Kristina Sabaliauskaite: I like to give a voice to the voiceless

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Photo: Dmitri Kotjuh

Throughout July, ERR's Culture portal will share discussions with writers from this year's HeadRead Literary Festival, which takes place annually in Tallinn and attracts top talent from around the world.

Lithuanian writer and art historian Kristina Sabaliauskaite discussed her work, particularly her latest book "Peter's Empress" about Peter the Great's wife Martha Helena Skowronska — Empress Catherine I — and Russia's influence on the region with Linda Kaljundi, professor of cultural history at the Estonian Academy of Arts.

Sabaliauskaite told Kaljund that in her novels she aims to give a voice to the voices.

Watch the discussion, in English with Estonian subtitles, above. 

The key to Sabaliauskaite creative success is a combination of her historical knowledge and fiction skills. The Lithuanian PEN has recognized her "Silva Rerum" novel series as one of the 10 most significant literary works of the past decade, while similar acclaim has found the two-volume "Peter's Empress," which centers on a Lithuanian-born orphan, an ordinary girl named Marta Skowronska who became the second wife of Peter I for a few years, and by extension, the ruler of the entire Russian empire, and who, according to historian Simon Sebag Montefiore charmed the cruel Peter with her joy and carefree attitude. "Peter's Empress" is considered a perfect mix of emotional and psychologically precise biography and historical accuracy.

The HeadRead literary festival took place from May 24 to May 29. Over the course of five days, around 4,500 people visited the primary venue Writers' Union. The festival also took place in the Estonian Children's Literature Center, the Tallinn Central Library, Ait, Kellertheatre and KuKu Club.

In total, 11 author interviews recorded during the festival will be published on the Estonian Public Broadcasting (ERR) platform Jupiter, which is free for European viewers, and will be made available to the international audience via ERR's portals.

The series feature conversations between Mikhail Shishkin and Harri Tiido, Kristina Sabaliauskaitė and Linda Kaljundi, Tadhg Mac Dhonnagáin and Sinéad Mac Aodha, Eero Epner and Maarja Undusk, Elin Cullhed and Eia Uus, Kate Mosse and Elisa Johanna Liiv, Andri Snær Magnason and Maarja Merivoo-Parro, Lilli Luuk and Carolina Pihelgas, Jussi Adler-Olsen and Krõõt Kaljusto-Munck, and Monique Roffey and Kaisa Ling, Anthony Horowitz and Jason Goodwin.

HeadRead. Source: Dmitri Kotjuh


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Editor: Karmen Rebane, Tom Karik, Helen Wright, Kristina Kersa

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