Jan Kaus (1971) is a writer, translator, and essayist. He has published collections of poetry, short stories, miniatures, essays, and six novels. Kaus was chairman of the Estonian Writers’ Union from 2004–2007 and has worked as an editor of the essay and literature sections of Sirp, Estonia’s largest cultural publication. In addition to writing, Kaus is actively involved in planning and promoting Estonian literary events, being a co-founder and organizer of the annual Head Read international literature festival in Tallinn. Kaus has likewise focused on various forms of creative expression aside of writing. He plays guitar, keyboard, and bass in the indie band Jan Helsing, which has released two full-length albums to date. He has worked closely with the Estonian composer Märt-Matis Lill to write libretti for three of Lill’s pieces, including two operas. The author has participated in art exhibitions and illustrated a number of books. At Kaus’s initiative in March 2018, a troupe of authors and actors premiered their performance Stiiliharjutused (Exercises in Style), which weaves together various artistic methods and in which Kaus himself also takes the stage. Kaus has served on the creative boards of several Estonian theaters and is a member of the Estonian Union of Film Critics. He has written articles and essays about literature as well as on the topics of philosophy, politics, visual art, architecture, theater, film, and music.

Kaus’s prose has been translated into Finnish, English, Swedish, Russian, German, Hungarian, and Romanian. He edited the prose anthology The Dedalus Book of Estonian Literature (Dedalus, 2011) as well as the Finnish-language Estonian contemporary poetry anthology Ajattelen koko ajan rahaa (WSOY, 2006). Kaus has translated eight Finnish-language novels into Estonian (including works by Sofi Oksanen, Tommi Kinnunen, and Jari Tervo), as well as other poetry and plays.

In 2015 Kaus received the annual prose award of the Estonian Cultural Endowment for his novel Ma olen elus (I Am Alive, 2014) and for the collection of miniatures Tallinna kaart (Map of Tallinn, 2014). In 2019 he received the prestigious Friedebert Tuglas Short Story Award.
 


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