City and Literature. Mart Kalm, Toomas Haug, Jan Kaus

In his novel Black Book, set in Istanbul, Orhan Pamuk describes hundreds of thousands of wells in Istanbul, which have been dug in the gardens of the city over two thousand and five hundred years, and lists everything that has been left in them over time: scorpions, frogs, the brilliant gold of Lycia, Phrygia, Rome, Byzantine and Ottoman Empires, rubies, diamonds, crosses, paintings, forbidden icons, books, leaflets, treasure maps and unfortunate skulls of unknown murder victims. The wells described by Pamuk are a fitting metaphor for the traces of living the city acquires, that are preserved in the walls of houses and street corners. On one hand, the city is a tangible unit, a collection of buildings and trajectories; yet on the other hand, all residents of the city carry within them an invisible place full of memories and longing, meetings and departures, journeys not marked on maps. Every now and then, writers attempt to put these invisible journeys into words. In 2014, several books were published that attempted to envision the traces left by people in festival HeadRead’s home town Tallinn. Literary scholar Toomas Haug published his book of childhood memoirs Mööda Koidu tänavat (Along Koidu Street), which is also a nice dedication to the area of Uus Maailm; Jan Kaus wrote the collection of miniatures Tallinna kaart (Map of Tallinn), based on hundreds of walks in the corners of his home town. They will talk about the city and its spaces with the architecture historian and rector of the Estonian Academy of Arts Mart Kalm. The discussion City and Literature will take place in the balcony hall of the Tallinn Central Library on Friday, 29 May at 5 pm.


Tallinn Central Library