Harju 1, Tallinn 10146, Estonia
Phone (372) 627 64 10, (372) 627 64 11
Fax (372) 627 64 10
Chairman Karl Martin
Sinijärv (372) 627 64 11
Secretary Helle Aava (372) 627 64
Counsellor Piret Viires (372) 627
Accountant Maie Otsason
(372) 627 64 13
Managing director Mart Siilmann
(372) 627 64 15
Maimu Berg, Toomas Haug, Krista Kaer, Jan Kaus, Kalev
Kesküla, Janika Kronberg, Mihkel Mutt, Karl Martin Sinijärv (chairman),
Berk Vaher, Piret Viires, Märt Väljataga
Estonian Writers’ Union as a professional association
of writers and literary critics was founded on October 8, 1922 at Tallinn
Town Hall. The number of its members at the time was 33 and by 1940 the
membership had increased by 20 more people. During the first independence
period of Estonia the chairmanship of the creative union was held by Friedebert
Tuglas, Eduard Hubel (Mait Metsanurk), Karl Ast (Rumor), Henrik Visnapuu
and August Jakobson.
When Estonia had been incorporated into the Soviet Union, an organizing
committee of the Estonian Soviet Writers’ Union (chairman August Jakobson)
began to operate in October 1943. On October 8 and 9, 1943 a founding conference
took place in Moscow, where the board, presidium and the chairman of the
new union were elected. The Moscow-born association of Estonian writers
was called Estonian Soviet Writers’ Union until 1958, later it became
the Writers’ Union of the Estonian SSR. Since the founding conference it
has been chaired by Johannes Vares-Barbarus, August Jakobson, Johannes
Semper, Juhan Smuul, Paul Kuusberg and Vladimir Beekman.
During the 1941-1944 German occupation in Estonia the Union's work was
at first organised by a three-member board (chairman Albert Kivikas).
In summer 1943, along with other political associations and unions, it
was able to start regular work again. The meeting in Tartu on 12
December 1943 elected Gustav Suits as chairman of the Writers' Union.
Estonian writers managing to escape to the free west in the war-autumn
of 1944 succeeded in organizing their activities so quickly that Estonian
Writers’ Union Abroad was founded as early as in 1945 in Stockholm. Until
1982 it was chaired by August Mälk, after that by Kalju
Lepik and Enn Nõu.
Ideological isolation made it impossible to have official contacts between
the two writers’ unions until 1989, when a so-called unofficial, but actually
a high-level and extremely successful meeting of writers from both sides
of the border took place in May in Helsinki. More honest and talented writers
at home and abroad had succeeded in protecting and supporting their nation’s
ideals of freedom and culture despite all the poilitical and economical
The professional association of writers in Estonia started to call itself
Estonian Writers’ Union again in 1991. From 1995 until 2004 it was
chaired by Mati Sirkel. In October 2000 Estonian Writers’ Union
Abroad decided to dissolve itself and its former members were in corpore
accepted as members of Estonian Writers’ Union. In addition to the
section in Tartu (chaired by Janika Kronberg till 2005, from 2005
chaired by Berk Vaher) a section was founded in Stockholm (chaired
by Karin Saarsen-Karlstedt). At present EWU has a membership of
302 writers, literary translators, critics and researchers bot in Estonia
and worldwide.From 1992 on EWU is the member of the European Writers’ Congress.
2004-2007 EWU was chaired by Jan Kaus, since 2007 April it is chaired
by Karl Martin Sinijärv.