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The Most Famous

WRITERS from Estonia

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This page contains a list of the greatest Estonian Writers. The pantheon dataset contains 5,755 Writers, 24 of which were born in Estonia. This makes Estonia the birth place of the 44th most number of Writers behind Iraq and Belarus.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Estonian Writers of all time. This list of famous Estonian Writers is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Estonian Writers.

Photo of Friedrich Reinhold Kreutzwald

1. Friedrich Reinhold Kreutzwald (1803 - 1882)

With an HPI of 58.05, Friedrich Reinhold Kreutzwald is the most famous Estonian Writer.  His biography has been translated into 37 different languages on wikipedia.

Friedrich Reinhold Kreutzwald (26 December [O.S. 14 December] 1803 – 25 August [O.S. 13 August] 1882) was an Estonian writer who is considered to be the father of the national literature for the country. He is the author of Estonian national epic Kalevipoeg.

Photo of Jaan Kross

2. Jaan Kross (1920 - 2007)

With an HPI of 57.38, Jaan Kross is the 2nd most famous Estonian Writer.  His biography has been translated into 34 different languages.

Jaan Kross (19 February 1920 – 27 December 2007) was an Estonian writer. He won the 1995 International Nonino Prize in Italy.

Photo of Lydia Koidula

3. Lydia Koidula (1843 - 1886)

With an HPI of 55.75, Lydia Koidula is the 3rd most famous Estonian Writer.  Her biography has been translated into 37 different languages.

Lydia Emilie Florentine Jannsen (24 December [O.S. 12 December] 1843 – 11 August [O.S. 30 July] 1886), known by her pen name Lydia Koidula, was an Estonian poet. Her sobriquet means 'Lydia of the Dawn' in Estonian. It was given to her by the writer Carl Robert Jakobson. She is also frequently referred to as Koidulaulik – 'Singer of the Dawn'. In Estonia, like elsewhere in Europe, writing was not considered a suitable career for a respectable young lady in the mid-19th century. Koidula's poetry and her newspaper work for her populist father, Johann Voldemar Jannsen (1819–1890) remained anonymous. In spite of this, she was a major literary figure, the founder of Estonian theatre, and closely allied to Carl Robert Jakobson (1841–1882), the influential radical and Friedrich Reinhold Kreutzwald (1803–1882), writer of the Estonian national epic, Kalevipoeg (The Son of Kalev). Over time, she has achieved the status of the national poet in Estonia.

Photo of Jaan Kaplinski

4. Jaan Kaplinski (1941 - 2021)

With an HPI of 55.40, Jaan Kaplinski is the 4th most famous Estonian Writer.  His biography has been translated into 30 different languages.

Jaan Kaplinski (22 January 1941 – 8 August 2021) was an Estonian poet, philosopher, politician, and culture critic, known for his focus on global issues and support for left-wing/liberal thinking. He was influenced by Eastern philosophical schools (Taoism and especially Buddhism).He worked as a translator, editor, and sociologist and as an ecologist at the Tallinn Botanic Garden. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Photo of Anton Hansen Tammsaare

5. Anton Hansen Tammsaare (1878 - 1940)

With an HPI of 55.38, Anton Hansen Tammsaare is the 5th most famous Estonian Writer.  His biography has been translated into 34 different languages.

Anton Hansen (18 (O.S.)/30 January 1878 – 1 March 1940), better known by his pseudonym A. H. Tammsaare and its variants, was an Estonian writer whose pentalogy Truth and Justice (Tõde ja õigus; 1926–1933) is considered one of the major works of Estonian literature and "The Estonian Novel".

Photo of Marie Under

6. Marie Under (1883 - 1980)

With an HPI of 54.24, Marie Under is the 6th most famous Estonian Writer.  Her biography has been translated into 38 different languages.

Marie Under (27 March [O.S. 15 March] 1883 – 25 September 1980) was one of the greatest Estonian poets. She was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 12 separate years.

Photo of Balthasar Russow

7. Balthasar Russow (1536 - 1600)

With an HPI of 52.41, Balthasar Russow is the 7th most famous Estonian Writer.  His biography has been translated into 15 different languages.

Balthasar Russow (1536–1600) was one of the most important Livonian and Estonian chroniclers.Russow was born in Reval, Livonia (now Tallinn, Estonia). He was educated at an academy in Stettin, Pomerania (now Szczecin, Poland). He was the Lutheran pastor of the Estonian congregation at the Holy Spirit Church in Reval from 1566 until his death. Russow is most famous for his Low German-language chronicle Chronica der Provinz Lyfflandt describing the history of Livonia, especially the decline of the Livonian Order and the period of the Livonian War (1558–83). The chronicle was first printed in Rostock in Mecklenburg in 1578 and quickly sold out. The revised edition was printed in 1584. In his work Russow was highly critical of the squander and immorality of the Livonian upper classes. He also complained about the superstitious beliefs and pagan traditions of the Estonian peasants and the venality of mercenary armies during the wars. He praised the rule of the new regional power, Sweden. Russow is the main character in Kolme katku vahel (Between Three Plagues), a four-part historical novel by modern Estonian writer Jaan Kross, the first part published in 1970.

Photo of Carl Robert Jakobson

8. Carl Robert Jakobson (1841 - 1882)

With an HPI of 50.80, Carl Robert Jakobson is the 8th most famous Estonian Writer.  His biography has been translated into 24 different languages.

Carl Robert Jakobson (26 July [O.S. 14 July] 1841 – 19 March [O.S. 7 March] 1882) was an Estonian writer, politician and teacher active in the Governorate of Livonia, Russian Empire. He was one of the most important persons of the Estonian national awakening in the second half of the 19th century.

Photo of Eduard Vilde

9. Eduard Vilde (1865 - 1933)

With an HPI of 50.39, Eduard Vilde is the 9th most famous Estonian Writer.  His biography has been translated into 23 different languages.

Eduard Vilde (4 March [O.S. 20 February] 1865 – 26 December 1933) was an Estonian writer, a pioneer of critical realism in Estonian literature, and a diplomat. Author of classics such as The War in Mahtra and The Milkman from Mäeküla. He was one of the most revered figures in Estonian literature and is generally credited as being the country's first professional writer.

Photo of Oskar Luts

10. Oskar Luts (1887 - 1953)

With an HPI of 49.98, Oskar Luts is the 10th most famous Estonian Writer.  His biography has been translated into 20 different languages.

Oskar Luts (7 January 1887 [O.S. 26 December 1886] – 23 March 1953) was an Estonian writer and playwright.

Pantheon has 24 people classified as writers born between 1536 and 1973. Of these 24, 5 (20.83%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living writers include Viivi Luik, Paul-Eerik Rummo, and Andrus Kivirähk. The most famous deceased writers include Friedrich Reinhold Kreutzwald, Jaan Kross, and Lydia Koidula. As of April 2022, 4 new writers have been added to Pantheon including Balthasar Russow, Juhan Smuul, and Anna Haava.

Living Writers

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Deceased Writers

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Newly Added Writers (2022)

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Which Writers were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 17 most globally memorable Writers since 1700.