Berit Kaschan chosen as Estonian nominee for PEN New Voices Award
For the second year in a row, the Estonian PEN Center has put forth a nominee for the PEN International New Voices Award. This year's nominee, Berit Kaschan, has been chosen by the Estonian PEN alongside literary experts for her humorous frankness.
The PEN International New Voices Award, now in its third year, seeks to provide a much-needed space for young and unpublished writers to promote their work. The award is aimed at unpublished writers aged 18-30. The winner will be chosen by a jury assigned by PEN International, which this year includes writers Yann Martel and Olga Tokarczuk among others. Shortlisted authors will be announced at the end of the summer, with the winner of the award and a 1,000-dollar (about 920 euros) cash prize announced in October at the 81st International PEN Congress in Quebec, Canada.
Berit Kaschan studied literature at the University of Tartu, having defended her Master's thesis on works by Latvian author Nora Ikstena and Estonian writer Aino Pervik. She has worked as a museum pedagogue and curator at the A. H. Tammsaare museum and currently works at the Tallinn University Press as a managing editor.
In 2009, Kaschan received the literary festival Prima Vista's debut award "First Step", which recognizes emerging literary talents. Kaschan's work has previously been published in the Estonian literary magazine Värske Rõhk.
The Estonian PEN nominee last year was Silvia Urgas, who was included in a shortlist of six nominees for the 2014 award. The award eventually went to Marina Babanskaya, put forth by the St. Petersburg PEN, for her short story "The Frogs' Chorus".