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In 2017, Finland celebrated the 100th anniversary of its independence. Hundreds of cultural events took place throughout the year in commemoration – the most festive of which was a grand reception on the 6th December at the Residence of the President of Finland.

As a continuation of Finland’s forward-looking vision, cultural representatives have embraced the most exciting way to provide future generations with a snapshot of contemporary Finland during this year of celebration: a time capsule!

Buried under the heart of Kuopio and sealed on the 15th of December, the project, entitled Suomi 100 + 100 (‘Finland 100 + 100’), is an extensive collection of deeply-personal artifacts, all pertaining to the life of the Finnish people in 2017. With information and works of art that range in subject from politics to science, business to the arts, the capsule aims to provide those who open it in 2117 with a comprehensive understanding of their country as it was in the 21st century, as a preservation of heritage and a celebration of history.

Among the variety of artifacts included in the capsule was McFarland’s Modern Finland by Harald Haarmann, which provides a multifaceted view of 21st-century Finland. Discussing everything from the geographic and natural history to the Finnish educational system, the book gives a glimpse into the features of ‘Finnishness’ and explores the early peoples and modern populations of the country.

The author’s intention is to instruct the future generations of his family to keep the 200th anniversary of Finnish independence in mind, where he hopes that his descendants might attend the reopening ceremony and discover the work of their ancestor – along with the population of 22nd century Finland!

Modern Finland
, from McFarland, is available on the Eurospan Bookstore now.

Comments | Posted in News In The Media By Eurospanners

The list of women who inspired and uplifted the golden eras of 20th-century Hollywood is long and filled with household names. Marilyn Monroe, Vivien Leigh, Doris Day, and Elizabeth Taylor all come to mind before the protagonist of the new romantic film, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool.

Following the last days of Gloria Grahame, the underappreciated former star of stage and screen, the film shadows Grahame (Annette Bening) as she succumbs to illness before a performance and returns to Liverpool to seek comfort from an old flame, Peter Turner (Jamie Bell). Based on Turner’s memoir of the same name, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool is a touching look at the tumultuous life of a forgotten Hollywood icon.

It might be considered serendipitous for the film to be released in this cultural moment, following the revelations of industry-wide mistreatment and abuse of women in film, and the social media storm that these stories have inspired. Decades earlier, Grahame had herself been a victim of Hollywood’s dark side – forced into plastic surgery, attacked by lawyers and the press during her divorces, and physically beaten in films such as Human Desire, Grahame’s experiences bear a poignant relevance today.

Grahame was a talented and multi-faceted actress, working in genres ranging from noir to blockbuster musical, and her comprehensive career is explored in Robert J. Lentz’s Gloria Grahame, Bad Girl of Film Noir, published by McFarland. Compiling her feature film roles, including It’s a Wonderful Life and Oklahoma!, alongside a multitude of made-for-television productions, TV series appearances, and stage performances, Lentz explores the relationship between these roles and her turbulent personal life.

Though her legacy may have been superseded by icons of Old Hollywood glamour, this book and the new film both seek to reclaim Grahame from the depths of cinema history – giving her life and career the time in the spotlight that it deserves.

Comments | Posted in In The Media By Eurospanners

Robyn Rihanna Fenty is a Barbadian musician, fashion designer, and humanitarian. With over 190 awards to her name and a net worth of $230 million, she is arguably the most commercially successful Caribbean artist in history.

Rihanna’s status as a cutting edge cultural icon has been reinforced by the recent launch of her much anticipated make up line, Fenty Beauty, a collection whose USP is that it boasts forty shades of foundation, explicitly catering to women whose complexions have been long neglected by the beauty industry.

Image courtesy of Fenty Beauty


The announcement of Fenty Beauty was met by much excitement and has already received rave reviews by beauty bloggers and social media pundits alike, leaving most cosmetics brands scrambling to catch up. However, while the release of this line emphasises her entrepreneurial spirit, it, more importantly, demonstrates her commitment to women of colour worldwide.

The Bajan artist has been unwavering in publicly articulating her national and regional belongings. Notably, her Caribbean pride has manifested itself in her humanitarian efforts in the region; she recently built a state-of- the-art centre for oncology and nuclear medicine to diagnose and treat breast cancer at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Bridgetown, Barbados and in 2012 founded the non-profit Clara Lionel Foundation Global Scholarship Program for students attending college in the U.S. from Caribbean countries. These contributions led to her receiving Harvard’s Humanitarian of the Year award in 2017.

However, despite these achievements, Rihanna has still been subject to both local and international moral scrutiny. Editors Hilary McD. Beckles and Heather D. Russell look to challenge this with Rihanna: Barbados World Gurl in Popular Culture, published by the University of the West Indies Press. The essays in this pressing collection purposely seek to de-centre the dominance of the Euro-American gaze, focusing instead on considerations of the Caribbean artist and her oeuvre from a Caribbean postcolonial corpus of academic inquiry. To this end, Rihanna: Barbados World Gurl in Global Popular Culture brings together U.S. and Caribbean based scholars to discuss issues of class, gender, sexuality, race, culture, and economy.

Comments | Posted in In The Media By Nora Selmani

Wayfaring Stranger on the BBC

12 Apr 2017 09:00:00

We are very pleased to share that the BBC has launched a new three-part series entitled Wayfaring Stranger based on the New York Times Bestseller from the University of North Carolina Press: Wayfaring Strangers: The Musical Voyage from Scotland and Ulster to Appalachia.

You can catch up on the series here:
Wayfaring Strangers
Praise for the book:

“[Ritchie and Orr] strike all the right chords in this pleasantly tuneful survey of the history of the evolution of Scottish music in Appalachia.”
Publishers Weekly

Fiona Ritchie and Doug Orr take a long look at this story using Scottish songs as their compass. It’s a fascinating and often surprising ride.
— Cerys Matthews, Welsh folksinger, author, and broadcaster

Filled with maps, woodcuts, paintings, and photographs of impossibly picturesque Scottish and Irish locales, the book is a treasure trove of imagery and information. Music lovers, prepare to be transported.

Wayfaring Strangers
The Musical Voyage from Scotland and Ulster to Appalachia
Fiona Ritchie & Doug Orr
Foreword by Dolly Parton
2014 448pp, Includes CD with 20 tracks,
64 colour plates, 60 halftones, 7 maps
9781469618227 Hardback
Throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, a steady stream of Scots migrated to Ulster and eventually onward across the Atlantic to resettle in the US. They brought with them a wealth of traditional ballads and tunes from the British Isles and Ireland. From ancient ballads at the heart of the tradition to instruments that express this dynamic music, Ritchie and Orr chronicle the details of an epic journey.
The University of North Carolina Press

Comments | Posted in In The Media By Eurospanners

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