Anglo-Finnish Society donates over 100 books to The London Library to mark centenary of Finnish independence

The London Library was delighted to welcome the Anglo-Finnish Society and guests last night to start the year-long celebrations taking place during 2017 to commemorate the centenary of Finnish Independence. 

AmabassadorAttended by Päivi Luostarinen, Finland’s Ambassador to the UK, this was the first official UK event in the Finland 100 programme (Suomi Finland 100) that will culminate on Finland Day, 6th December 2017 - the 100th anniversary of independence.

At the heart of last night’s event was the donation of an important collection of over 100 contemporary Finnish books that has been made to the Library through the Anglo-Finnish Society. The donation recognises the Library’s historical importance as a home of European and international literature (its shelves carry thousands of books in 25 different languages) and is an important modern addition to its existing Finnish collection, which includes the first New Testament printed in Finnish (dating from 1548), of which only 70 copies were ever made.

The Library built up its Finnish collection up to the Second World War, but its development since had been much more sporadic. The donation of over 100 new books through the Anglo-Finnish Society brings the collection up to date and its impressive range is a fitting reminder of the vibrancy of Finnish cultural life.

Over recent weeks, the new Finnish books have been catalogued and bound, and marked with the Library’s striking 175th anniversary labels. Featuring a wide range of topics - including Finnish Art, Architecture, History, Fiction and Topography – the books will shortly be available on the Library’s shelves for borrowing. Each carries an acknowledgement of Suomi 100 on the inside cover and a list at the back of the benefactors involved.*

Following a fascinating talk on Finland by Professor Henrik Meinander, an opening address by Sir Paul Lever, President of the Anglo-Finnish Society the collection was formally handed to Inez Lynn, Librarian at The London Library. Inez Lynn commented “We are extremely grateful to the Anglo-Finnish Society and the generous donors who have made this important gift possible.  The new books are a wonderful showcase of Finnish culture and the opportunity to grow our Finnish collection is a lasting way of celebrating this centenary year.”

Finland montage

 

George Gilbert Scott SrIn the third instalment of her blog series on The London Library and The Victorians, Helen O’Neill, our Archive, Heritage & Development Librarian, takes a look at the links between The London Library and a distinguished architectural dynasty founded by Sir George Gilbert Scott, the leading proponent of the Gothic Revival. 

Gilbert Scott Sr joined the Library in December 1873. He was at the peak of his career - his astonishing Midland Hotel at St Pancras had been formally opened in May that year and he had been recently knighted following the 1872 opening of another of his most celebrated designs - the Albert Memorial. His Library membership was seconded by his architectural son who joined the Library a year before his father.

albert memorialSt Pancras

 

Hawthornden image cropTessa Hadley was named as the winner of this year’s Hawthornden Prize at an award ceremony held at The London Library yesterday (5th July 2016)

Her award was presented by writer and Man Booker Prize winner Alan Hollinghurst (The Line of Beauty, The Stranger’s Child) who spoke warmly of Tessa’s contribution to fiction which has included 6 bestselling novels and a range of short stories.

The Hawthornden Prize was established in 1919 and shares the honour of being Britain’s oldest literary award. Previous winners have included Colm Tóibín, Ali Smith, Alan Bennett, Claire Tomalin, VS Naipaul, Ted Hughes, Graham Greene, Evelyn Waugh, and Vita Sackville-West.

The Hawthornden Prize is granted annually for a work published in the previous twelve months and this year’s award recognised Tessa’s most recent work – The Past – which was published in 2015.  

Tessa Hadley has been awarded and nominated for a range of awards during her writing career and earlier this year was awarded the Windham–Campbell Literature Prize for fiction.

DesertIslandAs part of the Words In The Square 175th anniversary celebrations we were joined by Ned Beauman, Philippa Gregory, Deborah Levy, John O' Farrell, Nikesh Shukla and Sara Wheeler in a hugely entertaining "Desert Island Books" session chaired by Tom Sutcliffe.

During a fascinating hour the panel was asked to nominate books in different categories that they would take with them as castaways on a desert island. 

 The categories were:

My Favourite Childhood Read

The Book that Most Influenced Me

My Guilty Reading Pleasure

A Former Favourite I Won't Be Bringing to the Desert Island

An audience vote then picked the following category winners:

  • Favourite Childhood Read: “The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson-Burnett (nominated by Deborah Levy)
  • The Book That Most Influenced Me: “A Room of One’s Own” – Virginia Woolf (nominated by Philippa Gregory)
  • Guilty Pleasure: “These Old Shades” by Georgette Heyer (nominated by Philippa Gregory)
  • Former Favourite: “Gone with the Wind” by Margaret Mitchell (nominated by Philippa Gregory); joint winner with “1984” by George Orwell (nominated by John O'Farrell)

Recommended Recent Reads

Each member of the panel also selected their recent book recommendations:

  • Family Life” by Akhil Sharma (chosen by Nikesh Shukla)
  • Preparation for the Next Life” by Atticus Lish (chosen by Ned Beauman)
  • Simple Gifts” by Joanne Greenberg (chosen by Philippa Gregory)
  • Beautiful Ruins” by Jess Walter (chosen by John O’Farrell)
  • The Lure of The North” by The London Library/Pushkin Press (chosen by Sara Wheeler)
  • Outline" by Rachel Cusk (chosen by Deborah Levy)

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