Teet Kallas

Novels Teet Kallas

Short stories

About Teet Kallas

Teet Kallas (b. 6. IV 1943) is an Estonian author, prose-writer, playwright and commentator.

He was born in Tallinn, the son of an accountant. From 1950 to 1954 he attended Iru primary school, from 1954 to 1962 Tallinn 21st Secondary School (where he did not matriculate). From 1962 to 1965 he was in the army. He worked as an editor of literary programmes on Estonian Television (1965-1966), as head of the prose and poetry section of the journal Looming (1968-1970) and as acting editor-in-chief (1981), as well as on the newspapers Vaba Maa, Eesti Sõnumid, Sõnumileht and Postimees. Accused of anti-Soviet agitation, he spent four months in 1969-1970 in preliminary investigative custody at Patarei prison and thereafter under forced medication in a psychiatric hospital. From 1970 to 1986 he was a professional writer, from 1992 to 1998 a member of the board and chief editor of the Kupar publishing house, and from 1993 to 1995 a consultant in the office of the President of the Republic of Estonia.

Since 1972 he has been a member of the Estonian Writers’ Union; in the nineteen-eighties he was on the board of the union (as secretary to the board), the presidium of the board, the auditing commission of the board of the USSR Writers’ Union and the presidium of the USSR Foundation for Literature. From 1979 to 1990 he was a member of the CPSU, and from 1990 to 1993 the Estonian Liberal Democratic Party (he was one of its founders); from 1994 to 1996 he was a supporting member of the Centre Party and from 1996 to 1998 a member of the Development Party. In 1990 he was co-chairman of the parliamentary group of the Popular Front, and from 1990 to 1992 a member of the Supreme Soviet of the Republic of Estonia. He belongs to the 20th August Club, whose members voted as members of the Supreme Soviet on 20th August 1991 for Estonia’s independence.

Known today to many people as the script-writer, from 1996 to 2011, for nearly all of one of the longest running television series in Estonia, Õnne 13 (’13 Happiness Street’, running from 1993), Teet Kallas has been a prolific author, whose products include short stories, novels, poems, tales, criticism, columns, as well as radio plays, song lyrics, plays, film scripts and translations. Thousands of articles by him on Estonian politics and cultural life appeared in journals in the nineteen-nineties.

His works have been staged in the theatre – Neli vestlust armsatusest (‘Four Conversations About Love’, Ugala Theatre 1972) – and filmed (Corrida, Tallinnfilm 1984); he has written scripts for feature films: Šlaager (‘Hit’, 1983, directed by Peeter Urbla), Reekviem (‘Requiem’, 1984, directed by Olav Neuland), and Koera surm (‘Death of a Dog’, 1998, directed by Urmas E. Liiv).  

Kallas’ creations are absurd, grotesque, satirical, mystifying, playful, contrasting and fantastical. As a parodist he had used the pseudonym Peep Perv.

The first work of his to be published was a short story, Ootame (‘We’ll Wait’) in the youth newspaper Säde in 1958. A year later his description of the setting of an archaeological dig, Kullaotsijad (‘The Gold Seekers’), won first prize in a schoolchildren’s writing competition. Also awarded a prize in a schoolchildren’s contest was his first published work, Nii palju päikest (‘So Much Sun’, 1964), which describes townspeople’s summer working in the countryside. Heliseb-kõliseb… (‘Clanging and Tinkling…’, 1964) was written in prison and inspired by Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita.

The short story Tagasi suurte kivide juurde (‘Back to the Big Rocks’) won the 1977 Tuglas Short Story Prize. In 1979 the novel Corrida won second prize in Estonian Novel Competition, and in 1997 the novel Käsi (‘The Hand’) won the annual prize of the journal Looming.

He has been awarded the Order of the National Coat of Arms, V class (2002) and III class (2006).

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

Books in Estonian

Nii palju päikest. Tallinn: Eesti Riiklik Kirjastus, 1964, 152 lk.
Heliseb-kõliseb. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1972, 445 lk. [2. trükk: Tallinn: Pegasus, 2008, 523 lk.]
Corrida. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1979, 224 lk.
Eiseni tänav. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1979, 280 lk.
Janu. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1983, 304 lk.
Kes tõttab öisele rongile. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1988, 543 lk.
Niguliste. I-II. Tallinn: Kupar, 1990, 224+270 lk.
Jää hüvasti, Mr. Shakespeare. Tallinn: Kupar, 1995, 224 lk.
Käsi. Tallinn: Kupar, 1997, 198 lk.

Short stories
Puiesteede kummaline valgus. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1968, 205 lk.
Verine padi. Tallinn: Perioodika (Loomingu Raamatukogu), 1971, 61 lk.
Varjud vikerkaarel. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1972, 304 lk.
Viimane mõrv. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1975, 200 lk.
Õhtuvalgus. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1977, 151 lk.
Insener Paberiti juhtum. Tallinn: Perioodika (Loomingu Raamatukogu), 1977, 56 lk.
Väikesed hobused särava vikerkaare all. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1980, 336 lk.
Hei, teie seal!. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1980, 232 lk.
Arvi kamin. Tallinn: Perioodika (Loomingu Raamatukogu), 1982, 70 lk.
Öö neljandas mikrorajoonis. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1985, 207 lk.
Kaks meest lauas. Tallinn: Faatum, 2010, 350 lk.

Naine lõvi seljas. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1990, 159 lk.

Muljeid kirjandusmaastikult. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1982, 287 lk. [Kirjanduskriitika.]
Mälestused. 1. osa. Tallinn: Faatum, 2011, 288 lk.
Mälestused. 2. osa. Tallinn: Faatum, 2014, 384 lk.