Mait Vaik and Paavo Matsin

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Venue: Estonian Writers’ Union (see on map)
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  • Conversation with writer
Original language: Estonian
Translated to: English
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Mait Vaik

Mait Vaik (1969) is an Estonian writer and musician. He gained wider prominence as a member of the popular rock bands Vennaskond and Sõpruse Puiestee. Vaik played bass in Vennaskond during the band’s heyday and also contributed with compositions, especially in the early 1990s. In addition to these bands, he has also written lyrics for the best known songs by Metro Luminal, namely “Isa tuli koju” and “Palveta surnud sõprade eest”. In 2010s, Vaik has gained prominence as a writer, especially with his prose. Both his collections of stories, Tööpäeva lõpp (End of the Workday, 2014) and Meeleparanduseta (No Change of Heart, 2016) received praise. The short story “Puhtus” (“Purity”) from the former won the Friedebert Tuglas Short Story Award in 2015, and Meeleparanduseta won the prose award of the Estonian Cultural Endowment in 2016. In late 2018, Vaik published his first novel Kurvake sügis (Sad Autumn). It includes all traits characteristic of Vaik’s prose: a clearly unique atmosphere, a slightly uncouth but convincing style and the ability to look at difficult subjects, such as drug addiction, alcoholism or another form of degeneration, religion or lack thereof, failure in a society built on success. Paavo Matsin has repeatedly called Kurvake sügis the best Estonian novel of 2018. Vaik will talk to Paavo Matsin.

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Paavo Matsin

Paavo Matsin Fr. R. Kreutzmatsini romaani Must Päike Tallinna esitlus.

Paavo Matsin (1970) is an Estonian writer, one of the most peculiar authors writing today, and his playful novels either repel or charm. Matsin’s works combine esoteric erudition and surrealist humour. His first novel Doktor Schwarz. Alkeemia 12 võtit (Doctor Schwarz. The 12 Keys to Alchemy, 2011) is characterised by a cryptic plot, intertextuality that is impenetrable to a layman, and an abundance of bizarre characters and situations. His next novel Sinine kaardivägi (The Blue Guard, 2013) takes the readers to the Latvian capital Riga and offers a clearer and even exciting plot in addition to alchemic and literary games. His breakthrough came with his third novel Gogoli disko (Gogol’s Disco, 2015), which won both the prose award of the Estonian Cultural Endowment as well as the European Union Prize for Literature. The novel is set in Matsin’s idyllic hometown of Viljandi. The colourful life of the province, which has been transformed into mostly Russian-speaking in the novel, is disrupted by the literary classic Nikolai Gogol who has come back from the dead. In his depiction of Gogol, Matsin seems to draw from Jesus, Golem and Woland in equal measure. The result is a fun dystopia, a science fiction novel and a parody of a science fiction novel. The 2017 book Must päike (The Black Sun) takes the readers to Võru, where the plot involves the author of the Estonian national epic Kalevipoeg, Friedrich Reinhold Kreutzwald and some evil storks. It is nearly impossible to predict what Matsin has in store for his readers next – we expect no less from him. Paavo Matsin talks to writer Mait Vaik.

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