Rein Raud is one of the central names in the prose of 2012. His short story Ja tuleb kord was awarded the Tuglas short story prize and his novel Rekonstruktsioon (Reconstruction) was included in various shortlists of literary prizes, eventually winning the prose prize of the Cultural Endowment. Rekonstruktsioon is perhaps Raud’s most psychological work, taking a look

Writer, columnist and presenter Andrus Kivirähk is such a popular and meaningful character in Estonia that he needs no further introduction to the locals. However, since such a popular writer cannot be left without an introduction, then let it be said that one of the major literary events of this year is definitely Kivirähk’s new

Nota Bene! Everyone interested in the increasingly important Islamic world and related problems are welcome to attend the talk of UK resident Nabila Sharma, whose autobiographical work Brutal (2012) talks about the sexual violence against women and children in Muslim culture, and related taboos and fears. Although it must sadly be said that secret violence,

Rosa Liksom (1958) is a versatile Finnish writer and painter who has written short stories, children’s stories, plays and three novels, but also made comics and short films. In 2011, her novel Hytti nro 6 (Cabin No 6) won the most important literary prize in Finland, the Finlandia Prize. The novel has also been nominated

Mihkel Mutt can be considered one of our living classics who does not rest on his laurels, instead adding his unique wit and intellectual voice to the prose of the noughties – as a writer of both short stories as well as novels. Proof of this can be found in his sizeable novel of memoirs

Andrey Hadanovich (1973) is a Belarusian poet and translator who writes in Belarusian. He has published several collections of poems and translated fiction from English, French, Russian, Polish and Ukrainian. He is also the head of the Belarusian PEN. He mostly teaches French literature at the Belarusian State University and heads a translation workshop at

Urmas Vadi began publishing short stories already at the turn of the millenium, but his prose work truly took off and found its voice with more sizeable prose works of broad genres such as Kirjad tädi Annele (Letters to Aunt Anne, 2010) and Tagasi Eestisse (Back to Estonia, 2012), which combine the personal life of the author

Meelis Friedenthal, who studied theology, rose to prominence thanks to the 2004 novel competition, where his first novel Kuldne aeg (Golden Time) placed third. However, his Mesilased (Bees) published in 2012, was considered one of the most important novels of last year’s strong prose output. This work, taking place in late 17th century Tartu, has a

Selina Guinness (1970) is an Irish writer, whose first book The Crocodile by the Door has received wide acclaim and was shortlisted for the Costa Book Award. It is an autobiographical work and its main themes are the mutual tensions of the city and the countryside, the old and the new, the past and the

Since culture, including literature, is increasingly tangled up in questions about its suitability to market demands and concepts like creative industries are becoming more and more common, it is the right moment to ask the experts whether it is even possible to define, a priori, a work of literature (from a small nation), which would

Literature is usually discussed by writers, sometimes by publishers or some prominent readers. However, they are not the only ones keeping literature going. Festival HeadRead has extended an invitation to people for whom literature is a day-to-day job: literature teachers. How do they feel about the beautiful written word, teaching it and its teachability? The

Literary walks in various areas of Tallinn have already become a natural part of the literature festival HeadRead. The walks are literary meetings that take place standing up, in fresh air, by moving and wandering around. All the locations of this year’s programme have actually been visited in the course of previous walks. Writer Indrek

Contemporary Estonian Russian literature is a phenomenon that does not seem to be ignored by anyone anymore, yet its influence and significance has still not been untangled, partly because it seems to be a manifestation that is steadily gaining momentum. One of the most interesting literary debates erupted when the literary panel of the annual

The literature festival HeadRead is growing slowly but steadily. It has grown so large that other festivals have sprung up within it. The final event of the festival takes place in one of the courtyard of the Uus Maailm area, behind a rickety house that houses a cosy venue named Kapsad (Cabbages) – a poetry

Looming over the city, Niguliste may be a museum by name – and a perfectly wonderful one! – and sometimes also a concert hall, however, as a building, it has still remained a church in a certain sense. Indeed, even though most of the exhibits of the Niguliste Museum include church art, no services are

Meeting Charles Stross (1964) is a real treat to all lovers of science fiction. He is an acclaimed Scottish writer, who has written science fiction, space operas and also horror stories. His novel Accelerando (2005) won the novel prize of the science fiction magazine Locus. His science fiction novel Palimpsest (2009) spans the beginning of

If one is to make a rough generalisation, fact is selling better than fiction these days. However, what is this fact or non-fiction, which trends does it contain and where do these trends lead? This is precisely what the series of discussions on non-fiction at HeadRead attemps to shed light on, taking a closer look

Cabaret Interruptus is a creative platform that came into being as a rhizome of the theatre Cabaret Rhizome, aiming to bring together bits and pieces of poetry, music and theatre, blending the above-mentioned practices into a risky, yet rousing creative endeavour, a whirlwind spinning in real time. Put more simply, the activities of Cabaret Interruptus

Peeter Helme is a writer and journalist. He has published several novels, the latest of which, the emotional love story Varastatud aja lõpus (At the End of Stolen Time, 2011) was also translated into Russian. He works as the literary editor at the culture supplement Areen of the weekly Eesti Ekspress and as the presenter of

One of the nice traditions of festival HeadRead entails giving the stage to the graduate students of the Theatre School of the VHK high school, supervised by Tõnis Rätsep and presenting a stage programme teeming with literature from home and abroad, recent and old, prose, poetry and song. The programme is characterised by a variety of genres

Poetry Slam is a great opportunity to practice performing poetry, to understand that performed poetry is one of the linguistic forms of expression, where not only the content and precision and finishing touches of words are important but also the performer’s voice, intonation, tone, gestures, postures. Poetry Slam makes poetry slightly more exciting, nudging it

Smaller countries, language families and states often find it difficult to make themselves heard. Yet each country has its well-known and loved literary characters who have long ago grown out from between the covers – that is to say, whose essence is clearly connected to the identity of a nation or region. This led to

Juha Vuorinen (1967) is a Finnish writer who is extremely popular in his native Finland as well as Estonia. His success began with his outrageous book Juoppohullun päiväkirja (Drunkard’s Diary, 1998). He initially wrote the book online, but on the insistence of his readers he also published it on paper and it has sold more

Without a doubt, one of the worst books published last year was the collective work Asjaõigusest (On Property Law) by Jan Kaus, Indrek Koff and Raido Mürk, which has so far sold seven copies (in-store footage reveals that all copies were acquired by a certain bespectacled, bearded individual with a bit of a tummy). Now the

Tom Stoppard needs no introduction to literature, theatre and film lovers. He is a British playwright with Czech roots who has written plays, film and television scripts as well as radio plays. Stoppard received wider acclaim with his play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (1967) and he himself directed a film version starring Gary Oldman

The festival HeadRead kicks off with contemporary Estonian poetry taking over several cafés in central Tallinn. The listeners have the opportunity of walking from one café to another and witnessing the performances of several key figures of the modern lively realm of poetry. The marathon of words begins at the café XX sajand, where Eda

Indrek Hargla, the sovereign leader of Estonian science fiction writing, has also breathed life into Estonian crime fiction with his stories about an apothecary named Melchior. At the same time, the Melchior books can be considered a dedication to mediaeval Tallinn. Hargla has quietly but steadily become one of the most popular fiction writers in

Maarja Kangro is one of the most important poets and prose writers of recent years, who, having made her debut relatively recently, stood out as a mature, honed and intelligent poet. However, Kangro garnered even more attention with her collection of short stories Ahvid ja solidaarsus (Apes and Solidarity, 2010), which contains ironic, psychologically astute insights

Festival HeadRead has worked out a separate programme in co-operation with the Estonian Children’s Literature Center, which offers you a chance to meet various relevant children’s authors.  Kadri Hinrikus (1970) is mostly known as a television journalist, especially as the news anchor at the daily news programme Aktuaalne Kaamera. However, already in 2008 she published

Marina Stepnova (1971) is a Russian writer and translator of Romanian literature who has published only two novels (Surgeon in 2005 and The Women of Lazarus in 2011) but has already received a great deal of attention. The Women of Lazarus is a powerful story of Russian men and women, starting in late 19th century

If there is an Estonian left who doesn’t know who Mart Juur is, then this Estonian apparently does not listen to any radio stations, does not watch any Estonian television, does not read Estonian newspapers and does not live in Estonia (or does not live at all). Juur is a Renaissance man, a music critic

Early this year, Estonian poet and publisher (:)kivisildnik wrote: “When it comes to levels of quality, Estonian literature has reached unprecedented heights, annual overviews praise prose, but also poetry, which does not interest overviwers, has never been more powerful – there are more great books, promising debuts and active authors than ever before.” Obviously, the

The first prose-reading competition took place at no other place than festival HeadRead. It is the prose equivalent of Poetry Slam, where everyone has a chance to perform with their attempts, ideas and fresh accomplishments. Indrek Koff, the winner of the first prose-reading competition and author of Eestluse elujõust (2010), a tract compiled of tropes

Jennifer Johnston (1930) is a renowned Irish novelist and playwright whose oeuvre was awarded the Irish Book Award last year. Many of her works deal with the decline of the influence and dominance of Protestant culture in Ireland in the course of the 20th century and the cultural and political tensions in the region in general.

Sofi Oksanen (1977) is a Finnish writer, whose second novel Purge (2008) made her an international success – the rights have been sold to 43 countries and the novel won the prestigious Finlandia Prize, as well as the Runeberg Prize and the Nordic Council Literature Prize, and this year, she was awarded the Nordic Prize

Sarah Winman (1964) is a British actress and writer. She has appeared in many television series like Midsomer Murders, the Forsyte Saga and Holby City. Whereas as an actress Winman has mostly played supporting roles, her multilayered debut novel When God Was A Rabbit (2011) immediately recieved a great deal of attention and praise in

Paolo Nori (1963) is a popular and prolific Italian writer and translator. Nori studied Russian language and literature at the University of Parma and the list of authors he has translated is awe-inspiring: Tolstoy, Turgenev, Pushkin, Gogol, Lermontov, Harms etc. His first novel to be published in Estonian, Bassotuba non c’è (1999) immediately garnered attention. Nori’s

Keith Lowe (1970) is an English writer and historian. He has published four books so far, two novels and two history books. Lowe’s novels stand out with their unusual choice in plots or subjects: his debut Tunnel Vision (2001) talks about a man who has to be at all the stops on the London Underground

Jason Goodwin (1964) is the unofficial mascot of HeadRead, a writer and historian visiting the festival for the fourth time. Goodwin studied Byzantine history at the University of Cambridge. The checkered legacy of the region now part of Turkey has captivated Goodwin throughout his work, as can be seen from his study of Ottoman Turkey

Anders de la Motte (1971) is a Swedish crime writer and IT specialist and a former Police Officer. His first work [geim] was published in 2010 and won the ’First Book Award’ of the Swedish Academy of Crime Writers. By now, de la Motte has written two sequels for his tense first novel – [buzz] (2011) and [bubble] (2012). Through three