Ķempi Kārl and Aado Lintrop receive Indigenous Peoples' Literature Award

Aado Lintrop.
Aado Lintrop. Source: Ivo Kruusamägi

On the commemorative day of the Udmurt writer and social activist Kuzebai Gerd, November 1, the Estonian Indigenous Peoples' Program traditionally announced the winners of the literature prize.

"This year's literary prizes were awarded to people who are both exceptional poets and scholars," Eva Toulouze, member of the literary prize jury, said.

In the fiction category, the prize was awarded to Ķempi Kārl Salatsi for his Liv Liv poetry collection "Ēzkyrdiz vīzd" ("Ways of Proximity", 2023). Behind the pseudonym of the mythical Finno-Ugric poet Ķempi Kārl is linguist Karl Pajusalu, who has made a major contribution to the promotion of Livonian culture and history and the development of the Livonian language.

The Livonian language is a Finnic, nearly extinct, language whose native land is the coast of the Gulf of Riga in Latvia.

The jury pointed out that his third collection of poetry "Ēzkyrdiz vīzd" is outstanding both linguistically and literately. In addition to the original texts, the poetry collection includes translations into Latvian and Estonian.

Valts Ernštreics, the head of the University of Latvia Livonian Institute, said that Ķempi Kārl's poems are exemplary and inspiring. "Not only does he use the Livonian language in his poems, but he also creates the mood and spirit of the Livonian world in his home region, while his poems have been set to music and choral songs and have been translated into Estonian, Latvian, English, Finnish, Hungarian and other languages," he said.

Aado Lintrop was awarded the Literature Prize for the promotion and introduction of literature of the Finno-Ugric peoples in Estonia. Lintrop is a folklorist, religious scholar and Finno-Ugric poet.

"His philosophical journeys have taken him from miracle stories to shamanism and back again," Jürgen Rooste, the jury member, said.

The Indigenous Peoples' Program of the Ministry of Education and Research, in cooperation with the Finno-Ugric Literature Association, has been awarding the indigenous peoples' literature prize since 2007.


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Editor: Kaspar Viilup, Kristina Kersa

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