Juhan Voolaid (Estonia)

Photo: Alar Madisson

Juhan Voolaid is the Tartu City Writer of 2021. Voolaid (b 1971) was born in Tartu and Tartu has the central place in his work, in fiction and memoirs as well as in art. 

Voolaid’s youth was much associated with basketball; geography studies at the University of Tartu and administrative work at the Tartu city government followed, his main field of activity being environment. Voolaid started to make up stories in his early childhood, but his books started to reach the public only in 2010.

He has written in a number of genres, having published  several short story collections  (including Läbilööjalammas ja marukoer (The Brakethrough Sheep and the Mad Dog)), a children’s book, a collection of absurd and black humour Tuhastunud külavanem (Incinerated Village Elder), a novel titled Ideaalne taies (An Ideal Piece of Art) and a book of memoirs . Tartu 1971 – 1983 .Jõmpsika mälestused (Tartu 1971 – 1983 .Memoirs of a Brat). 

Voolaid has also published a noteworthy series of Tartu suspense stories where history and the present are intermingled: Hokimängija Tartu linnamüüril (A Hockey Player on the  Tartu Town Wall), 2014 and  Tartu õuduskaupmees (The Tartu Horror Merchant), 2016.

Voolaid is also active in photography, having published a bilingual photo album Aastaraamis Tartu (A Year in Tartu), he has also exhibited his pictures, the most noteworthy of them being exhibitions titles Emajõe maalitud Tartu (Tartu Painted By River Emajõgi), Nihestatud Tartu (Dislocated Tartu) and Nihestatud Tartu 2 (Dislocated Tartu II).

Nihestatud Tartu 2 was exhibited on Kaarsild, a bridge over River Emajõgi at the Town Hall Square, within the events of the Prima Vista spring events programme. During the main programme in autumn, Juhan Voolaid will meet children in the art room of the Park Library and will walk with everybody who is interested along the medieval town wall. Juhan Voolaid will also participate in a talk with earlier City Writers.    

Monday, September 20th

17.00 Meet the City Writers – a discussion with the current City Writer grantee and the previous ones at the hall of Tartu Public Library

Wednesday, September 22nd

14.00 A literary walk with Juhan Voolaid, the current City Writer along the traces of the medieval town wall of Tartu 

Thursday, September 23rd

11.00–14.00 Children’s programme at the Park Library