Tartu names Paavo Matsin as new city writer

Paavo Matsin.
Paavo Matsin. Source: Lilian Lukka

Paavo Matsin was chosen as the Tartu city writer for 2022, taking over from Juhan Voolaid.

"Tartu will get its sixth city writer and I am glad there are so many creative people in Tartu. The city writer scholarship allows the writer to focus more on their creative works and gives them motivation for new works," Mayor of Tartu Urmas Klaas (Reform) said.

The committee's choice of Matsin was unanimous, because they felt like there needs to be some bohemian humor in the position, which Paavo Matsin reflects in his works and actions.

"We live in a complicated geopolitical location, where national formations have changed rather rhythmically in time. And then there are writers who amplify all this in their works. It is bad if this is done tragically without providing the reader with a sense of catharsis. I think it is much better to laugh about the fear, even if you are staring death, to turn dystopia into comedy and a parody of itself," Matsin has previously said.

Selection committee chair and deputy mayor Lemmit Kaplinski said Matsin's strengths are his wide international grasp through several translations. "Paavo will help write up Tartu in Berlin and Belgrade, as well. Also, international contacts and cooperation are important to support the Tartu 2024 European Capital of Culture campaign and to encourage cooperation in the UNESCO network," Kaplinski said.

The City Writer Grant is being awarded for the sixth year and is one of Tartu's activities as a UNESCO International City of Literature. Previous Tartu City Writers were Kristiina Ehin (2017), Mika Keränen (2018), Vahur Afanasjev (2019), Carolina Pihelgas (2020) and Juhan Voolaid (2021).


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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