Urmo Jaanimägi

Urmo Jaanimägi (born 23 August 1970) is a psychologist and writer.

Jaanimägi was born at Rakke in Lääne-Virumaa County and completed Rakke secondary school. After military service, he lived in Tallinn and worked as a stagehand at the Estonian National Opera for seven years. From 1998, he has been residing in the USA. From 1998–2001, he studied at Charleston University in South-Carolina where he acquired a bachelor’s degree in psychology. From 2002–2004, he was engaged in master’s studies at Villanova University and from 2005–2010 in master’s studies at the University at Buffalo.

He has a master’s degree in both clinical and experimental psychology. He works at the University at Buffalo, doing research on dependences and related factors.

Jaanimägi’s first book, the collection of stories Televisiooni mõju (‘The Influence of Television’) appeared in Estonia in 2017. The story collection speaks about everyday affairs: childhood games, falling in love, home and parents, embarrassing but funny incidents. The indirect aim of the book is to create a link in readers between the distant and the near, the big and the small. The description of life and the setting alternates with social comments and psychological analysis; love gives way to the absurd, pain to liberating laughter. The stories in the book are so short that they can be classified as miniatures or jokes rather.

The second book Kolimise laastav mõju (‘The Devastating Influence of Moving House’) appeared in 2018. Jaanimägi’s second collection consists of short stories which nearly always concentrate on a curious or pathetically funny incident or apply a specific formal solution. Characters in the stories are few and they are sketchy; the stories often end with a twist. Through the characters who may or may not be different aspects of the author, the reader experiences the numbing routine of workaday life and the storms in it.

Jaanimägi’s short story Ajaliku elu rõõmud (‘The Pleasures of Temporal Life’) was published in the collection Eesti novell 2020 (‘Estonian Short Stories 2020’).

L. P. (Translated by I. A.)

Books in Estonian

Short prose
Televisiooni mõju. Pärnu: Jumalikud Ilmutused, 2017. 159 lk.
Kolimise laastav mõju. Tallinn: EKSA, 2018. 221 lk.