Association of Translators and Interpreters; The Association of Finnish Writers for Children and Youth; The Finnish Dramatists’ Union; The Finnish Association of Non-fiction Writers, as well as The Federation of Teachers of Finnish.
The Finnish Reading Centre operates very closely with Finnish authors, publishers and literary organizations. We have also developed a network of international contacts in order to exchange experiences with, and import best practices from similar organizations in Europe.
For further information please contact:
Executive Director Anu Laitila
tel. +358 9 7746 1133