The highest literary award of 2000, the National Cultural Award, was given to Andres Ehin for his collection of poetry, Alateadvus on alatasa purjus (The Subconscious is Always Drunk).

Jaan Kaplinski received the highest annual award of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia for his novel Silm. Hektor (Eye. Hector), a book of essays, Kevad kahel rannikul ehk tundeline teekond Ameerikasse (Spring on Two Coasts, or a Sentimental Journey to America), and a collection of poetry, Kirjutatud (Written). The Estonian Cultural Endowment also issued two smaller awards – to Märt Väljataga for directing the Open Estonia Book series, and to Udo Uibo for innovations to the magazine Looming.

The most prestigious literary awards are the ones issued by the Estonian Cultural Endowment’s literature foundation by genres.
In 2000, these were distributed as follows:

Prose: Andrus Kivirähk for his novel Rehepapp (The Barn-keeper), a witty allegorical story about the essence of Estonians. The author draws heavily on Estonian national folklore and mythology.

Poetry: Hando Runnel and his new collection of poetry Mõistatused (Riddles) that managed to impressively surprise readers.

Essay: Maie Kalda, the grand old lady of Estonian literature for the collection of articles Mis mees ta on? (What’s He Like Then?) exhibiting the precision of word, erudition and openness to new literary phenomena.

Drama: Mart Kivastik for the collection of plays Näidendid (Plays).

Children’s literature: Valeria Ränik for her realistic and modern story Ülejõel, Kassilaiu pealinnas (In Ülejõe, Capital of Kassilaiu).

Translation from a foreign language into Estonian: the well-known translator Krista Kaer for Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook and J.K.Rowling’s four Harry Potter books.

Translation from Estonian into a foreign language, or the Via Estica award, was given to the long-time promoter of Estonian language in Hungary, Mai Bereczki, for compiling Volumes I and II of an anthology of Estonian poetry in Hungarian, titled Kellade hellus (The Tenderness of the Bells).

Another novel competition, which has developed into a hotbed of new talent, ended in 2000, and this time the award went to Aarne Ruben, a representative of the younger generation. His Dadaist novel Volta annab kaeblikku vilet (Volta issues a melancholy whistle) deals with the early 20th century and Social Democracy.
Leo Kunnas received the second place award for his Sõjajumala teener (Servant of the God of War), about military life and prisons. The jury decided to issue two third place awards – to Maimu Veske (Continental) and Lehte Hainsalu (Kellakuuljad; Those who hear the bell). In Veske’s novel the jury detected Emil Tode-like undertones; Hainsalu’s novel, on the other hand, is a history of Estonian literature brought to life, with a whole array of writers, starting with Kristjan Jaak Peterson and ending with Valeria Ränik. The publishing house Varrak gave an award for the best science fiction novel to Indrek Hargla’s novel Baiita needus (The Curse of Baiita).

The Debut, or Betti Alver, Award for the year 2000 was given to the popular young poet Jürgen Rooste for the collection Sonetid (Sonnets). Rooste published another collection in 2000, Veri valla, and now belongs among the most prominent representatives of the new generation of writers.

Andrus Kivirähk’s novel Rehepapp received another award as well – the Literary Award of Virumaa, demonstrating a rarity in literature – a book popular with both the public and critics.

Every year, two writers receive the Friedebert Tuglas Short Story Awards. This year they were Tarmo Teder for his short story Kohtumine (Meeting, published in the magazine Looming, 11, 2000) and Mati Unt for his Nouvelle (Looming, 2, 2000). 

© ELM no 12, spring 2001