Herring-smokers write books too

Yesterday's Grauniad carried a highly refined example of the "foreign writer travels to Finland and does touristy things" genre. It has it all: lots of lakes, saunas, the Kalevala, huskies, smoked herrings, a classical music festival, and the nightless night. But here's something you may not have known:

The Finish people are keen to impress on visitors their cultural heritage. Much of this revolves around the epic poem, the Kalevala, first published by a Finnish academic in 1835. The poem was put together from the ancient oral histories of the Finnish and the Karelian people from the west of Finland and across the border in Russia.

It was the first book to be written in Finnish, and is seen by many Finns as the cornerstone of both their language and their culture.

Sounds plausible to me.

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