Mudlum and Maarja Kangro

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Venue: Estonian Writers’ Union (see on map)
Event format:
  • Conversation with writer
Original language: Estonian
Translated to: English
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Maarja Kangro

© Dmitri Kotjuh

Maarja Kangro (1973) is an Estonian writer, translator, essayist and librettist. Her debut collection of poems Kurat õrnal lumel (A Devil on Tender Snow) was published in 2006 and Kangro has become one of the most important voices in contemporary Estonian literature. Both her intertextual poems as well as her semi-autobiographical prose have caused a stir – she has twice won the Friedebert Tuglas Short Story Award. Kangro reached a wider audience ten years after her literary debut with the autobiographical book Klaaslaps (The Glass Child) that takes an unflinching look at her emotions and thoughts about the malformation of the foetus she was carrying, the subsequent medical abortion and its aftermath, and above all about how to cope with such a devastating event. Last year, Kangro published Minu auhinnad (My Awards) that is partly based on personal experience – she ranks high among award-winning Estonian authors – and partly constitutes a cultural essay on the development and importance of awards. Hers is a style that is poisonous, without sentimentality, she has a keen eye that ridicules all human weaknesses, however, in the midst of all her shocking honesty accompanying her irony, there is also great empathy. Maarja Kangro talks to writer Mudlum.

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© Madli Lippur

Mudlum, whose real name is Made Luiga, is an Estonian writer and literary critic. Her first short stories published in the media took no time to attract attention; her debut, the collection of stories Tõsine inimene (A Serious Person, ZA/UM, 2014) was nominated for the prose award of the Estonian Cultural Endowment. Mudlum has said that instead of seeing the world as a story, she considers it a journey. This is the peculiarity of her work, her focus on past, almost dream-like musings where mundane moods and details stand out, as well as her preference for states of mind over plotlines. This is how a unique world is created, described by Ilona Martson as a “chaos with a clear composition”. Mudlum is also a renowned literary critic; her reviews and essays have been compiled into Ümberjutustaja (Reteller, 2017). She has also contributed to the popularising of Estonian short stories – she is one of the four editors of the collection Eesti novell 2018 (Estonian Short Stories). In 2017, she won the highest praise in field of Estonian short stories, the Friedebert Tuglas Award for her short story “Ilma alguse, ilma lõputa” (“Without a Beginning, Without an End”), which was first published in her third book Linnu silmad (Bird Eyes, Eesti Keele Sihtasutus, 2016). Mudlum talks to writer Maarja Kangro.

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