Ott Kilusk

Ott Kilusk (20 August 1975) is a dramaturge, playwright, poet and prose writer.

Kilusk completed Meremäe secondary school in Setumaa area in South-eastern Estonia. He studied at Viljandi Culture College and literature and folklore at the University of Tartu. There, he also completed his master’s studies in literature and theatre studies with the thesis Implikatuuri poeetika Nikolai Baturini loomingus. Mittesõnaline tuletamine väljamõeldises (‘Poetics of Implicature in Nikolai Baturin’s Poetics. Non-verbal Derivation in Fantasy’, 2013). Among other jobs, Kilusk has worked as a supervisor of stagehands, stage manager and teacher; since 2019 he has been dramaturge of the Endla theatre. Kilusk is a member of the Estonian Directors’ and Dramaturges’ Union (2001).

Kilusk made his debut in literature with the poetry collection Oktoobrikuine tuuker (‘Diver in October’, 2010) which is centred on the eerie atmosphere of a peripheral village with equally freaky characters. The collection oozes gloomy nostalgia, it also has a surreal level. Thematically, the prose collection Veidrikud ja võpatused (‘Weirdos and Flinches’, 2012) is linked to the poetry collection; it depicts the periphery of Estonia at the end of the Soviet period through the eyes of boy growing up and evolving there. Kilusk stands out for his folksy and colourful usage of the language.

The play Kirvetüü (‘Rough Work’), written in the Seto variety of Estonian, depicts the life in a peripheral Seto village in the confusing early 1990s. It premiered in 2019. The play received the first prize in the playwriting competition of the Estonian Theatre Agency in 2017 and in 2021 the award of the Estonian Theatre Union for original Estonian plays. Kilusk is the text author of several popular summer productions, for example Ada. Rääkimata lugu (‘Ada. The Unspoken Story’) about the actor Ada Lundver and Vana klaver ehk Suusabaasis on tantsupidu (‘The Old Piano or Dance Party at a Ski Camp’) about the singer Kalmer Tennosaar.

Kilusk is primarily known as a dramaturge who has written arrangements for Lydia Koidula’s play Säärane mulk ehk sada vakka tangusoola (‘The Man from Mulgimaa, or A hundred Bushels of Groats’), August Gailit’s novel Toomas Nipernaadi and A. H. Tammsaare’s novel Põrgupõhja uus Vanapagan (‘The Misadventures of the New Satan’).

Kilusk has published literary criticism and written filmscripts. He is a member of the music groups Õõvastus and Kümme Minutit Hirmu.

A. K. (Translated by I. A.)

Books in Estonian

Short prose
Veidrikud ja võpatused. Tallinn: Menu Kirjastus, 2012, 159 lk

Poetry collections
Oktoobrikuine tuuker. Tallinn: Kirjastuskeskus, 2010, 63 lk
Elajas ja videvikumadu. Pärnu: Grotesk, 2018, 60 lk

Kirjandus meie ümber: õpik-lugemik 7. klassile. Tallinn: Maurus, 2022, 176 lk