This year's annual HeadRead literary festival in Tallinn is once again set to welcome a very full list of internationally renowned writers and literary figures.
HeadRead, something of a play on words in both Estonian and English ‒ a literal Estonian translation would be ''Good Lines'' ‒ takes place in late May.
Guests will include French-Moroccan Leïla Slimani, a Prix Goncourt winning journalist and author. Slimani came to fiction writing following her journalistic coverage of the Arab Spring events of 2011, during which she was arrested in Tunisia.
Slimani has also covered international scandals, including the sexual assault case involving former International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
Ian Thomson is a translator, writer and journalist of Estonian origin, also appearing at HeadRead. He has written for publications including UK dailies The Guardian, The Independent as well as the Times Literary Supplement. Thomson also teaches at the University of East Anglia. His most prominent work is a biography of holocaust survivor Primo Levi.
Another participant with Estonian roots is T.S. Eliot Prize-winning British poet Philip Gross.
The Poetry Book Society has lauded Gross's ''deep enquiry into and fascination with the nature of embodiment and existence''. Gross is Professor of Creative Writing at the University of South Wales.
British author Julian Barnes, author of crime fiction under the nom de plume Dan Kavanagh and 2011 Man Booker Prize winner for his novel, The Sense of An Ending, is also appearing.
Although considered a master of the short story, Barnes has written three acclaimed novels, the latest his tragic love story, The Only Story, from 2018.
Guests also include Swedish journalist and writer David Lagercrantz, who authored the fourth and fifth installment of Stieg Larsson's Millennium series. Larsson's three novels were published posthumously, later adapted as movies. Lagercrantz is the author of The Girl in the Spider's Web (2015) and The Girl Who takes an Eye for an Eye (2017), and has also written biographies, including I am Zlatan Ibrahimović (2011), on the life of the Swedish football star.
The festival will also host British crime and thriller author Mick Herron, best known as the author Zoë Boehm detective novels, and the Slough House series about British intelligence agency MI5.
Children's author Toon Tellegen (Netherlands), literary critic Galina Yuzefovich (Russia), author of a bestselling book on wolves Elli Radinger (Germany), storyteller and choreographer Nikky Smedley (UK), columnist and author A. N. Wilson (UK), and cultural journalist and writer Mattias Berg (Sweden) are also set to appear.
Other authors coming to HeadRead include Armenian-born prose writer Narine Abgarjan, playwright and novelist Inga Gaile (Latvia), film producer and screenwriter Michael Hjörth (Sweden), explorer and entrepreneur Erling Kagge (Norway), writer and lecturer Merete Mazzarella (Finland), writer and journalist Sheila O'Flanagan (Ireland), children's author Denisa Prošková (Czech Republic), humorist and publicist Miska Rantanen (Finland), screenwriter, actor and writer Hans Rosenfeldt (Sweden), illustrator of the popular Gruffalo series Axel Scheffler (Germany/UK) and crime writer Emelie Schepp (Sweden).
The HeadRead literary festival takes place in Tallinn from 22 to 26 May 2019, primarily at the Estonian Writers' Union, with events also held in Kloostri Ait, St Nicholas' Church, and Tallinn Central Library.
Editor: Andrew Whyte