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 ... >>

Tiit Aleksejev

1968 

Tiit Aleksejev´s books are to be awaited. His crusade novel Palveränd (Pilgrimage, 2008), the first part of a trilogy, is among the best works of fiction that have appeared lately, and his debut novel, Valge kuningriik (The White ... >>

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 ... >>

Maimu Berg

1945 

Maimu Berg began her career as an author relatively late in life when she published Kirjutajad. Seisab üksi mäe peal (Writers. Standing Alone on the Hill, 1988) where she takes up the theme of 19th-century cultural history in a rather ... >>

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 ... >>

Jüri Ehlvest

1967 - 2006 

Jüri Ehlvest was one of the most exciting and mysterious authors to feature in recent Estonian prose. His works attracted a great deal of attention over the past decade and he received several literary awards. On two occasions, Ehlvest ... >>

F

Meelis Friedenthal

1973 

Meelis Friedenthal has defended a doctoral thesis on a 13th-century philosophical/theological manuscript at the University of Tartu. Having worked on the faculty of the Department of Theology, he is currently a senior researcher at the University ... >>

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 ... >>

G

August Gailit

1891 - 1960 

August Gailit was a writer of exuberant imagination, a late neo-romanticist, whose entire output focuses on the eternal opposition of beauty and ugliness. He is immediately recognisable by his style, which probably leaves nobody indifferent. Born ... >>

H

Indrek Hargla

1970 

Indrek Hargla is the best Estonian writer in the field of science fiction, fantastic horror and heroic fantasy. He has gained fame home and abroad with his historical crime novels staged in medieval Tallinn.His pseudonym, Hargla, originates ... >>

Mehis Heinsaar

1973 

Mehis Heinsaar is one of the rising stars of recent Estonian literature. Though originally he aspired to become a long-distance runner, writing soon took over: he moved on to writing poetry, making his debut as a poet belonging to the literary ... >>

Peeter Helme

1978 

Peeter Helme (born 1978 in Tallinn) is a promising author. A productive essayist and literary critic, he has studied history, art history and theology in Tartu, Göttingen and Berlin, mainly concentrating on philosophy of the 20th century and ... >>

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 ... >>

Andrei Hvostov

1963 

Andrei Hvostov (b. 1963) studied history at the University of Tartu and has worked for almost 20 years as a journalist. Hvostov has a different way of approaching Estonia’s history in his books – a certain wish to see Estonia from an ... >>

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 ... >>

Andrei Ivanov

1971 

Andrei Ivanov (b. 24/12/1971) sees himself as part of the Russian literary tradition, but identifies with Estonia as his home country and his creative point of departure. He graduated from Tallinn pedagogical university as a Russian philologist, ... >>

J

Ilmar Jaks

1923 

Ilmar Jaks is an author characterized as poetic, ironic, paradoxical, unexpected – and without a doubt one of the Estonian authors whose Second World War was most adventurous. Jaks was born in 1923 in Western Estonia as a son of a teacher, ... >>

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

Holger Kaints

1957 

Holger Kaints is the first receiver of the Wordwormer Prize (in 2009) for the best and the most fascinating book having appeared between the two Feasts of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Estonia. He is absolutely original both in his ... >>

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 ... >>

Teet Kallas

1943 

Teet Kallas is probably the writer every Estonian knows very well, as he has since 1996 been the scriptwriter of the country´s most well known TV drama serial Õnne 13 (13 Fortune Street) with a weekly audience of 250, 000 people. But ... >>

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 ... >>

Raimond Kaugver

1926 - 1992 

Raimond Kaugver was a true Estonian best-selling author from the mid-1960's until his death. He wrote novels, short stories, narratives, plays, and radio dramas. The print run of his novel Vana mees tahab koju (The Old Man Wants to Go Home) ... >>

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 ... >>

Mart Kivastik

1963 

Mart Kivastik (born 1963) has written short stories and novels, essays, film scripts, plays and travel stories. His texts are just like a real living creature with its incomparable ability to leave a deep impression in the memory: they are ... >>

Albert Kivikas

1898 - 1978 

Albert Kivikas (1898-1978) had three quite distinct roles in Estonian literary history. He is one of the major authors in Estonian literature to have experimented with futurism, with pieces meant to irritate the petit bourgeois. The collection ... >>

Andrus Kivirähk

1970 

Andrus Kivirähk is a most remarkably prolific, innovative and powerful figure on the Estonian literary scene of today, probably the most beloved and talented Estonian writer nowadays. He is a virtuoso who can easily shift from one style to ... >>

Sven Kivisildnik

 

Sven Kivisildnik stands out as the most singular and exceptional figure in Estonian poetry. His approach to literature has been more daring and rude, but also more innovative than any other writing appearing in Estonia. Often working with no ... >>

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 ... >>

Jaan Kross

1920 - 2007 

Estonia's best known and most translated writer, a kind of cornerstone and conscience of the nation, is Jaan Kross. He was tipped for the Nobel Prize for Literature on several occasions for his novels, although he in fact started his literary ... >>

Märten Kross

1970 

Märten Kross was born in Tallinn in 1970, the youngest son of the writers Jaan Kross and Ellen Niit. Over the last decade he has worked as a film producer and scriptwriter, producing several documentary and feature films, including the film ... >>

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 ... >>

Leo Kunnas

1967 

Reserve lieutenant-colonel, military analyst, journalist and the very best hard sci-fi author, Leo Kunnas creates a captivating new world in his science fiction books, naming Frank Herbert, Ursula Le Guin, Dan Simmons and the Strugatsky brothers ... >>

Madis Kõiv

1929 - 2014 

Madis Kõiv was a writer, physicist and philosopher, thinker and suggestive interpreter, who throughout his creative work concentrated with extraordinary talent on memory and the relativity of it. In his sequence Studia memoriae the ... >>

Armin Kõomägi

1969 

Armin Kõomägi arouses differing feelings in his audience, and was even labelled as a horror-story author after his debut collection of short stories titled Amatöör (Amateur, 2005) had appeared. He is a very successful ... >>

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 ... >>

Oskar Luts

1887 - 1953 

Oskar Luts (1887-1953), one of the Estonian most beloved authors, was simple and paradoxical, externally an enjoyable comic and a real man of the people, internally amazingly captivating. He wrote, moving “the ear of the heart”. ... >>

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 ... >>

Ülo Mattheus

1956 

Ülo Mattheus has won important awards for his prose, and deserves to be regarded among the very best in Estonia. His debut collection, X maantee (Highway X, 1981), consisted of very fine-spun, sketchy but elaborate short stories. The title ... >>

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 ... >>

Mihkel Mutt

1953 

Mihkel Mutt, one of the most interesting Estonian authors, a serious conservative full of playfulness, unites in his work the English sense of humour and the core texts of Estonian culture. His novels, plays and short stories are characterized by ... >>

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 ... >>

Rein Põder

1943 

Prosaist Rein Põder originates from the southernmost tip of Southern Estonia, and the locale is frequently an enchantingly perceptible landscape in his works as well. Born in 1943, he graduated from the University of Tartu in 1969 as a ... >>

Asta Põldmäe

1944 

Asta Põldmäe is one of Estonia's most captivating prosaists, and in addition is a very productive translator from Spanish and Finnish into her native tongue. Põldmäe was born in Puurmani, Tartu County in 1944. She ... >>

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 ... >>

Toomas Raudam

1947 

As an author of psychological, experimental prose, Raudam´s works have been characterized as ‘psychohistory’. His prose is fragmentary and playful, often drawn to absurd, rich in intertextuality, warm and thoroughly ethical. He ... >>

Olev Remsu

1947 

Olev Remsu is a prosaist and a teacher of film dramaturgy. Born in Tartu in 1947, he graduated from the University of Tartu in the field of journalism, and finished scenarist- and director courses in Moscow.   The writer debuted with a ... >>

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

Mari Saat

1947 

Mari Saat (b. 1947) is an author among the very best in Estonian letters. Her very first book Katastroof (Catastrophe, 1973) won the Friedebert Tuglas Short Story Award. Since then she has published short stories, novels and children’s ... >>

Peeter Sauter

1962 

Peeter Sauter (b. 1962) is an important name in Estonian short prose since 1990. He has studied drama at the Academy of Music and Theatre in Tallinn and at Liverpool John Moores University. His works include plays and film scripts, travel books ... >>

Herman Sergo

1911 - 1989 

Herman Sergo, a ship´s captain and a writer, wrote about the world he knew every inch of: the life of old salts from the seas and the people of the seaside villages of Hiiumaa, the second biggest island of Estonia. His father was a seaman, ... >>

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, ... >>

A. H. Tammsaare

1878 - 1940 

Anton Hansen-Tammsaare is the grand old man of Estonian literature, and without doubt Estonia’s most famous writer. He was able to enshrine something deeply humane, binding the nation together with its land, writing the ambivalent myth of ... >>

Ilmar Taska

1953 

In 2014 Ilmar Taska’s novella "A Car Called Victory" (Pobeda, 2013) won the short story category of the prize organised by the only journal in Estonia dedicated solely to fiction, Looming. "A Car Called Victory" offers the reader a story ... >>

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, ... >>

Ülo Tuulik

1940 

The writer Ülo Tuulik is the older twin brother of the writer and playwright Jüri Tuulik (1940–2014), and they were born as sons of a schoolteacher of a little fishing village on Abruka, a tiny Estonian island, of ... >>

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 ... >>

Jaan Undusk

1958 

With Jaan Undusk one can only wonder at the inverse proportionality of the size of his work and its importance. There are a number of good writers in Estonia who have published as many as twenty or thirty books, but there is no-one on a par with ... >>

Mati Unt

1944 - 2005 

Mati Unt, a writer, theatre director and essayist, belonged to the Golden Sixties of Estonian culture. He was the most delicate of Estonian prose authors, and his passion was the theatre, staging on the stage and in life. He possessed a very ... >>

V

Urmas Vadi

1977 

Urmas Vadi graduated in radio directing from Tallinn University. He has worked as a radio journalist, and is a writer, playwright and producer.Vadi was the youngest author to win the New Drama Competition with the children’s play, Varasta ... >>

Berk Vaher

1975 

Berk Vaher seems to follow the principle that fiction is most rewarding when it resists quick understanding, and therefore his perception of the world often results in a most interesting collage of text. His recent works are perhaps not as ... >>

Aidi Vallik

1971 

Aidi Vallik came to literature as a poetess, but is best known and highly appreciated for her stories about Ann, a teenage schoolgirl from Tallinn. In the era of vampires, vampirates and witchcraft academy students, Vallik writes in her ... >>

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 - 2017 

Enn Vetemaa seems to be much more important for Estonian prose than is currently generally perceived. He belonged 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 ... >>

Eduard Vilde

1865 - 1933 

Eduard Vilde was the first Estonian prose writer to achieve classic status, and he has thereby come to be regarded as the most eminent. He was 'first' in many ways – to write bulky original novels such as the huge historical works Mahtra ... >>

Toomas Vint

1944 

Toomas Vint (b. 1944) is equally accomplished as a novelist and a painter of Magrittean landscapes. He has studied biology at the University of Tartu. His first book was a short story collection Kahel pool hekiga palistatud teed (On Both Sides of ... >>

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 ... >>

Ervin Õunapuu

1956 

Ervin Õunapuu is a prose writer, scriptwriter and film director, playwright and an artist well known for his theatre sets and surrealist water-colours. In 1996 he published his first novel Olivia. Meistriklass (Olivia. Master Class), which ... >>

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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