Mats Traat

© Estonian Literature Centre

Mats Traat (1936) is not only a versatile author but also a man who has influenced Estonian literature in all genres he has taken up more extensively. His poetry works date back to the first collection of poems by young authors, published in 1962; on the other hand, he has also made a strong impact in the poetry of the new millennium, mostly by continuing his Harala elulood (Histories from Harala) works. Apart from Jaan Kross, Mats Traat is the only writer who has won the Friedebert Tuglas Short Story Award four times. As a novelist, Traat has described the recent history of Estonia in depth, more precisely the period from the mid-19th century to the Soviet occupation. His characters speak in a Tartu dialect and rarely wander beyond Nuustaku. Traat’s main oeuvre is the 13 part and 3000-page stream of a novel Mingem üles mägedele (Go Up the Hills), which is also called the Palanumäe series. The first part of the work was published in 1979 and the last almost thirty years later. The novel encompasses almost a century, and great historic events intertwine with the local sense of village and nature. The writer and literary scholar Jaanus Vaiksoo has said that Go Up the Hills is ‘Estonian history in smells’. You can meet Mats Traat in Kloostri Ait on Sunday, 31 May at 5 pm, when he will be joined by Mart Juur, the presenter of Estonian Television’s literary programme Ministry of Literature.