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Jaan Kross.     Photo by Peeter Langovits.

On February 19, 100 years ago, an absolute Estonian classic, and one of the greatest storytellers in Europe – Jaan Kross was born. The Estonian Writers' Union celebrated Kross' birthday with a two-day international conference, which also awarded the Jaan Kross Literary Prize to writer Viivi Luik.

Kross is a grand figure in Estonian literature and the author of several seminal texts of Estonian culture, such as the novels “Between Three Plagues” and “The Czar’s Madman”.

Jaan Kross was born on February 19, 1920 in Tallinn and died in 2007, aged 87. He is Estonia's most internationally well-known author and was nominated several times for the Nobel Prize in Literature. His books have been translated into many languages, including English.

His novels highlighted themes of censorship and state-led repression and served to foster a sense of solidarity among Europe's Soviet Bloc writers.

In 1990, Kross won the Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger, France's foreign book award, for "Keisri hull," as well as the Amnesty International Golden Flame Prize. In 1992, Kross helped draft Estonia's new constitution after the country gained independence from the Soviet Union.

"Jaan Kross – an Estonian ambassador" by Cornelius Hasselblatt will be published in the Estonian Institute’s Estonian Literary Magazine (ELM)  spring issue:




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