Mihkel Mutt

Novels Mihkel Mutt

Short stories


About Mihkel Mutt



Mihkel Mutt (b. 18 February 1953) is an Estonian writer, essayist and critic.

He was born in Tartu; his father Oleg Mutt was associate professor of English at the University of Tartu. He received his education in a class specialising in literature at Tartu Secondary School No. 8 and Tartu State University where he studied Estonian philology and journalism. From 1976–1977 he worked as editor of children’s and young adult literature for Eesti Raamat publishers, 1977–1986 editor of the journal Looming, 1988–1990 dramaturge of the Estonian Youth Theatre, 1991–1992 head of information office at the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 1992–1993 worked for the newspapers Eesti Ekspress, Eesti Aeg and Hommikuleht, 1997–2005 editor-in-chief of the culture newspaper Sirp and 2005–2016 editor-in-chief of the literary journal Looming. From 2016–2018 Mutt received the writer’s salary from the state.

Mihkel Mutt has been a member of the Estonian Writers’ Union since 1980, being a member of its board for several times; a member of the Estonian PEN-club since 1992, has been its president.

Mutt made his literary debut in 1966 when the school yearbook Tipa-Tapa published his first translation of a short story from English. During his university studies, he participated in the activities of Tartu Young Authors’ Association. He attracted greater attention in the 1970s–80s, at the beginning of his career as a prose writer. In his later creation, which is considered a critical and ironical view of a parodied society, and which has also been called alternative literature, he has expressed himself through his alter ego Fabian who acts as a connecting link between his works.

Mutt’s works have been translated into Finnish, Russian, English, German, and other languages. A television film directed by Ingo Normet has been made after his novel Pingviin ja raisakass (‘The Penguin and the Carrion Cat’).

Mihkel Mutt has translated Tom Stoppard’s, Arnold Wesker’s, Neil Simon’s, Eugene O’Neill’s and David Pownall’s plays from English and written scripts for television. He has been a fertile literary and theatre critic and a permanent columnist of the newspapers Eesti Päevaleht and Postimees.

In 1981 and 2008 Mihkel Mutt received the Friedebert Tuglas Short Story Prize respectively for his stories Õpilane Fabian (‘Student Fabian) and Siseemigrant (‘The Internal Emigrant’), in 1987 the Juhan Smuul Award for the book Näärivana (‘Father Cristmas’, published in English in 1990), in 1994 and 2013 the Virumaa Literary Prize respectively for the books Rahvusvaheline mees (‘The International Man’) and Kooparahvas läheb ajalukku (‘The Cavemen Chronicle’, published in English ion 2015) and in 2013 the Eduard Vilde Literary Award for Eesti ümberlõikaja (‘The Estonian Circumciser’). For the latter, he was also awarded the title of the Writer of the Year.

In 1999, he earned the Literature Endowment Annual Award for Muti tabloid (‘Mutt’s Tabloid’) and in 2014 for Õhtumaa Eesti (‘Occidental Estonia’). In 2020 he received the Cultural Endowment Annual Award for literature for his collection of essays Maailmas peegelduv veetilk. Arutlusi Eestist, kultuurist, ajaloost (‘A Drop of Water Reflected in the World. Reflections of Estonia, Culture, History’), which was published in the series Eesti mõttelugu (‘History of Estonian Thought’).

He has also earned several theatrical awards: in 1978 and 1982 the State Criticism Award for theatre criticism, in 1994 and 2000 the criticism award of the Estonian Theatre Union, in 1990 the Aleksander Kurtna Translation Award for the translation of Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead into Estonian.

In 2000 he received the Order of the White Star, 3rd Class, and the Estonian Cultural Endowment scholarship Ela ja sära (‘Live and Shine’), in 2001 the Concord Award of the Open Estonia Foundation. In 2008, the Postimees newspaper awarded him the title of the Opinion Leader of the Year.

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

Books in Estonian

Hiired tuules. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1982, 207 lk; [2. trükk, Muti raamat, 2001, 264 lk; 3. trükk, Tallinn: Eesti Päevaleht, 2009, 256 lk.]
Keerukuju. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1985, 160 lk.
Kallid generatsioonid. Tallinn: Perioodika (LR), 1986, 152 lk.
Pingviin ja raisakass. Tallinn: Kupar, 1992, 94 lk. [2. trükk: Fabian, 2013, 150 lk.]
Rahvusvaheline mees. etf, 1994, 205 lk. [2. trükk: Tallinn: Eesti Päevaleht, 2009, 278 lk.]
Progressiivsed hiired. Tallinn: Muti raamat, 2001, 272 lk.
Kõrtsikammija. Tallinn: Muti raamat, 2005, 152 lk.
Rahvusvaheline mees. Tallinn: Eesti Päevaleht, 2009, 207 lk.
Kooparahvas läheb ajalukku. Tallinn: Fabian, 2012, 464 lk.
Eesti ümberlõikaja. Tallinn: Fabian, 2016, 208 lk.
Mägrad hernes. Tallinn: Fabian, 2020, 206 lk.

Short stories
Fabiani õpilane. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1980, 152 lk.
Mehed. Tallinn: Perioodika (LR), 1981, 56 lk.
Kerge meel. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1988, 127 lk.
Vana Fabiani nutulaul. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1988, 256 lk.
Üleminekuaeg. Tallinn: Kupar, 1995, 111 lk.
Elu allikad. Tallinn: Fabian, 2002, 112 lk.
Kõik roosid ma kingiksin. Tallinn: Fabian, 2004, 162 lk.
Siseemigrant. Tallinn: Fabian, 2007, 189 lk.
Fabian. Tallinn: Fabian, 2015, 152 lk.

Essays and articles
Kõik on üks ja seesama. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1986, 382 lk.
Muti tabloid. Tallinn: Kupar, 1999, 240 lk.
Õhtumaa Eesti I. Tallinn: Fabian, 2014, 416 lk.
Meedia, mu meedia. Tallinn: Tuum, 1996, 312 lk.
Väärikusest. Tallinn: Muti raamat, 2001, 64 lk.
Eestlusest. Tallinn: Fabian, 2002, 87 lk.
Sise ja väli. Tallinn: Sirp, 2003, 132 lk.
Mõtted. Tallinn: Kultuurileht (LR), 2017, 104 lk.
Õhtumaa Eesti II. Tallinn: Fabian, 2017, 368 lk.
Kõik on hästi. Mõtted II. Tallinn: Fabian, 2018, 192 lk.
Maailmas peegelduv veetilk. Tartu: Ilmamaa, 2020, 336 lk. [Sari 'Eesti mõttelugu'.]

Reisid ehk Kolm korda Aasias, muust rääkimata. Tallinn: Kupar, 1990, 236 lk.
Inglismaa päevik. Tallinn: Kupar, 1995, 88 lk.

Mälestused 1. osa. Eesti doomino. Eelmälestused. Tallinn: Fabian, 2009, 132 lk.
Mälestused 2. osa. Võru tänav. Lapsepõlv. Tallinn: Fabian, 2009, 205 lk.
Mälestused 3. osa. Sitik sügab. Kooliaeg. Tallinn: Fabian, 2010, 207 lk.
Mälestused 4. osa. Kandilised sambad. Ülikool. Tallinn: Fabian, 2010, 239 lk.
Mälestused 5. osa. Päikesepoolel. Tallinn: Fabian, 2011, 247 lk.
Mälestused 6. osa. Elukott. Tallinn: Fabian, 2011, 223 lk.

Children’s literature
Französisch. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1981, 64 lk.
Näärivana. Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, 1986, 64 lk.

Töö ja armastus. Tammsaaret tuulates. Tallinn: Fabian, 2019, 207 lk.