Best practices in communication, promotion and outreach
The most visible form of Nimikot’s activity is the running of the www.nimikot.fi website. From the home page, those interested in member associations’ activities can find the contact information for the various associations, information about the associations’ work and the author for which each association is named. Through the site, one can get into contact with or become a member of all of the associations, as well as a supportive member of the Federation. The nimikot.fi website receives 400 visits per day on average, with the record being 1512 hits in September 2012. The Federation’s web page helps the associations to concentrate on their primary mission: the conservation of writers’ cultural heritage and making their literary production known. However, the pages also include information on literature-related events, theatre performances, new and old publications as well as the writers’ associations’ current news.
With the help of its webpage, book fairs and general meetings, Nimikot unites writers’ associations active in different parts of Finland under the same roof. The northernmost associations are situated in Lapland and the southernmost in the Helsinki region. The distance between these is some 1,100 km. Adding to this diversity, the member associations within the Federation are very different in size. The smallest associations have 20-50 members, while the largest has 700. The Federation’s mission is to serve as fairly as possible all member associations. In addition to collecting membership fees, the member associations fund their activities by producing publications, such as reprints of the writer's production or by publishing completely new productions (diaries, correspondence, essays etc.). Another goal is to help put Finnish classic literature on the map.
Until 1809 Finland was part of Sweden and after that for over hundred years, an autonomous part of Russia. Thus Finnish literature in Finnish is rather young. The archbishop of Turku and reformer Mikael Agricola (1510-1557) wrote and translated the first books printed in Finnish. The first work to appear by Agricola was the ABCbook (1543), an alphabet-book containing the basics of reading and Christianity.
The first proper Finnish language writer was Jaakko Juteini (1781-1855), whose main productive period was the first decades of the 1800s. Jaakko Juteini was a pioneer of the Finnish fiction, emphasizing the work of the Finnish people and their language. Juteini wrote nonfiction books about social topics as well as books on the fields of education and children's upbringing. He produced collections of proverbs and wrote plays and poetry.
Elias Lönnrot (1802-1884) collected traditional lyric poetry during his trips in the Karelian regions. From these collections the Finnish national epic Kalevala was born. Lönnrot modernized the Finnish language, editing several Finnish dictionaries and publishing and editing the first Finnish newspaper. He also published several works on health and science. Lönnrot's contribution to the development of Finnish culture, literature and language is unique.
The influences on Finnish literature came from two directions. From the east came influences of Russian literature, but via St Petersburg and Vyborg came also European influences. During the Swedish rule, the language of the national gentry was Swedish and thus occidental literature had an important impact even on modern literature.