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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 ... >>

Eda Ahi


Eda Ahi (b. 1990) is one of the most masterful Estonian poets of her generation, and is a phenomenon among her peers. Her works are characterized by precise style, the use of rhyme, and graceful, effortless rhythm. The thrilling poetry of ... >>

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 ... >>

Priidu Beier


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 ... >>




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 ... >>


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 ... >>




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 ... >>


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 ... >>

Indrek Hirv


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 ... >>


Peep Ilmet


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 ... >>


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 ... >>


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 ... >>

Mart Kangur


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


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


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 ... >>

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 ... >>

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 ... >>

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


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


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


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 ... >>

Hasso Krull


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


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 ... >>


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


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 ... >>




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 ... >>

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 ... >>

Valdur Mikita


Valdur Mikita is the mightiest master of Estonian myth in recent history. In 2008, he began publishing essayistic books that probe the unique dispositions of Nordic, and especially Finnic, peoples. Mikita’s literary series, which he has ... >>


Anton Nigov


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 ... >>


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 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 ... >>

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 ... >>

Jürgen Rooste


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


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


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. ... >>


Joel Sang


The poet, literary critic, translator, and linguist Joel Sang has a PhD in philology. He made his poetry debut in 1971 along with three other outstanding young authors in the joint collection Närvitrükk (Nerve Print). Sang has been a ... >>

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 ... >>

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 ... >>

Triin Soomets


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 ... >>


Jüri Talvet


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


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, ... >>


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


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 ... >>


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 ... >>

Elo Viiding


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 ... >>


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 ... >>


Jüri Üdi

1948 - 1995 

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