Kersti Kivirüüt



Kersti Kivirüüt (b. 28. V 1975) is a schoolteacher, education official and writer, who has gained recognition mainly as the author of horror novels aimed at young people.

Kivirüüt was born in Tartu. She acquired her secondary education in the literature class at secondary School number 8 in Tartu. In 2008 she graduated from the Faculty of History at the University of Tartu with a degree in modern history, and in 2013 she defended her master’s degree in the teaching of history and social studies. She has contributed to the field of education and pedagogy as an official, working as a teacher at Kuuste school, as a youth worker with Tartu County Government, as an education expert and the Ministry of Education and Science and the Education and Youth Board of Estonia. Apart from that she has served in the Home Daughters and Young Eagles organisations in the Tartu brigade of the Estonian Defence League.

As a prose writer, Kivirüüt has mainly cultivated the ethno-horror genre, drawing her material from folklore and local heritage. Into the ordinary imagery she brings mysterious beings and paranormal visions, thus depicting the hazy boundary between this world and the next. Since 2009 she has been publishing horror stories in the web journals Algernon and Reaktor; her earlier short stories have appeared in the anthology Kaku kabel ja teisi tondijutte (‘The Owl’s Chapel and Other Phantom Tales’, 2011). Some of her works have been translated into Hungarian and Azeri.

In the young-adult novel Okultismiklubi (‘The Club of the Occult’, 2009), with its cinematic subject-matter and lively expressiveness, a history teacher and his eighth-grade pupils in the hamlet of Vana-Kuuste are witnesses to a paranormal happening, the causes of which they are keen to set about investigating. In getting to know the heritage of their home area they confront the ancient history of a manor-house as well as primeval folk beliefs which in turn lead them to the secrets of some occult teachings. The paranormal adventures of the Q Club continue on the track of supernatural events in the next part of the thriller, Okultismiklubi 2 (‘The Club of the Occult 2’, 2011). The events in the horror novel Värav (‘The Gate’, 2018) take place in the village of Meerapalu on the shores of Lake Peipsi, where zombie-like creatures appear through the ancient gate at nightfall. The key to the mystery, known to locals but terrifying to strangers, is hidden in the events of ancient history dating back to the Livonian War period.

The action in the historical novel, with aspects of crime, Mäng mõisa peale (‘The Game Over the Estate’, 2007) is set in 19th-century Tartu, but also indirectly in the conditions of manorial and village life, in which the main protagonist, an Irishman claiming to be a count, is famed for solving delicate problems. Young protagonists resolve a mysterious case in the thriller Tuulte linn (‘Town of Winds’, 2018), in which a rich array of events, crossing different epochs and human destinies, is played out mainly on the territory of present-day Azerbaijan, although there are thrilling parallels with the ancient Scandinavian myth of Odin.

The satirical thriller Deemonitaltsutajad (‘The Demon-tamers’, 2019) deals in an original way with the conflict of values arising from the Estonian administrative reforms, which is cleared up in the opposition between the members of a sect with extreme views which has seized power at a local level and some young free-thinkers. Serious problems of school life are dealt with in the novel Mina, Raimo. 5. Klass (‘I, Raimo, 5th Grade’, 2021) which reflects the anxiety and maladjustment of anti-social children, which they express through swearing, disobedience and challenging behaviour.

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

Books in Estonian

Okultismiklubi. Tallinn: Tänapäev, 2009, 167 lk.
Okultismiklubi 2. Inglitel puudub huumorimeel. Tallinn: Tänapäev, 2011, 158 lk.
Mäng mõisa peale. Tallinn: Tänapäev, 2017, 160 lk.
Tuulte linn. Tallinn: Pilgrim, 2018, 158 lk.
Värav. Tartu: Fantaasia, 2018, 125 lk.
Deemonitaltsutajad. Tallinn: Tänapäev, 2019, 220 lk.
Mina, Raimo. 5. klass. Tallinn: Tänapäev, 2021, 119 lk.

Kaku kabel ja teisi tondijutte. Tallinn: Canopus, 2011, 102 lk.