Programme

Friday, 13 April

The sound of Estonia | Kristiina Ehin and Silver Sepp

With opening remarks from the Estonian Ambassador to the UK, Tiina Intelmann

One of Estonia’s most successful poets, Kristiina Ehin opens EstLitfest with her deeply spiritual and unflinchingly honest work. Known and admired throughout Europe, she will read in English from her latest collection, On the Edge of a Sword (Arc Publications, 2018, translated by Ilmar Lehtpere), accompanied by her husband, the experimental musician Silver Sepp.

Kristiina Ehin is one of the most successful poets of the younger generation. Her poetry is strikingly modern and contemporary, celebrating nature and womanhood, while also drawing on folklore and tradition. She has published nine volumes of poetry, three books of short stories and a retelling of South-Estonian fairy tales, and has won Estonia’s most prestigious poetry prize.

Silver Sepp is Kristiina Ehin’s partner both on and off stage. He is an eclectic troubadour and has developed a tradition of using fantasy instruments taken from his surroundings.

H.E. Tiina Intelmann is Estonia’s ambassador to the UK since 2017. She has served as the Permanent Representative of Estonia to the United Nations and is the first woman to have headed the Assembly of States Parties of the International Criminal Court. She has also served as European Union Ambassador in Africa.

6.30pm, Theatre | £6, 60mins

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Peering through the Iron Curtain | Ilmar Taska launches Pobeda 1946: A Car Called Victory

With Anna Winslet, Edmund Harcourt, Chris McKeeman and Rosie Goldsmith and music by Villu Veski and Tiit Kalluste

EstLitFest is proud to host the UK launch of Ilmar Taska’s first full length novel. A fascinating evocation of Estonian life under Soviet occupation, Pobeda 1946 is told through the eyes of a young boy, and brilliantly captures the distrust and fear that was felt by so many Estonians after World War II. The novel is brought to life with a dramatic reading by UK actors Anna Winslet, Edmund Harcourt and Chris McKeeman, with music by Villu Veski and Tiit Kalluste. Ilmar Taska will be in conversation with Rosie Goldsmith.

Ilmar Taska is best known as a film director and producer. His debut novel Pobeda 1946: A Car Called Victory is based on an award-winning short story from 2014 and is published by Norvik Press (2018, translated by Christopher Moseley).

Rosie Goldsmith is an award-winning journalist. In 20 years on the BBC staff she has travelled the world covering events such as the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of apartheid in South Africa. She is the founder of the European Literature Network.

8pm, Theatre | £6, 50mins

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The Villu Veski and Robert Mitchell Jazz Quartet

One of Estonia’s best-known jazz musicians, Villu Veski, teams up with the UK’s Robert Mitchell to bring live jazz to the EstLitFest stage on Friday night. The UK-Estonian Villu Veski and Robert Mitchell Jazz Quartet are: Villu Veski, Estonia (saxophones), Robert Mitchell, UK (keyboards), Heikko Remmel, Estonia (double bass), and Saleem Raman, UK (drums). Special guest Tiit Kalluste, Estonia (accordion).

Villu Veski is one of Estonia’s best-known jazz musicians who has performed on the many of the world’s most prestigious stages. For more than a decade he has organised and hosted an international future music festival Juu Jääb on his native Muhu Island in Estonia.

Robert Mitchell is an acclaimed British jazz musician with a formidable reputation as a gifted pianist and composer.

9.30pm, Theatre |£6, 75mins

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Saturday, 14 April

Stories and songs | A family morning with Veronika Kivisilla

The Estonian storyteller and poet Veronika Kivisilla invites children (and their parents) to a free Saturday morning session of inventive storytelling and singing.

Veronika Kivisilla is a storyteller and poet who made her poetry debut in 2011 with the collection Dear Calendar.

11am, Studio | Free, 60mins

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Meet the translators

Featuring Miriam McIlfatrick-Ksenofontov, Christopher Moseley, Adam Cullen

Translators are the unsung heroes that allow literature to travel across border. Meet Miriam McIlfatrick-Ksenofontov, Christopher Moseley and Adam Cullen at this informal breakfast session at the Print Room bar, and find out what it takes to bring the Estonian language to life in English. Estonian breakfast will be provided.

11am, Bar | Free, 30mins

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On Jaan Kross | Celebrating an Estonian icon

With Christopher MacLehose, Ian Thomson, Jaan Undusk

The late Jaan Kross is Estonia’s best-known and most widely translated author. He survived both the Nazi and Soviet occupations of Estonia, won countless awards for his writing, and was nominated several times for the Nobel Prize for Literature. Christopher MacLehose, Ian Thomson and Jaan Undusk discuss the life of an Estonian icon.

Christopher MacLehose is a British publisher and champion of translated fiction. He founded his eponymous imprint The MacLehose Press in 2008. He was previously publisher of  the Harvill Press (from 1984 to 2004). MacLehose has published works translated from more than 34 languages at Harvill and in ten years at MacLehose Press from 23 languages, and books by Jaan Kross at both houses.

Ian Thomson is a freelance journalist and writer. He was one of the last to interview Primo Levi and the first to journey in his tracks as a biographer. His biography Primo Levi has been highly praised and won the WH Heinemann Award.

Jaan Undusk is an academician and eminent literary scholar. He is also a celebrated novelist, playwright and short story writer. He is the director of the Under and Tuglas Literature Centre.

12am, Theatre | £6, 40mins

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Estonian Vikings | The Northmen’s fury

With Marika Mägi, James Graham-Campbell and Mart Kuldkepp

The Vikings might be heavily associated with Scandinavia, but this is not the only region these sailor warriors came from. An EstLitFest panel of experts discusses the Vikings east of the Baltic Sea, where people in some regions had traditions of sailing and contacts with both the East and the West.

Marika Mägi is an archaeologist and historian working at Tallinn University. She specialises in the Viking Age and Early Middle Ages in Estonia. Her recent research focuses on the East-West overseas communication during the Viking Age and the role of the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea in this communication.

James Graham-Campbell is Emeritus Professor of Medieval Archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, and a Fellow of the British Academy. He has published widely on the art and artefacts of the Vikings.

Mart Kuldkepp is an author and historian, lecturer of Scandinavian history at University College London. His primary research focuses on Scandinavian and Baltic political history. He has an academic side-interest in Medieval Old Norse-Icelandic literature and culture.

1pm, Theatre | £6, 40mins

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What now, Europe? A future of nation states from Estonia’s perspective

With Mihkel Mutt, Tiina Intelmann and Rosie Goldsmith

Mihkel Mutt is not just a versatile writer, columnist and critic (and Author of the Day at London Book Fair); he also held key positions in Estonian politics. At EstLitFest, he is joined by the Estonian Ambassador to the UK, Tiina Intelmann, to take Estonia’s perspective on Europe in transformation. Rosie Goldsmith chairs.

Mihkel Mutt is an Estonian writer and a versatile columnist on domestic and world politics. He began his career as a theatre and literary critic as well as a parodist, and his literary debut transpired in the late 1970s. Since then, he has published close to 40 books in all genres except poetry and long epic. He has held a variety of jobs ranging from journalist to dramaturg to propaganda boss at the Estonian Foreign Ministry.

H.E. Tiina Intelmann is Estonia’s ambassador to the UK since 2017. She has served as the Permanent Representative of Estonia to the United Nations and is the first woman to have headed the Assembly of States Parties of the International Criminal Court. She has also served as European Union Ambassador in Africa.

Rosie Goldsmith is an award-winning journalist. In 20 years on the BBC staff she has travelled the world covering events such as the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of apartheid in South Africa. She is also the founder of the European Literature Network.

2pm, Theatre | £6, 40mins

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Post-war lives | Kai Aareleid and Linda Grant

With Rosie Goldsmith

Estonian fiction writer and translator, Kai Aareleid, in conversation with the award-winning British novelist Linda Grant. In Aareleid’s latest novel, Burning Cities, a young girl revisits the first two decades of her life following the Second World War in Communist Estonia. In Linda Grant’s “exhilaratingly good new novel” (The Guardian), The Dark Circles, the war is over too, but for an East End teenage brother and sister living on the edge of the law, life has been suspended… Rosie Goldsmith chairs.

Kai Aareleid was awarded the accolade Estonian Writer of the Year in 2016. She is a novelist, poet and translator of literature from Spanish, Portuguese, French, Finnish and English. She is the author of two novels, Russian Blood and Burning Cities.

Linda Grant is a novelist and journalist. She won the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2000 and the Lettre Ulysses Prize for Literary Reportage in 2006, and was longlisted for the Man Booker in 2002 for Still Here. The Clothes on Their Backs was shortlisted for the Man Booker in 2008 and went on to win the South Bank Show Award.

3pm, Theatre | £6, 40mins

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Russia, and Russian literature beyond its borders | Andrei Ivanov in conversation with Zinovy Zinik

EstLitFest welcomes the unique perspective of Andrei Ivanov, a writer who sees himself as part of the Russian literary tradition, but identifies with Estonia as his home country and creative point of departure. Ivanov will be in conversation with the bilingual British author Zinovy Zinik, who also still writes in Russian. They will discuss Russia and how the country’s literature is alive and reflected beyond its official political borders.

Andrei Ivanov is inspired by his Russian and Estonian identity. After graduating from Tallinn University, where he wrote his thesis on the language of Vladimir Nabokov, Ivanov moved to Scandinavia and explored Denmark for a number of years, studied several languages, and wrote his first novel. Hanuman’s Journey to Lolland was shortlisted for the Russian Booker Prize and won the Cultural Endowment of Estonia’s Prize for Russian-Language Literature.

Zinovy Zinik is a Moscow-born bilingual author who has lived in London since 1976. Zinik lost his Soviet citizenship when he emigrated to Israel in 1975. His works, published since his departure from Russia and translated into a number of languages, are dealing with the theme of emigration and exile. Zinik regularly contributes to BBC Radio, the Times Literary Supplement and other periodicals.

4pm, Theatre | £6, 40mins

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Endlessly curious | Rein Raud and Tony White

With an inquisitive mind and sophisticated style, Rein Raud is versatility personified: he has written poetry, plays, short stories, and novels. One of Estonia’s best known writers and an influential opinion leader, Raud will be in conversation with the formally adventurous and equally curious British novelist, writer and editor Tony White, whose latest novel, The Fountain in the Forest, has just been published to much acclaim. Bhavit Mehta chairs.

Rein Raud was born in 1961 and since 1974 has published poetry collections, plays, short stories and novels. He is also a widely published scholar of cultural theory as well as the literature and philosophy of both modern and pre-modern Japan. He has an impressive command of foreign languages and a breadth of cultural knowledge. He was the first Rector of Tallin University. Three of his novels have recently been translated into English: The Death of the Perfect Sentence, The Reconstruction and The Brother.

Tony White is the author of novels including The Fountain in the Forest (Faber and Faber, 2018), and Foxy-T (Faber and Faber, 2003). He is chair of the board of directors of London’s award-winning arts radio station Resonance 104.4fm. White’s new novel The Fountain in the Forest, is published by Faber and Faber in January 2018. His recent novella Zombies Ate My Library (Blast Theory) has been shortlisted in the ‘best novella’ category of the Saboteur Awards 2017.

5pm, Theatre | £6, 40mins

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Days of grace | Meet the Estonian master Doris Kareva

With Miriam McIlfatrcik, Philip Gross, Villu Veski and Tiit Kalluste

Nominated several times for the Nobel Prize in Literature, Doris Kareva is one of Estonia’s best-loved poets. Her latest collection Days of Grace spans over forty years of her poetic output. She and her translator Miriam McIlfatrick will recite and discuss her work, and will be in conversation with the poet, novelist, playwright and academic Philip Gross. They will be accompanied by the musicians Villu Veski and Tiit Kalluste.

Doris Kareva has published 18 poetry collections and has been translated into 20 languages. She has two books of poetry in English translation, Shape of Time and Days of Grace.

Miriam McIlfatrick-Ksenofontov was born in Northern Ireland and has lived in Tallinn since 1992. She teaches Irish literature at Tallinn University. Her latest translation is of Doris Kareva’s poetry collection Days of Grace.

Philip Gross has published some twenty collections of poetry, most recently A Bright Acoustic (Bloodaxe, 2017). The Water Table won the T.S.Eliot Prize 2009, and Love Songs of Carbon the Roland Mathias Award (Wales Book of The Year) 2016. Deep Field dealt with his Estonian refugee father’s final years and loss of language, an exploration into our place in the world broadened steadily through later collections. A new science-based collection for young people, Dark Sky Park, comes from Otter-Barry Books in July.

6pm, Theatre | £6, 40mins

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The dreamlike surrealism of Mehis Heinsaar

Adam Cullen reads from a new collection of stories by Estonia’s most acclaimed short story writer Mehis Heinsaar. Characterised as magic realism and inspired by world literature, these imaginative tales are gems of intellectually oriented prose with plenty of room for play. A mesmerising homage to surrealism.

Adam Cullen was born in Minnesota and has lived in Estonia for the last decade. His recent translations include The Inner Immigrant by Mihkel Mutt and The Reconstruction by Rein Raud.

7pm, Studio | Free, 20mins

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Adventurous accordions | The explorative folk of Rüüt

Rüüt delivers a new take on the quest for the essence of traditional music. The band’s fresh and explorative original arrangements of traditional Estonian songs will appeal to folk lovers, those interested in technical intricacies, and everyone who’s curious about music.

Rüüt is an Estonian folk band, consisting of Juhan Uppin (diatonic accordion), Maarja Soomre (vocals, melodica), Maili Metssalu (vocals, fiddle) and Toomas Oks (diatonic accordion).

8pm, Theatre | £6, 60mins

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Closing party | Festival Chef Enn Tobreluts

21pm, Bar

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