Lauri Pilter (b. 15. X 1971) is a prose writer and a poet.
Pilter was born in Tallinn. He earned his PhD degree in English language and literature at the University of Tartu with the monograph The Comic and the Tragicomic in the Works of William Faulkner in 2009. Since 2007, he has been lecturing on world literature at BA and MA levels at the University of Tartu. His scholarly interests include Western classics, particularly mediaeval and Renaissance literature, and the history of Western literary culture from the Middle Ages to the 20th century, with an additional focus on Estonian literature. He has been a member of the Estonian Writers’ Union since 2012.
Lauri Pilter is the author of the Estonian composite novels Lohejas pilv (’A Cloud That’s Dragonish’, 2004), Retk Rahemäkke (’A Journey to the Hail Mountain’, 2010), Uncle Endel’s Grendel (written in English, 2011), Aerudeta köisraudteel (’Oarless on the Funicular’, 2012) and Vilekoor ja teisi jutte (’Whistle Choir and Other Stories’, 2014) and of the collection of essays Kaaslased öös (’Partners in Night’, 2018). The first novels blend American, mostly Jewish, topics with motifs from post-World-War-Two Estonian history, all of which are conveyed through autobiographical narrative. Occasionally, interior monologue is used. 'Whistle Choir and Other Stories' focuses on a small rural community in which traces of the Estonian Swedish heritage linger. Pilter’s short stories owe a lot to the school of Sherwood Anderson. He has later turned from poetical fiction to writing nature poetry in varied metres. Pilter is winner of the Fr. Tuglas and B. Alver awards for fiction in 2004.
He has translated into Estonian Boccaccio’s Fiammetta (2014) and Juan Manuel’s El conde Lucanor (2019). His other translations into Estonian include works by US and British novelists, for example Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain, The Lost Boy by Thomas Wolfe, All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy, The Book of Israel by Jeremy Gavron (with Tõnis Arro), Portnoy’s Complaint and Operation Shylock by Philip Roth (the latter with Tõnis Arro), The Country of the Pointed Firs by Sarah Orne Jewett (with Merike Pilter), The Pursuit of Truth by W. V. Quine, some short stories by Cervantes and also British, Russian, Swedish, Norwegian, Italian and Provençal poetry.
Interlitteraria, vol 25, no 2, 2020, pp 548–549.
Books in Estonian
Lohejas pilv. Tallinn: Tuum, 2004, 204 lk.
Retk Rahemäkke. Tallinn: Tuum, 2010, 152 lk.
Aerudeta köisraudteel. Charleston: CreateSpace, 2012, 169 lk.
Vilekoor ja teisi jutte. Tallinn: Tuum, 2014, 152 lk.
Laikmaa välu. Tallinn: Tuum, 2021, 72 lk.
Kaaslased öös. Tartu: Tartu Ülikooli Kirjastus, 2018, 82 lk.
Books in English
Uncle Endel’s Grendel, and Other Stories. Charleston: CreateSpace, 2011, 96 lk.