Armin Kõomägi

Novels Armin Kõomägi

Short stories


Armin Kõomägi (b. 5. VII 1969) is a prose writer and businessman.

One of the fastest rising authors in contemporary Estonian literature, he was born in Moldova to an Estonian father and an Armenian mother. With a background in business, the author began as a writer in the 2000s; his first short story Anonüümsed logistikud (‘Logisticians Anonymous’) immediately won the Friedebert Tuglas short story award (2006). This also appeared in his first collection Amatöör (‘The Amateur’, 2005) and in Best European Fiction 2012 (Dalkey Archive Press, 2011). For the short story ‘Goglomov’, which appeared in the collection Minu erootika saladus (‘My Erotic Secret’, 2017), he won a second Tuglas short story prize (2018) and the August Gailit short story prize (2019). In 2007 he also won the annual prize for audio-visual art from the Cultural Endowment of Estonia for his personal contribution to Estonian film, and in 2015 he won first prize in the novel competition of the Estonian Writers’ Union for the novel Lui Vutoon (2015).

Kõomägi’s prose, which feels most at home in the short form, casts a sharp-witted, occasionally (self-)ironical look, grotesquely veiled, at the world of contemporary capitalism. Thus, for example, the novel Lui Vutoon might be described as a Robinson Crusoe story in diary form placed in an urban setting, the centre of which is the Mecca of modern consumer culture, a shopping mall, which also had an important place in Kõomägi’s first novel, Pagejad (‘The Escapees’, 2009). There is no shortage of social criticism in either work, and there is a scathing topicality. Dystopian visions of the future are to be found, for instance, in the short story collections Minu Mustamäe (‘My Mustamäe’, 2013) and Minu erootika saladus. Precise use of words and a good command of genres characterize the author’s prose, with its interesting characters, occasionally absurd situations, a certain fairy-tale component, and a wealth of humour arising from the texts.

Kõomägi is one of the compilers and publishers of the Eesti novell (‘Estonian Short Story’) series of books. The collections contain, in addition to the most noteworthy stories of the year, those that have won the Tuglas prize and a story from an earlier period. So far three books have appeared: Eesti novell 2018, Eesti novell 2019, and Eesti novell 2020.

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

Books in Estonian

Pagejad. Pärnu: Jumalikud Ilmutused, 2009, 189 lk.
Hea firma. Saarde, Pärnu: Jumalikud Ilmutused, 2011, 150 lk.
Lui Vutoon. Tallinn: Tuum, 2015, 285 lk.

Short prose
Amatöör: lühijutud. Tallinn: Pegasus, 2005, 255 lk. [2. trükk: 2006.]
Nägu, mis jäi üle. Tallinn: Pegasus, 2006, 167 lk.
Minu Mustamäe. Tallinn: Tuum, 2013, 271 lk.
Minu erootika saladus. Tallinn: Sebastian Loeb, 2017, 238 lk.
Kahjur. Tallinn: Sebastian Loeb, 2019, 238 lk.
Perifeeria kangelased. Loomingu Raamatukogu 27-28. Tallinn: Kultuurileht, 2020, 90 lk.