Holger Pukk

Novels Holger Pukk

Short stories


Holger Pukk (Holger-Feliks Pukk, 14.VIII 1920 – 12. III 1997) was a prolific writer for children.

He was born and studied in Tallinn, and graduated from the Secondary School of Business, specializing in business management and accounting. He was mobilized into the Red Army, and was in the Estonian Rifle Corps. After the war he worked in commerce, was a contributor to the children’s newspaper Säde, later working in the editorial office. From 1954 to 1974 he was the editor-in-chief of the children’s magazines Pioneer and Täheke. He was a member of the CPSU from 1951 to 1990, of the Writers’ Union from 1955, and was also the secretary of its Board and a member of its Children’s Commission. From 1958 to 1962  he was a member of the Central Committee of the Estonian Komsomol (the Leninist Young Communist League) and the ESSR Peace Defence Committee. He died in Tallinn and is buried in Rahumäe Cemetery.

His first efforts in the literary field appeared in school magazines of the late thirties and early forties. His first children’s book, Kaks punast kaelarätti (‘Two Red Neckerchiefs’) appeared in 1953. These were followed by Salga au (‘Brigade’s Honour’, 1955), Lugu ühest meeskonnast (‘The Story of a Team’, 1956) and the collection of stories Seitseteist vaprat (‘Seventeen Brave Lads’, 1958), based on true events. His use of Soviet ideology is especially notable at the start of his creative career. After the gradual disappearance of this ideological bias his general humanist approach became prevalent.

He published several reference and instructional books, such as Kuidas toimid sina? (‘How Do You Act?’, 1959) about behaviour, Kuidas loete teie (‘How Do You Read’, 1964) about literature, and one about traffic, Kuidas teete teie (‘What Do You Do’, 1971). The story about nature, Rohelised maskid (‘Green Masks’, 1960), which is regarded as one of Pukk’s major works, urged young people to get involved in nature protection.

Most of his works are aimed at boys. Pukk has a natural skill in story-telling, providing excitement, adventurous subject-matter and the treatment of topical themes. Youth crime, for instance, was a topic he brought to children’s literature: Jüri (1961), Rikas suvi (‘Rich Summer’, 1965), Kes tulistas? (‘Who Was Shooting?’, 1978), Mure (‘Worry’, 1975) and Rein ja Riina (‘Rein and Riina’, 1978).

The collection Tarkusetera ja teised lood (‘A Grain of Wisdom and Other Stories’, 1976) consists of social-allegorical fairy-tales, and Üks kirju kimp (‘A Colourful Bunch’, 1979) science-fiction, adventure and real-life stories. At the end of his career the novels set in the forties appeared: Suvest suveni. Noorsooromaan (‘From Summer to Summer. A Young Adult Novel’, 1990) about student life in 1940-1941, and Suvest suveni. Romaan (‘From Summer to Summer. A Novel’, 1994) about the life of mobilized soldiers in a labour battalion.

He was a Merited Writer of the ESSR from 1978. He gained recognition for his works depicting the lives of revolutionaries: Öine lahing (‘Night Battle’, 1970, Komsomol award winner 1970); Mida te teate Oskarist? (‘What Do You Know About Oskar?’, 1974, winner of the Juhan Smuul Prize in 1974 and the award for the all-Union competition “The Young Soviet Guard” in 1978); winner of the Estonian SSR State Prize for Kirjad Liisale (‘Letters to Liisa’, 1983) and for other children’s literature, 1985.

In addition to his fiction writing, he wrote commentaries on public affairs, dealing with educational, ethical and literary questions.

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


Books in Estonian

Children’s and youth literature
Kaks punast kaelarätti: jutustus. Tallinn: Eesti Riiklik Kirjastus, 1953, 72 lk. [2. trükk: 1985.]
Salga au: lühijutud. Tallinn: Eesti Riiklik Kirjastus, 1955, 183 lk.
Lugu ühest meeskonnast: jutustus. Tallinn: Eesti Riiklik Kirjastus, 1956, 268 lk.
Seitseteist vaprat: jutustused. Tallinn: Eesti Riiklik Kirjastus, 1958, 176 lk. [2. trükk: 1975.]
Kuidas toimid sina?: nõukogude noorte käitumisreegleist. Tallinn: Eesti Riiklik Kirjastus, 1959, 97 lk. [Järgmised (täiendatud) trükid: 1979, 1994.]
Rohelised maskid. Tallinn: Eesti Riiklik Kirjastus, 1960, 160 lk. [2. trükk: 1983.]
Jüri: jutustus. Tallinn: Eesti Riiklik Kirjastus, 1961, 148 lk. [2. trükk: 1989.]
Koolikoti saladused: jutustused. Tallinn: Eesti Riiklik Kirjastus, 1964, 73 lk.
Kuidas loete teie?. Tallinn: Eesti Riiklik Kirjastus, 1964, 105 lk.
Rikas suvi: jutustus. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1965, 142 lk. [2. trükk: 1983.]
Tähekandja: jutustused. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1966, 48 lk.
Kes tulistas?: jutustus. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1968, 151 lk. [2. trükk: 1983.]
Öine lahing: dokumentaaljutustus Arnold Sommerlingist. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1970, 148 lk. [Järgmised trükid: 1974, 1988.]
Üks tee, kolm viita: jutustused. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1970, 336 lk.
Kuidas teete teie?. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1971, 108 lk. [2. trükk: 1987.]
Mida te teate Oskarist?. (Kogumik fakte ja mälestusi O. Cheri elust). Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1974, 175 lk.
Mure: jutustused. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1975, 144 lk. [2. trükk: 1980.]
Siin eilsed pioneerid. 2. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1975, 83 lk.
Tarkusetera ja teised lood. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1976, 36 lk.
Rein ja Riina. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1978, 127 lk. [2. trükk: 1980.]
Üks kirju kimp: muinasjutud, argipäevalood, ulmelood, seiklusjutud. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1979, 112 lk.
Kaevukask: poisipõlve pildid. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1981, 65 lk.
Tarkusetera ja teised lood: muinasjutud. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1981, 35 lk.
Jutukolmik. [Rohelised maskid. Rikas suvi. Kes tulistas?] Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1983, 384 lk.
Kirjad Liisale: jutustus J. Anveldi elust. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1983, 207 lk.
Tsirkus: jutustus. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1986, 94 lk.
Isemeelsed: jutustus. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1988, 238 lk.
Päikeseratas: jutukogumik. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1988, 221 lk.
Rong tunnelis: jutustus. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1990, 71 lk.
Suvest suveni: noorsooromaan. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1990, 213 lk.
Suvest suveni: romaan. Tallinn: Kupar, 1994, 364 lk.
Vant on kadunud: jutud lastele. Tallinn: Perioodika, 1994, 46 lk.
Lehepoiss ja tema koer: jutustus lastele. Tallinn: Ilo, 1995, 84 lk.
Isevärki ivad. Koostanud P. Mäeniit. Tallinn: TEA Kirjastus, 2008, 51 lk.