Tiina Kirss

Articles and essays Tiina Kirss


Tiina Ann Kirss (b. 18. IX 1957) is a literary scholar.

Kirss was born in Buffalo, USA, into a family of Estonian exiles, studied at Amherst, biology at Case Western Reserve University, and French philology at the Sorbonne in Paris, continuing with degrees in English and comparative literature at the State University of New York in Buffalo, and Hebrew at the University of British Columbia. She gained her Ph.D. in comparative literature at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, with a thesis on “The Censor’s Apprentice: Allegory and Aesopian Discourse in Twentieth-Century Estonian and European Texts” (1994), and has been a researcher and (visiting) lecturer at Mercer, Toronto, Tallinn and Tartu universities, the Estonian Institute of the Humanities and the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz. She is a researcher at the Estonian Literary Museum. She has belonged to several editorial boards, and is a member of the Estonian Writers’ Union Abroad (since 1992), the Estonian Writers’ Union, the AABS (American Association of Baltic Studies, deputy president 1996-1998) and the Estonian Association for Comparative Literature and several academic societies in the USA.

Kirss began publishing literary studies in the early eighties. The main themes of her research have been Estonian literary history, trauma theory, exile, post-colonialism, women’s studies, memory research and biographies. With Rutt Hinrikus, Kirss has compiled and edited several collections of biographies: Elust elulooks: kuidas kirjutada elulugu, näiteid ja näpunäiteid (‘From Life to Biography: How to Write a Biography, Examples and Suggestions’, 2010), Minu elu ja armastus. Eesti rahva elulood (‘My Life and Love. Estonian People’s Biographies’, vols. 1-2, 2018) and Eesti elulookirjutus: antoloogia (‘Estonian Biographical Writing: An Anthology’, 2019 with R. Hinrikus). On her own she has compiled Rändlindude pesad: eestlaste elulood võõrsil (‘Migratory Birds’ Nests: Estonian Biographies Abroad’, 2006). For her contribution to the study of the lives of Estonians in exile Kirss won the Henrik Visnapuu prize (2007). Her articles and critical writings have been collected by Aija Sakova in Sõel: käsitlusi kirjandusest, kirjanduskriitikat ja arvamuslugusid (‘The Sieve: Writings on Literature, Literary Criticism and Reviews’, 2018, winner of the Ivar Ivask Memorial Fund stipend 2019).

Since 1978 she has been publishing poetry in the press.

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

Books in Estonian

Sõel: käsitlusi kirjandusest, kirjanduskriitikat ja arvamuslugusid. Koostanud Aija Sakova. Tallinn: EKSA, 2018, 586 lk.