Literature as a European mother tongue: In our series “One is a CROWD”, we introduce you to authors from all over Europe who will be involved in the CROWD omnibus reading tour, taking place from May to July 2016, featuring 100 authors who will be travelling through 15 European countries. We asked them five questions about text production, reception and mediation. In case you were wondering what a literary activist in Tallinn looks like, meet Kätlin Kaldmaa! 

“To give a text an Author is to impose a limit on that text, to furnish it with a final signified, toclose the writing” ( Roland Barthes) – Do you see yourself as an author and do you agree with this?

Yes, I do see myself as an author but I also see publishing the text – either in internet or book – as the beginning of the journey. The text I’ve written only becomes complete when it meets readers and intertwines with their inner worlds. Every reader reads their own novel/poem/story, every reader finds what moves her/him, what talks to her/him. Therefore, I am the first author, I am the mother of the text, but as it always is with children – they go into the world and live their own lives regardless of the parents’ intentions.

Reading is writing is reading is writing … – why, and if, how?

Mais oui, there cannot be writing without reading and vice versa. When you begin your reading career at four it is difficult to imagine writing without reading. How else is one supposed to know what’s already out there? I have met young writers who claim they do not read because they write, and to be honest, that’s probably the reason why their writing is not very original. Being a non-reading-writer is like trying to chop downs trees blindfolded in a forest. You know, sometimes I envy people who have not read a certain author or a book. In a sense, they’re like virgins. And I’m jealous of the experience they’re going to get from reading this particular author or book.

Reading is writing is reading is writing.

What is your favorite literary spot in…? (literary venue, bar, meeting spot etc.)

Actually, I like reading poetry in places that do not seem very poetic. Night clubs, for example. You can just go and do whatever you like and there are no limits. Of course, it takes an effort to grab the attention of people who are not accustomed to listening poetry but getting it is most rewarding.

One of my favorite places in Tallinn is a series of literature café events called KirjandusAit where all sorts of literature is being discussed by all sorts of literatis – translators, publishers, critics, artists, you name it.


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