Sass Henno

Novels Sass Henno

Short stories

About Sass Henno


Sass Henno (b. 13. IX 1982) is a writer and commentator whose success began with the novel Mina olin siin. Esimene arest (‘I Was Here. The First Arrest’) which represents the innovative trend of realism about problems among young writers at the beginning of the 21st century in Estonia.

Henno was born in Tartu. From 1989 to 2001 he attended Miina Härma Gymnasium in Tartu. From 2001 to 2003 he continued his studies at Tartu Art College, specializing in computer graphics and advertising. He did his baccalaureate studies at the University of Tallinn from 2003 to 2006, specializing in film, video and media directing. A year later he began his master’s programme at the Baltic Film and Media School, specializing in screenwriting. Henno has worked at Estonian Television as an assistant and as a director. Since 2005 he had been a member of the Estonian Writers’ Union. Henno has given lectures and published articles on the subjects of school bullying and domestic violence. He was the screenwriter for the short feature film Südameasjad (‘Matters of the Heart’, 2007, director Mihkel Ulk).

Henno made his debut with the e-novel Elu algab täna (‘Life Begins Today’, 2003, in print form 2006), in which, through the tale of his young protagonist, a man just starting out in life, he examines the values of today’s youth, their losses and failures, with which the author in turn associates the complex question of taking responsibility.

The novel Mina olin siin. Esimene arest (2005), with its transgressive features, and which may be regarded as one of the most successful works of youth literature of this century, represents the so-called ‘problem book’, which examines, through the eyes of a 17-year-old young man, the harsh and dangerous world of youth gangs, in which alcohol, drugs, violence and distorted relationships play an inseparable part. The criminal dealings which reveal the background of the youths’ fractured family relationships and illuminate serious moral conflicts, draw the main protagonist into a downward spiral, the culmination of which is his first arrest. The cinematic, dynamic episodes of the novel, together with the powerful, occasionally vulgar use of language, maintain the tension throughout the story; the visual attractiveness of the novel, with its piercing style, is intensified in turn by the black-and-white drawings. In 2004 the novel won the Estonian Novel Association’s novel competition. A successful film of the same name based on the novel was made in 2008 (directed by René Vilbre).

The thriller Homse maailma kirjanikud (‘Writers of Tomorrow’s World’, 2013), based on real-life events, enters the world of business where it examines the development of an IT company in the conditions of the newly-sprouted capitalism of the nineties, from the angle of its ingenious staff and its adventurist partners.

The cheerful and adventurous children’s book Mereröövlimäng (‘The Pirate’s Game’, 2005, Estonian National Broadcast audio version 2009) raises, from a child’s point of view, the theme of housing which was sequestered for the benefit of forced tenants during the Soviet era but returned to its heirs after the restoration of independence, causing tensions between families who were strangers to each other, but also spontaneous friendship and inventive solutions through the mutual collaboration of the children. A short feature film of the same name was made on the basis of the book (2011, directed by Tõnn Sikk).

A. O. (Translated by C. M.)

Books in Estonian

Elu algab täna. Tallinn: Bahama Press, 2003, 223 lk (e-raamat). [Järgnevad väljaanded: Tallinn: Eesti Päevaleht, 2006, 248 lk; Tallinn: Bahama Press, 2006, 225 lk (e-raamat).]
Mina olin siin. Esimene arest. Tallinn: Eesti Päevaleht, 2005, 200 lk. [2. trükk: Tallinn: Eesti Päevaleht, 2008, 318 lk.]
Homse maailma kirjanikud. Tallinn: Spring Advertising, 2013, 139 lk. [E-raamat: 2013.]
Unustamatud seiklused Via Hanseatical (jutustus). Tallinn: Spring Advertising, 2013, 208 lk.

Children’s book
Mereröövlimäng. Tallinn: Troll, 2005, 100 lk. [2. trükk: Tallinn: Troll, 2009, 102 lk.]