Welcome to the Database of Estonian Writers
Novels /// Short stories /// Essays /// Plays /// Poetry
A /// B /// E /// F /// G /// H /// I /// J /// K /// L /// M /// N /// P /// R /// S /// T /// U /// V /// Õ


Kai Aareleid


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 ... >>

Vahur Afanasjev


In 2017, a story set on the coast of Lake Peipus won the Estonian Writers’ Union’s novel-writing competition. Serafima ja Bogdan (Serafima and Bogdan) tells of Estonia’s eastern shore and the communities scattered ... >>

Tiit Aleksejev


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 ... >>

Martin Algus


Martin Algus is an actor, screenwriter, playwright, dramaturg, and translator who has written scripts for several popular Estonian TV series and films. Among other awards, he has received Estonia’s most celebrated prize for humor and is ... >>

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 ... >>


Nikolai Baturin

1936 - 2019 

Nikolai Baturin is part of the `big literature´ of Estonia, a unique phenomenon because of his work´s panoramic fantasy, a certain epic quality and a rare sense of language forming a powerful combination. It is somewhat ironic that an ... >>

Maimu Berg


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 ... >>


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


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 ... >>


Meelis Friedenthal


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 ... >>


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 ... >>


Indrek Hargla


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


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 ... >>

Kärt Hellerma


Kärt Hellerma has written short stories, novels, travelogues, poetry, children’s books, and published a wealth of literary criticism. Born in Tallinn in 1956, she graduated from Tartu University, majoring in journalism. Prior to ... >>

Peeter Helme


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 ... >>

Andrei Hvostov


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 ... >>


Andrei Ivanov


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, ... >>


Ilmar Jaks

1923 - 2019 

Ilmar Jaks was 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


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 ... >>


Holger Kaints


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


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


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


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 ... >>

Jaan Kaplinski


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 ... >>

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) ... >>

Ülle Kauksi


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 ... >>

Jan Kaus


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 ... >>

Mart Kivastik


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


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 ... >>

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


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 ... >>

Leo Kunnas


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


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 ... >>


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


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”. ... >>




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, Chinese, Lithuanian, Hebrew and Hindi. He himself has ... >>

Paavo Matsin


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


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 ... >>

Lennart Meri

1929 - 2006 

Elected President of Estonia in 1992, Lennart Meri was a filmmaker, writer, and translator. His most famous book, Hõbevalge (Silverwhite, 1976), is a travel memoir narrating the history of Europe and Estonia. “I would have liked to ... >>

Ene Mihkelson

1944 - 2017 

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) was already mentioned as the first grand ... >>



The writer and literary critic Made Luiga, who writes under the pseudonym Mudlum, lives in both Tallinn and on the small island of Muhu. Born in 1966 in Pärnu, she studied Theatre Studies, Estonian literature, and philosophy at the Estonian ... >>

Mihkel Mutt


Mihkel Mutt is considered one of the most provocative Estonian authors, a serious conservative full of playfulness, who unites in his work the English sense of humour and the core texts of Estonian culture. His novels, plays and short ... >>


Anton Nigov



Eeva Park


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 - 2018 

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


Rein Raud


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


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


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


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 Me hommikud, me päevad, õhtud, ööd ... >>

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 ... >>


Mari Saat


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


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


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 ... >>


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


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


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


Mats Traat


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


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


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 ... >>


Jaan Undusk


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 ... >>


Urmas Vadi


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


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 ... >>

Mait Vaik


Since 1989, the writer and musician Mait Vaik has played bass guitar in well-known alternative rock bands. Vennaskond (Brotherhood), Metro Luminal and Sõpruse Puiestee (Friendship Boulevard) owe him a number of popular song lyrics and, in ... >>

Aidi Vallik


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


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 ... >>

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


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 ... >>


Tõnu Õnnepalu


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


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 ... >>

Copyright © Estonian Literature Centre. Designed by Asko Künnap. Software by Sepeks