The HeadRead literary festival will feature more than 100 literary guests over five days

Press release
24 May 2017

The HeadRead literary festival will feature more than 100 literary guests over five days

On 24 May, the HeadRead literary festival will kick off, offering more than 100 Estonian and international performers over five days and 75 events. The most distant guest this year comes from Malaysia.

The programme features a series of panel discussions focusing on the 100th anniversary of Finland and the upcoming centenary of Estonia. Panels include renowned Finnish authors like Kjell Westö, Sirpa Kähkönen, Juhani Salokannel, Maimu Berg, Venla Hiidensalo and Kätlin Kaldmaa. Moderators include the programme manager of the Helsinki Lit literary festival Philip Teir.

The international programme also features Malaysian author Tan Twan Eng, whose two novels look at the fate of Malaysia and its people in the Second World War. History connects him to British writer Catherine Merridale, who specialises in Russian history.

Friends of thrillers are offered a varied palate by various British authors. British writer Ann Cleeves is a classic of crime fiction, the creator of the detectives Stephen Ramsay and Vera Stanhope. Scottish author Graeme Macrae Burnet bases his works on real events and documents, while Simone Clark mostly writes in the horror genre.

One of the great traditions of HeadRead is introducing Russian-language literature. This year, we can present two poets: poet and literary scholar Sergey Zavyalov and Vera Pavlova, who has shocked audiences with her intimate poetry. The programme also includes one of the best known authors of the younger generation, Elizaveta Aleksandrova-Zorina, who skillfully depicts the life of the everyman in today’s Russia.

Treats are also in store for lovers of children’s and young adult literature. David Almond is one of the three English authors to win the most prestigious children’s literature prize, the Hans Christian Andersen Award, for his philosophical texts. Irish author Louise O’Neill analyses the inequality and stereotypes regarding women. The fantasy thrillers of the Finnish author of Swedish origin, Maria Turtschaninoff, feature brave and bold girls as their protagonists. Davide Cali offers a different voice, creating comic strips, caricatures, illustrations and graphic novels for all kinds of readers. In addition to performing, Cali will also host a workshop in Tallinn.

The festival’s international programme also includes the Swedish author and playwright Jonas Khemiri, who has written about islam, radicalisation and the tensions between European and Arab culture. Khemiri has also spoken out about racism in Swedish society.

Naturally, the festival has a hefty Estonian programme with its traditional poetry cafés and young authors, as well as a more international focus on four Estonian authors: Andrus Kivirähk, Mihkel Mutt, Andrei Ivanov and Meelis Friedenthal. A new addition is the presentation of most recent, unpublished work by 12 Estonian authors in total. We are happy about our cooperation with the Tallinn Literary Centre, who will, for the first time, host two panel discussions.
The HeadRead literary festival is held for the ninth time and runs from 24 May to 28 May. All events at the festival are free, except for the poetry mass, where the museum ticket applies. The programme and updates are available on the festival website

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