Loomingu Raamatukogu proclaimed 2016 Engine of Culture by Postimees

January 16, 2017

On Monday, January 16 at noon, the Culture Desk of Postimees handed in the hall of the Estonian Writers' Union the Engine of Culture (Kultuurivedur) annual award for 2016 to Loomingu Raamatukogu. The title comes with a handmade wooden model of a locomotive made by woodworking artist Boris Puusepp.

Loomingu Raamatukogu (Library of the magazine Looming, LR) was established as a supplement to the Looming literary magazine 60 years ago, in 1957, to publish quality literature in a low-cost paperback format. While the lion's share of the works published by LR are translations from other languages, it has also published numerous original works by Estonian authors over the years.

The editors in chief of Loomingu Raamatukogu until the 1990s were Otto Samma (1957–1973), Jüri Ojamaa (1973–1983) and Agu Sisask (1983–1994). The editor in chief from 2008–2012 was Anu Saluäär, a member of the editorial team since 1976. Since 2013, the editor in chief is Triinu Tamm. Longtime members of the editorial staff include Lembe Hiedel (1958–1973), Edvin Hiedel (1963–1973) and Terje Kuusik (1973–2010). Kai Aareleid has been working as editor at LR since 2012.

Estonian culture is kept vibrant by the continuous addition of products of creative process and their interpretation. But there are also phenomena which work in the realm of openness and enrichment of culture, such as translated literature. "If you read it, we know too who you are," is how the way Loomingu Raamatukogu works has been described by someone who is part of it. That's how it is, because during all that time we have received new ideas and a couple of tens of refreshing cultural experiences every year regardless of the form of government and the prevailing world view.

"Sixty years of Loomingu Raamatukogu have seen tens of original works and translations come out whose publication was a milestone in their time either because of their being a mission impossible, their topicality in the world literature, or just because of being a literary masterpiece," literature professor Rein Veidemann said.

"The works that influenced my spiritual development were J. Prévert's "How to Paint the Portrait of a Bird" (1965), M. Gandhi's "The World is Tired of Hate" (1969), N. Wiener's "Cybernetics and Society" (1969), A. Herzen's "From the Other Shore" (1970), C. Vallejo's "Human Poems" (1971), J. Osborne's "Luther" (1971), P. Brook's "The Empty Space" (1972), Jorge Luis Borges's "The Garden of Forking Paths" (1972), A. Schweitzer's "Reverence for Life" (1972), A. Gütersloh's "Let Us Make Man," H. Hesse's "Steppenwolf" (1973), T.H. Eliot's "Essays" (1973), V. Aleixandre's "History of the Heart" (1978), G. Márquez's "The Sea of Lost Time" (1980)," Veidemann said. "The list could be continued for a full page still. The main thing that has to be said is that Loomingu Raamatukogu has been the literary academy and literary window on the world for at least two generations. This magazine has been a manifestation of the freedom to create and the freedom to read, and of responsibility for the word on the other hand."

The title of Engine of Culture is awarded by a decision of the Culture Desk of Postimees. The decision must be made unanimously. For us this is a person or an undertaking whose positive impact on Estonian culture cannot be contested.

Previously the title has been awarded to:

2015 – Olga Temnikova, galerist and tireless ambassador of Estonian art

2014 – Raul Saaremets, musician, DJ, Raadio 2 show host and head of evening programs at Raadio 2 for his work that has shaped the musical tastes of Estonians for several decades

2013 – Hooandja team, for coming up with and implementing the idea of a crowdfunding platform

2012 – Team of the Tujurikkuja television fun-poking show for eloquence and professionalism and performance in culture more broadly

2011 – Juhan Ulfsak, for his contribution to Estonian theater

2010 – Indrek Kasela, for reviving the Sõprus movie theater

2009 – Märt Väljataga, for editing Vikerkaar magazine and oversight over Avatud Eesti Raamat; it is namely thanks to this book series that a big portion of philosophy classics as well as contemporary texts are available to the Estonian reader

2008 – Anne Rande, for leading children to Estonian books and fine arts

2007 – Mart Taniel, for cinematography in the films "Autumn Ball," "Knife" and "Jan Uuspõld Goes to Tartu"

2006 – Ülar Mark, for initiating public discussion on architecture

2005 – Ando Kiviberg, for developing traditional culture

Source: Postimees