“But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.”
Georges Orwell, 1984
#time4estonia with Tartu, the European Capital of Culture 2024 reflect on the importance of
KEEL – language, tongue
Did you know that Estonians celebrate their Mother Tongue Day on 14 March? It is the birthday of Kristjan Jaak Peterson (1801-1822), a man who transformed the way Estonians value their language. He was an erudite scholar who spoke 16 languages and a poet who today is considered to be the forefather of Estonian written poetry. You can find his statue on top of the Toome Hill, when you next pay a visit to Tartu.
But Tartu is much deeper rooted in language and literature. Being a UNESCO City of Literature, Tartu is a home to a number of writers, literature festivals and Estonian Literary Museum.
Every year since 2017, the city council has appointed a City Writer Laureate, which is a year-long scholarship for an author living in Tartu.
The very first City Writer was Kristiina Ehin, a prolific author of poetry, short stories and plays, a translator and a singer-songwriter of the all-female band “Women in the Kitchen”. Her elegiac poetry has been translated into 12 different languages, including English.
Today, she is not only a much loved poet but also a public figure who has been a passionate spokesperson for a number of protest actions, fighting for the causes that are close to her heart. Be it the safeguarding of the Estonian language and folklore research, the preservation of the untouched Estonian nature, a more sustainable lifestyle or a tolerant and open society.
But let’s hear from Kristiina herself.
Watch the video
More of Kristiina’s poetry in English: https://www.arcpublications.co.uk/writers/kristiina-ehin
#time4estonia is Mon – Fri 4pm Estonian Embassy in London Facebook series where you can discover Estonian artists, writers, musicians, architecture, cities, museums, galleries, nature etc. We will give you a hint of Estonian language (eesti keel [ˈeːsti ˈkeːl]), our humour and Estonian spirit.