The Estonian programme of HeadRead focuses on the impact of literature

© Dmitri Kotjuh

The Estonian programme of the international literary festival HeadRead, taking place from 29 May to 2 June in Tallinn, will offer talks with authors, discussions, a premiere, literary walks and music. An exhibition of Dmitri Kotjuh’s portraits of festival guests over the years will be on display at the National Library. 

In line with an established tradition, the first day of the festival, 29 May, is the domain of youth. At the Estonian Writers’ Union, the Poetry Friendship Theatre Studio will perform a programme based on the poetry of Juhan Viiding, followed by a performance of the young poets of the VHK School. At the Sõprus Cinema, Vladimir Loginov’s new documentary Black Film about Sveta Grigorjeva’s poetry will have its official premiere.

Thursday 30 May, you can listen to a talk by Erkki Koort and Taavi Kangur at the Estonian Writers’ Union, and to complete the evening, Jaan Pehk and Märt Avandi will present their new act at the same venue. The same day, Elle-Mari Talivee and Sirli Staub will take literature and pub enthusiasts on a literary pub crawl again, a welcome return of an event that was extremely popular last year. 

On Friday 31 May, the Estonian Writers’ Union will see Urmas Vadi talking to Sven Mikser and Teele Pärn interviewing Elin Toona, a gem of Estonian literature who was perfected abroad. The evening continues with stories and songs from Ruhnu Island performed by Kairi Leivo, Karoliina Kreintaal and Lee Taul. The concert is a natural continuation of the conversation with a focus on the 80th anniversary of the great flight to Sweden, which also meant the disruption of the centuries-old cultural heritage on Ruhnu Island. 

During the festival, on 30 and 31 May, the Von Krahl Theatre will host the production Ma jään kaevu / juurde igavesti jooma (I Will Remain Drinking at the Well Forever) by Tartu Uus Teater, a dance performance based on Ene Mihkelson’s poetry. 

Saturday 1 June kicks off in the small building of the National Library of Estonia (Narva mnt 11) with a panel discussion on the impact of literature. The wealth and hardship of literature in Estonian society and culture today will be discussed by Tiit Aleksejev, Teacher of the Year Anu Kell and Saara-Liis Jõerand. The discussion is moderated by Elisa-Johanna Liiv.

The Estonian Writers’ Union will host Piret Jaaks and Sveta Grigorjeva, beloved actors will perform their cherished timeless texts and Saturday’s programme is concluded by Crazed Tallinn, where literature takes a wilder turn. 

Ait (Vene 14) will also offer a rich serving of poetry: bright young poets and the programme of female poets featuring Elo Viiding, Rika Tapper, Janika Läänemets, Maryliis Teinfeldt-Grins and Mirjam Parve. 

Cultural historian Josef Kats will once again conduct literary walks around the fascinating corners of Tallinn.

On Sunday 2 June, you can enjoy the conversation of Tiit Aleksejev and Meelis Friedenthal at the Estonian Writers’ Union. Poets from Estonia and beyond are holding the traditional poetry mass at the Church of the Holy Spirit. A special side event this year will see the concert series Sound Language combining a panel discussion and a concert. 

We are also happy to continue our tradition of a special children’s literature programme at the Estonian Children’s Literature Centre (Pikk 73), where Maian Kärmas, Liis Sein, Leelo Tungal and Anti Saar will meet their readers. 

The full schedule is available now and biographies are being updated. Keep an eye on updates on the festival’s Facebook and Instagram.

See you at the festival!

Major Supporters

Back to Top