67 original and previously unpublished manuscripts have been submitted to the novel contest of the Estonian Writers’ Union, which was revived by private capital, including Wolf Group affiliate Penosil in 2014. First place was awarded to Vahur Afanasjev’s novel Serafima ja Bogdan.
The eight-member jury, which included Tiit Aleksejev, the Head of the Estonian Writers’ Union, dramatist Heidi Aadma, literary and translation scholar Anne Lange and writers Veiko Belials, Märt Laur, Holger Kaints, Jan Kaus and Karl-Martin Sinijärv also decided to award two second places to Eva Koff’s Sinine mägi and Triinu Merese’s Lihtsad valikud. The jury also recognised manuscripts by Liisi Õunapuu and Ustav-Esko Mikelsaar.
Taavi Kangur received the Postimees Special Prize. The winners of the novel competition share a €10,000 prize fund, which is provided by Penosil under Wolf Group, along with Liviko and Ellex Raidla law office.
“The novel contest is a contest of surprises – there are always some new names or people who were previously known for some other genre and all this enriches the Estonian literary landscape,” said Jan Kaus.
According to Jaan Puusaag, Chairman of the Board of Wolf Group/Krimelte, the Group is proud that its support helps create new Estonian literature. “We receive a lot of requests for help but we can help only so many. When we were asked to give our support to the novel contest, the decision came quickly. The Estonian market is small; therefore, it is important to support the creation and spread of Estonian literature. It is the foundation of our culture”, explained Puusaag.
“The award-winning works Serafima ja Bogdan and Sinine mägi shed a light on the recent history of Estonia, but both Afanasjev and Koff have managed to avoid the ordinary approach in terms of both time and location. Both manuscripts are characterised by a plurality of voices and dramatic presentation of relevant topics. Triinu Merese’s Lihtsad valikud can be broadly classified as science fiction, but the jury was most charmed by the author’s almost careless courage to fantasise and to compel the reader to embrace her fantasy world without further elaboration,” said Jan Kaus, the jury chairman for the novel contest.
The Estonian Writers’ Union’s novel competition takes place once every two years and welcomes prose in the Estonian language – original and hitherto unpublished works of at least 200,000 characters.