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On Estonian Literature Day, the Tallinn awards the Tammsaare Novel Prize

On Monday, 30 January, the City of Tallinn, in cooperation with the Tallinn Literary Centre and the Estonian Writers' Union, will award the Tammsaare Novel Prize for the fifth time. Flags will also be raised for the first time on the day to mark Estonian Literature Day.

As of 2023, 30 January will be on the national calendar as the Day of Estonian Literature, which celebrates the core works of Estonian literature and contemporary literature, and draws attention to the role of writers in Estonian culture and society. It also marks the 145th anniversary of Anton Hansen-Tammsaare's birth.

"As a result of the remarkable work of the Tallinn Literary Centre, the anniversary of Tammsaare's birth has turned into a momentous anniversary and now also a flag day, when, at least for a moment, our literature is at the centre of everything," said Kaarel Oja, Deputy Mayor of Tallinn. "The Tammsaare Novel Prize, which is awarded every five years, has a similar weight, with the works of these acclaimed authors expected to become nothing less than a core text of our literature," Oja added.

The Tammsaare Novel Prize has been awarded every five years since 1998. The prize fund for 2023 will amount to €4,000. The prize is awarded by the City of Tallinn in cooperation with the Tallinn Literary Centre and the Estonian Writers' Union.

The aim of the Novel Prize is to recognise Estonian writers for an original work (or works) published within the five years preceding Anton Hansen Tammsaare's centenary year, whose novel or novels have best demonstrated mastery of the genre, artistic impact and thoughtfulness of message.

According to Maarja Vaino, Director of the Tallinn Literary Centre and chair of the novel prize jury, nearly five hundred works have been published in the last five years that can be considered novels. "So the jury, which in addition to the chairman included Ülle Madise, Triinu Tamm, Jaanus Vaiksoo and Märt Väljataga, had a very serious task to screen the most important works to make a final selection," Vaino added. "The winner is a writer whose work is characterized by a diversity of thought, poetic language and a distinctive style."

On 30 January, the Tammsaare, Vilde and Mati Und museums of the Tallinn Literary Centre are open from 11am to 5pm, admission is 1 euro. The museums offer a blind date with Estonian literature - each visitor can take a packaged literary work with them from the museum and be surprised with a secret reading recommendation.

In addition, the Tallinn Literary Centre, in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture, will organize a "Twilight Disco" at the Tammsaare Monument in Tammsaare Park on Monday, 30 January at 5 pm.

Information about Estonian Literature Day and what is happening on the day can also be found at the Estonian Literature Day Facebook page.