Welcome to the Database of Estonian Writers
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AUTHORS OF:
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A

Kai Aareleid

1972 

Prosaist and poetess Kai Aareleid made her debut in 2011 with the novel Vene veri (Russian Blood). The work, which was praised for its form, language, and themes, was nominated for Estonia’s most prestigious award for prose. In ... >>

Betti Alver

1906 - 1989 

Betti Alver's works of poetry are demanding and masterful in form: they are based in the classical European poetry tradition, although they contain quintessential Estonian-ness both in terms of language and a folk-poetic background. Her poetry ... >>

B

Nikolai Baturin

1936 

Nikolai Baturin has been making a mark in Estonian literature for more than forty years, which is difficult to grasp but all the more profound for that very reason. He is part of the `big literature´ of Estonia, a unique phenomenon because ... >>

Priidu Beier

1957 

Priidu Beier is one of the first poets of a new paradigm of Estonian poetry which appeared in the middle of the 1980s. He has brought some stylistic and thematic freedom into a stylized canon of poetry. Beier received the Juhan Liiv Poetry Prize ... >>

C

Contra

1974 

Contra, a.k.a. Margus Konnula, is a poet and children's writer from Urvaste in Southern Estonia – a very unique ethno-futurist poet. Born in 1974, he has worked as an English-language teacher and a post officer, and has been a ... >>

E

Andres Ehin

1940 - 2011 

What is surrealism? If it is a historical movement restricted to a small circle of French poets, who gathered around André Breton in the nineteen-twenties, then there would be no more surrealists anywhere else in the world. But if ... >>

Kristiina Ehin

1977 

Kristiina Ehin, born into a family of poets (1977 in Rapla) has become one of the most successful poets of the younger generation. Her fourth and most voluminous collection of poems, Kaitseala (Protected Area, 2005), written during a year spent ... >>

F

fs

1971 

The work of the poet fs, formerly known as Francois Serpent (which is of course to be understood as a pseudonym) draws together the contemporary lines of power in Estonian poetry, while at the same time staying clearly distinct, standing out, and ... >>

H

Indrek Hirv

1956 

Indrek Hirv is a true poet. Evidence of this lies in the fact that Hirv feels that poetry is the only way to make contact with the world. He has also worked in ceramics, but Hirv is better known as a poet – a virtuoso. The poet, who follows ... >>

I

Peep Ilmet

1948 

Peep Ilmet made his debut in 1969 in the Õitsev tuul (Blossoming Wind) edition of a samizdat magazine, Kamikadze. He was one of the most fertile authors of underground manuscript almanacs at that time. The conditional point marking the ... >>

J

Jaak Jõerüüt

1947 

Jaak Jõerüüt is a writer, politician and diplomat, who began his career as a hippie poet in Tallinn cafés. Jõerüüt made his debut with poetry in 1967; his first collection Kaitsekiht (Protection Layer) was ... >>

K

Kätlin Kaldmaa

1970 

As a writer, Kätlin Kaldmaa seems to almost walk a razor-thin blade – her feminine identity is piercing and depthless, and she staunchly raises sharp social-critical topics. Kaldmaa constantly calls forth this sensitivity and ... >>

Bernard Kangro

1910 - 1994 

There was a writer without whom the Estonian intellectual space in post-war exile would not have been the same. Bernard Kangro was one of those who formed the quintessence of exile literature. In his homeland his name was during the Soviet ... >>

Maarja Kangro

1973 

Maarja Kangro came to the Estonian literary world as a translator of Umberto Eco, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Andrea Zanzotto and Valerio Magrelli from Italian, English and German, and became a poet somehow and somewhere through translating. Her ... >>

Mart Kangur

1971 

Mart Kangur, a poet, is a master of word-play, at the same time with deceptively very pure, clear and simple language, seeming to write with captivating inner enjoyment and engagement. His debut collection of poetry, Kuldne põli (Golden ... >>

Jaan Kaplinski

1941 

The most famous, significant and most translated Estonian writer today, Jaan Kaplinski, started his literary life as a poet in what are termed the Golden Sixties of Estonian literature. Kaplinski's poetry has been written by a European humanist ... >>

Doris Kareva

1958 

It is easy to say of Doris Kareva that she secures her place like a shining pearl in the strong tradition of Estonian women’s poetry. However, that would be to say that Doris Kareva is simply a very good poet; that she is a master who knows ... >>

Jan Kaus

1971 

Jan Kaus (b. 1971) is an author of postmodernist short stories, poetry and novels. Kaus studied pedagogy and philosophy at Tallinn University, is active as an artist illustrating poetry books, and has played bass guitar in an underground ... >>

Kalev Kesküla

1959 - 2010 

Journalist, poet, and critic of literary texts and wine, Kalev Kesküla wrote poetry in prose, at walking pace: he paraphrased Michel de Certeau and defined himself as a flâneur. He was said to be a typical Estonian man, who cared about ... >>

Veronika Kivisilla

1978 

Veronika Kivisilla is a storyteller and bard, who made her poetry debut in 2011 with the collection Dear Calendar. Both this brief and spirited first work and the following Veronica officinalis (2012) convey the image of an author, whose ... >>

Indrek Koff

1975 

Indrek Koff’s 2010 “hysterical treatise” Eestluse elujõust (On the Energy of Estonian Essence), which teeters between poetry and prose, received Estonia’s most prestigious award for poetry, as well as two additional ... >>

Igor Kotjuh

1978 

Igor Kotjuh is a publisher, translator, cultural mediator, and also founder and active promoter of Russian-Estonian literature as a unified literary movement. In addition to all of this, he is a remarkable poet in both Estonian and ... >>

Hasso Krull

1964 

Hasso Krull is a remarkable phenomenon in the Estonian sphere of culture. His activity is so multi-faceted, and the content of each facet so important, that if any one of the expressions of his gifts were to be removed, his name would still be ... >>

Asko Künnap

1971 

Asko Künnap is a poet with many talents, a synthesis of a writer and an artist, and his books of poems all reflect it: for example, Kokkusattumuste kaitseks (In Defence of Coincidences, 2001) is a combination of his third graphic art ... >>

L

Ilmar Laaban

1921 - 2000 

Ilmar Laaban is often called the father of Estonian Surrealism. A mentor for some fascinating followers, he is still unparallelled in his ways of playing with a language with pure joy, and with that discovering and showing the hidden treasures of ... >>

Juhan Liiv

1864 - 1913 

Juhan Liiv, one of Estonia’s greatest poets, was an exceptional literary artist for his time – he is seen as having been a lyrical genius; the contemporary of 20th-century greats Garcia Lorca, F. Pessoa, and T. S. Eliot. Common ... >>

Viivi Luik

1946 

Viivi Luik, born in 1946 in Viljandimaa, arrived on the Estonian literary scene as an eighteen-year-old Wunderkind on the crest of an excited wave of poetry in the nineteen-sixties. Her very first collection of poems Pilvede püha (A Holiday ... >>

M

Mathura

1973 

The poems of the Estonian writer and artist writing under the Krishnaite pseudonym of Mathura have been translated into Russian, English, Polish, Swedish, Finnish, Albanian, Spanish, Mari and Hindi. He himself has translated from Hindi, too ... >>

Paavo Matsin

1970 

Paavo Matsin’s works are imbued with vivid, limitless fantasy; a toying with time, space, and history; as well as layers upon layers of added meaning and subtext. He exercises an incredibly dense prosaic language. However, irony and a warm ... >>

Ene Mihkelson

1944 

Ene Mihkelson´s novel Ahasveeruse uni (The Dream of Ahasuerus, 2001) was regarded as the greatest Estonian novel of the end of the 20th century, but her next novel Katkuhaud (Plague Grave, 2007) has been already mentioned as the first grand ... >>

N

Anton Nigov

1962 

Ellen Niit

1928 - 2016 

Ellen Niit is a classic of Estonian children’s literature. Her children’s poetry is a joy to read for all ages, and her elegantly-written works for adults also encompass just as much depth, beauty, goodness, and rigid ... >>

P

Eeva Park

1950 

Eeva Park began as the author of mood poems depicting nature, and has said that she mixed feeling and thought in her poetry, while her prose is a mixture of understanding and memory. In her short prose works there are shades of nostalgia, real ... >>

R

Rein Raud

1961 

Sometimes I have serious doubts about understanding what “growing up” really means. Perhaps this has something to do with the trajectory of my life being slightly distorted if judged by normal age-criteria and it seems I am getting ... >>

Kaur Riismaa

1986 

Kaur Riismaa – a poet, actor, and playwright born in Tartu in 1986 – began posting his works in online literature portals when he was a student. His first collection titled Our Mornings, Our Days, Evenings, Nights (2011) was selected ... >>

Karl Ristikivi

1912 - 1977 

Karl Ristikivi is among the best writers of Estonia, and even as a young man he was considered the literary successor of Estonia´s great writer A. H. Tammsaare. He did not betray the confidence his readership had in him, becoming one of the ... >>

Jürgen Rooste

1979 

One keyword by which Jürgen Rooste is well known is 'Taanilinn' (Danishtown), or Tallinn, a town/living organism which he addresses in his poems with equal parts of love and hatred. His own life, too, is totally Tallinn-focused: he was born ... >>

Paul-Eerik Rummo

1942 

Paul-Eerik Rummo might be called the most paradoxical “living legend” of the nineteen-sixties, and he is one of the most important persons bound up with Estonian poetic innovation at that time. His early debut in 1962 was quickly ... >>

Hando Runnel

1938 

Poet and essayist Hando Runnel writes poetry which has a national tinge; a large part of his monumental work relates to the belief he always retained that one day the Soviet occupation of Estonia would end and the Estonian Republic be restored. ... >>

S

Karl Martin Sinijärv

1971 

Karl Martin Sinijärv is one of the more colourful figures among poets of the younger generation. Born in 1971 in Tallinn, he graduated from the University of Tartu in Estonian philology. Combining the role of poet, showman, journalist and ... >>

Triin Soomets

1969 

Triin Soomets has a dark ‘psychographic’ writing style, critics have observed about her laconic and precise way of composing poetry. She is reserved and needs decoding; she is unique, very corporeal and has no taboos. What seems to be ... >>

Gustav Suits

1883 - 1956 

Gustav Suits is one of Estonia’s greatest poets, and in a sense he occupies an especially significant position in our literature. Suits published the first truly groundbreaking collections of Estonian poetry of the 20th century; he was the ... >>

T

Jüri Talvet

1945 

Literary expert, poet, essayist, and translator Jüri Talvet’s poetry is particularly free, while at the same time erudite both in form and concept. It ranges from free verse through classical form and haiku; from tender love poetry ... >>

Heiti Talvik

1904 - 1947 

Heiti Talvik's laconic poetry has been called a "concentrate of eternal sadness". One of his devices is fire: yet, while every fire one day burns down to ash, Talvik's poems seems to be smoldering just as strongly as when they impacted the world, ... >>

Tarmo Teder

1958 

Tarmo Teder’s world is considered naturalistic, rough and mean, but it is not in fact lacking in humour, profound tragedy, warmth, dreams and everything else that constitutes good literature where, next to black and white, there is space ... >>

Emil Tode

1962 

Mats Traat

1936 

Mats Traat is like a cornerstone of Estonian literature, impossible to imagine without his poetry and prose. He has been really prolific in both genres. In 2010, with a novel called Õelate lamp (The Lamp of the Wicked) he finished his ... >>

Friedebert Tuglas

1886 - 1971 

Friedebert Tuglas was a writer, critic, literary expert, and translator. Tuglas' short stories are unsurpassed: they are impressionist, later neo-romantic, feature a definite composition and are akin to myth, are picture-like, and grotesque. An ... >>

Leelo Tungal

1947 

Already multiple generations of Estonian readers are familiar with Leelo Tungal foremost through her spirited children's poems, which climax in creative ways and are speckled with plays on words. Yet, in addition to her fifty children's books, ... >>

U

Marie Under

1883 - 1980 

Marie Under was for long years more like a holy myth – almost a mythical saint, far away in exile. Under was the one who embodied the community spirit of a little nation, becoming a natural symbol of it, homely and uniting, and, as the ... >>

V

Arvo Valton

1935 

Arvo Valton (Vallikivi) is one of those writers who began writing in the nineteen-sixties and, having already seen the worst sides of the Soviet occupation, did not have fear of it. He was fresh and humorous, then satirical and grotesque while ... >>

Enn Vetemaa

1936 

Enn Vetemaa seems to be much more important for Estonian prose than is currently generally perceived. He belongs to the powerful literary generation of the nineteen-sixties, and every literature fan can learn something from Vetemaa, for the ... >>

Elo Viiding

1974 

Elo Viiding’s poetry (in her first three published collections she used the pseudonym Elo Vee) has undergone several sharp swings in form, yet her texts always remain recognizable and individual. In Viiding’s poetry one can speak of ... >>

Juhan Viiding

1948 - 1995 

Sometimes the impact of a single poet can be so powerful and overwhelming that his influence will dominate the poetic mainstream for more than a decade. This was certainly the case with Juhan Viiding, who published his most important works under ... >>

Õ

Tõnu Õnnepalu

1962 

Tõnu Õnnepalu is one of the most interesting and internationally known Estonian prose authors. He has published works under the pseudonyms of Emil Tode and Anton Nigov. He began his writing career as a poet in 1985, with a ... >>

Ü

Jüri Üdi

1948 - 1995 

Kauksi Ülle

1962 

The poet and writer Kauksi Ülle is the central figure of the South Estonian regional movement. She has been equally active as a poet and as a promoter of her mother-tongue, and probably the most well-known author in the Võru dialect ... >>

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