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Wiedemann language award goes to poet Hando Runnel

Hando Runnel.
Hando Runnel. Source: Reti Kokk

The government has decided to bestow the F. J. Wiedemann Language Prize on Hando Runnel for consistently contributing to the richness of the Estonian language, literature and culture as a poet and literary organizer.

Minister of Education and Research Kristina Kallas (Eesti 200) thanked and congratulated the laureate. "It is difficult to overstate the importance of Hando Runnel in the development of the Estonian language and culture. Runnel's poes and texts have left a mark on the vocabulary of entire generations," she said.

Hando Runnel is the author of nearly 60 books, which include around 40 collections of poems. It is almost impossible to count every poem he has written or the number of expressions the author has introduced into the Estonian language, including "ei saa me läbi Lätita" ("we cannot make do without Latvia") and "maa tuleb täita lastega" ("the land needs to be filled with kids"). Runnel has brought the works of many linguistic scholars closer to the people as editor-in-chief of the "Eesti mõttelugu" series of writings.

Hando Runnel has been active as a freelance journalist and poet for over half a century. He is a member of the Estonian Academy of Sciences since 2012.

The Wiedemann Language Prize will be presented at the government decorations ceremony to be held on February 21. The prize fetches €65,000.

The F. J. Wiedemann Language Prize is bestowed annually on a single person for services in studying, organizing, teaching, promoting or using the Estonian language. Last year, the prize went to Peeter Päll. The first ever Wiedemann Prize was given to Henn Saari in 1989.

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Editor: Rasmus Kuningas

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