Pavel Varunin (Estonia)

Photo: Lauri Kulpsoo

Pavel Varunin is a diversely talented man: an author, a graphic designer and icon painter; graphic artist and the author of several studies of the history and culture of the old believers. The first Paul Varunin’s book to be published was Родное слово детей староверов Эстонии (Old Believer Children’s Own Word, 2010). His best known book of fiction in the Russian community both at home and abroad seems to be Славка и страна Древлесловия (Slavka and the Land of Old Believers) published in 2018 which won Varunin the Estonian Cultural Foundation Prize for authors writing in Russian.

In addition to the books mentioned Pavel Varunin is well known as an author of fairy tales about a curious, clever, and very talkative fish called Riapusha or Rääbu (in Estonian). The hero of those books, liked both by children and adults, Rääbu, was born in Lake Peipsi and decided to get to know the world around it. Travelling in his company, the readers will get acquainted with the fish people of the lake and the people around the lake, their customs, way of life and history. There are three books in the series, all translated into Estonian from Russian by Peeter Volkonski: Rääbu. Peipsiveere muinasjutuveeretus (Rääbu. A Yarn from the Shores of Peipsi), Rääbu ja Valge Peipsimaa (Rääbu and the White Peipsiland), Rääbu ja Malmpea (Rääbu and the Cast Iron Head).

Varunin is the only technologist of woodcut blocks in Estonia. He started to make them in 2012 and these blocks are used to print textile in the workshop of the Peipsimaa Visiting Centre. In the period of 2012 – 2021 Pavel Varunin has made more than a hundred woodprint blocks. In Europe (including Russia and Estonia) three layered woodblocks with copper pressure pins were made until the beginning of the 20th century; today only a few masters know how to make them.

Friday, September 24th

13.00 Lubok print workshop with Pavel Varunin at the lobby hall of the University of Tartu Library

16.00 The Small World of Old Believers – meeting with Pavel Varunin, the author of the Rääbu children’s book series at the Music Department of the University of Tartu Library