Joint reading event “Literary Talllinn” brings literature to the streets

© Dmitri Kotjuh

The HeadRead Literary festival will celebrate its tenth year with the public reading event entitled “Literary Tallinn” on 26 May at 12 pm at the Vabaduse väljak (Freedom Square).

The HeadRead festival has always aimed to increase the visibility of literature in Tallinn and this year, the festival will highlight Tallinn in literature. On 17 April, the HeadRead festival, in cooperation with other literary organisations of Tallinn, opened the map application Literary Tallinn that collects excerpts about Tallinn from literary works. At the joint reading on 26 May, these excerpts will be given a voice.

The event is opened by surprise guests, and actor and singer Ivo Uukkivi who will perform the legendary song Tallinn põleb (Tallinn Is Burning). After this, everyone is welcome to read excerpts about Tallinn to each other. The library bus Katariina Jee will be at the event, providing texts when necessary. You can find suitable quotes from the literary map or bring your own or even write your own. Excerpts will also be collected on the Facebook page of the event. There are no spectators and all enthusiasts are welcome!

The initiator of the reading event, Jan Kaus: “This is not only about Tallinn. Today, there is a general assumption that people read less and less. However, there are plenty of readers, but since reading is a solitary art, the scale of reading is not often perceptible. The aim of the joint reading is to bring reading people together for a moment, stand them shoulder to shoulder and make their voices heard, to demonstrate the number of people who care about reading. Of course, Estonians are shy by nature, but this reading is done in pairs, so that people read to each other for a couple of minutes. This way, the personal aspect of public reading is preserved.”

The idea of the joint reading event was inspired by the event organised by Meelis Kubits in 2017, when people were reading the works of Isaak Babel on the streets of Odessa. Whereas Tallinn lacks its “own” writer, our classic authors like A. H. Tammsaare or Jaan Kross or contemporary writers like Indrek Hargla have written about Tallinn. You can also find descriptions of Tallinn in works written in other languages. Tallinn is more literary than we think!”

You can register for the reading event by emailing or through Facebook. Registration is not compulsory, everyone is welcome to attend.

The HeadRead literary festival runs from 23 to 27 May. More information is available on the festival site and the festival Facebook page.


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