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Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga

Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga, the first woman to serve as President of Latvia, was born in Latvia in 1937. At the end of World War II, her family fled as refugees to Germany ; later, they moved to Morocco , before finally settling in Canada . In 1965, Mrs. Vīķe-Freiberga received a doctorate in psychology, and became a professor at the University of Montreal , where she worked until 1998. During her years in exile, Mrs. Vīķe-Freiberga was very active in Latvian diaspora society; she also held leading positions at several international scholarly organizations. In 1998, Mrs. Vīķe-Freiberga returned to her homeland to lead the Latvian Institute. A year later, she became the President of Latvia, serving until 2007. Mrs. Vīķe-Freiberga speaks English, French, German, Spanish, and Latvian; her education and multilingual eloquence have been great assets on the international stage.

Juris Kronbergs

Poet and translator Juris Kronbergs was born in Sweden in 1946. He has received numerous awards for his poetry and translations, including the Latvian Order of the Three Stars and the Swedish Order of the Polar Star. In 1997, his book   Vilks Vienacis   (“Wolf One-Eye”)   was named the year’s best volume of Latvian poetry; the work has already been published in translation in several countries, including England, and will be released this year in Lithuania, Denmark, the Czech Republic, and France. Kronbergs writes and translates in both Latvian and Swedish, and is an honorary member of the Latvian Academy of Sciences. He has also served as the cultural attaché at the Latvian Embassy in Stockholm, where he currently lives.

Knuts Skujenieks

Poet and translator Knuts Skujenieks was born in Latvia in 1936. In 1961, a year after he completed his studies at the Maxim Gorky Literature Institute, in Moscow, Skujenieks was accused of anti-Soviet agitation and sentenced to seven years in a labor camp. During his years in the Gulag, he wrote more than a thousand poems, which were first published only after the fall of the Soviet Union. When Skujenieks returned to Latvia, in 1969, he was acknowledged as one of the foremost Latvian poets and translators. However, his first collection of poetry,   Lirika un balsis   (“Voices and Lyrics”), was only permitted to be published in 1978. Skujenieks has been the chair of PEN in Latvia, and has received many prestigious prizes, including the Baltic Assembly Prize and the Tomas Tranströmer Award. Two of his poetry collections have been translated into Swedish:   Ett frö i snön   (“A Seed in the Snow,” 1990)   and   Bitter hand, bitter mun   (“Bitter Hand, Bitter Mouth,” 2003).

Inese Zandere

Poet, children’s author, and journalist Inese Zandere was born in 1958 and received a degree in philosophy from the University of Latvia. She has worked at the Avots publishing house, the children’s magazine   Pionieris , and   Diena , the leading daily newspaper in Latvia. Today, she is editor-in-chief of the magazine   Rīgas Laiks . Her poetry debut was the collection   Grāmatiņa   (“The Little Book”), published in 1983. Several of her poems have been set to music. Zandere has won several awards, including the Annual Prize for Poetry, in 2002, the Annual Prize for Children’s Literature, also in 2002, and the Annual Prize for Culture, awarded by the newspaper   Diena   in 2003.

Zandere is the founder of the publishing house liels un mazs, which specializes in contemporary children’s literature.

Nora Ikstena

Writer Nora Ikstena was born in 1969. She has been an editor at the monthly literary monthly   Karogs   and has collaborated with the   Review of Contemporary Fiction . In addition, Ikstena has served as chairwoman of the National Board of Culture and chairwoman of the Latvian Literature Center. Her debut novel,   Dzīves svinēšana   (“A Celebration of Life”), was published in 1998, and was followed by two more novels. Ikstena has also published several short-story collections and biographies. She was awarded Latvia’s Annual Prize for Literature twice, first in 2001 and then in 2007, for the book   Nenoteiktā bija   (“The Indefinite Was”), written with the poet Imants Ziedonis. Her works have been translated into many languages, including English, German, Russian, and French.

Ieva Lešinska

Editor, journalist, poet, and translator Ieva Lešinska was born in 1958. She has been on the editorial staff of the magazine   Rīgas Laiks   since 1993, and is well know for her interviews with Latvian politicians and her articles on intellectual and artistic trends in Europe and the U.S. Lešinska is a prominent translator of Latvian poetry into English and of English language poetry into Latvian; her translations include T.S. Eliot’s   The Waste Land   and poems by Seamus Heaney and Ezra Pound.

Leons Briedis

Born in 1949, Leons Briedis is a renowned poet and translator from the Romance languages. In 1970, Briedis was accused of “nationalism” and expelled from the University of Latvia. His poetry is devout, sure of form, and somewhat self-ironic; at times, it almost seems like an incantation or prayer. He debuted as a poet in 1974; to date, he has published 17 poetry collections and written lyrics to numerous popular songs. Briedis has led the publishing house Minerva since 1992, and is currently editor of the philosophy journal   Kentaurs .

Briedis’s poetry has appeared in Russian, Romanian, and Ukrainian translations, and has been published in nearly all of the languages of Europe and the former Soviet Union. He has received several awards in Latvia and abroad, including the Ojārs Vācietis Award, for his contributions to poetry and the study of contemporary culture, and a prize from the Romanian Writers Union, for his popularization of Romanian culture in Latvia. Briedis received the Order of Three Stars in 1999 and the Latvian Poetry Days Award in 2004 and 2007.

Jānis Krēsliņš

Jānis Krēsliņš was born in New York in 1955 to a family of World War II refugees from Latvia. Krēsliņš came to Sweden on a Fulbright scholarship in 1982, and received a doctorate from Stockholm University in 1989. He is currently the Senior Academic Librarian at the Swedish National Library, in Stockholm, where he oversees older collections.

Kārlis Vērdiņš

Poet and translator Kārlis Vērdiņš was born in 1979 and studied cultural theory at the Latvian Academy of Culture. To date, he has published three collections of poetry:   Ledlauži   (“The Icebreakers,” 2001),   Biezpiens ar krējumu (“Cottage Cheese With Cream,” 2004), and   Es   (“Me,” 2008). In 2006, he led a masterclass in poetry organized by the Latvian Writers Union. Vērdiņš currently works as an editor for the Latvian Encyclopedia and writes reviews and articles on literature for the Latvian press. He has also compiled and edited several books of poetry and has translated the works of T.S. Eliot, William Carlos Williams, and other modernist poets from English into Latvian.

Artur Punte

Poet and translator Artur Punte was born in Rīga in 1977, studied at the Maxim Gorky Literature Institute, in Moscow, and currently works in advertising. He has exhibited several multimedia poetry projects and was one of the organizers of the video festival “Word in Motion.” He also translates Latvian poetry into Russian and writes poetry in Russian and Latvian. Punte is a member of the Russian-Latvian literary arts group Orbita and is the editor of the group’s Web site.

Punte has published two books of poetry in Russian:   Иди-иди   (“Go-Go,” 1998) and   Холмы без меня   (“Hills without Me,” 1996). In 2008, he was the editor of a major anthology of modern Russian poetry in Latvia, entitled Современная русская поэзия Латвии , which compiles the works of Latvia’s Russian poets from 1995 to the present.

Sergei Timofeyev

Born in 1970, Timofeyev studied literature at the University of Latvia and currently works at an advertising agency. He is also a D.J., a columnist for the daily newspaper   Diena , and a translator of Latvian poetry into Russian.

Timofeyev is an active member of the Russian-Latvian literary arts group Orbita, and was one of the organizers of the video poetry event “Word in Motion” in Rīga in 2001, 2003, and 2006. Timofeyev continues to create videos of Latvian poetry, produce multimedia works, and participate in international art projects.

Timofeyev has published four collections of poetry in Russian, and his work has appeared in Lithuanian, Estonian, Swedish, English, Dutch, and Italian translations.

Pēteris Cedriņš

Writer and translator Pēteris Cedriņš   was born in Chicago in 1964. He moved to Latvia in 1991, and has taught American literature and translation at the University of Latvia and Daugavpils University. Parts of his prose work   The Penetralium   have been published in England and the U.S. Cedriņš   was   a speechwriter for former Latvian President Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga.

Pauls Bankovskis

Author and journalist Pauls Bankovskis was born in 1973. He has worked as a journalist at   Diena , the largest daily newspaper in Latvia, and is currently a freelance contributor to several magazines and newspapers. Bankovskis’s debuted as an author in 1993; since that time, he has published nine novels and three collections of short stories. His works often engage the myths and legends of Latvian history and explore the realities of life during the Soviet era. Last year, Bankovskis published his first children’s book, co-authored with his daughter. His works have been translated into Finnish, English, Russian, and Lithuanian, and have received three major literary prizes: the   Karogs   Magazine Novel Prize, in 1996, the Gerkens Award, in 2002, and the Baltvilks Award, in 2008.

Sandra Kalniete

Art historian, writer, and politician Sandra Kalniete was born in 1952 in Siberia, where her family had been deported, though they were allowed to return to Latvia in 1957. In the 1980s, Kalniete became involved in the Latvian Freedom Movement. She later served as Latvian Ambassador to France and to Spain, and was the Latvian Foreign Minister from 2002 to 2004. Kalniete has also written two books; her latest work,   Ar balles kurpēm Sibīrijas sniegos   (“With Dance Shoes in Siberian Snows”), is about her family’s time in Siberia, and was translated into Swedish in 2005.

Ira Tepfers

Swedish-Latvian art expert Ira Tepfers was born in Rīga, though her family fled to Sweden at the end of World War II. Tepfers holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from Göteborg University, and has taught at the Department of Art History and Visual Studies for many years. She has also written about contemporary art for several Swedish newspapers and magazines. When Latvia regained independence, in 1991, Tepfers became interested in Latvian art, a subject on which she has since written and lectured.

Liāna Langa

Poet Liāna Langa was born in 1960. She studied philology at the University of Latvia and has worked as a restorer and a teacher. In the early 90s, Langa lived in the U.S., where she studied philosophy and 20 th -century literature. Her poems both confront and seek to compromise with earlier Latvian postwar poetry.

In 1997, Langa debuted with the acclaimed poetry collection   Te debesis, te ciparnīca   (“Now the Sky, Now the Dial”), which won the Latvian Poetry Days Award in 1998. Langa’s second collection,   Iepūt taurītē, Skorpion!   (“Blow the Trumpet, Scorpion!”), published in 2001, received the Annual Prize for Literature and the prize for the year’s most beautiful book. Her third collection,   Antenu burtnīca   (“Antenna Notebook”) won the Latvian Poetry Days Award in 2006.

Uldis Bērziņš

Poet and translator Uldis Bērziņš was born in 1944, and is widely considered the leading translator of poetry working in Latvia today. He translates from the Turkish, Iranian, Persian, and German, as well as from several Scandinavian, Slavic, and Semitic languages. Bērziņš is a member of the Latvian Bible Society and is currently rendering the Koran into Latvian. He debuted as a poet in 1963, but was forcibly silenced by the authorities for many years. He has received several awards for his poetry and translations, which continue to inspire many other writers. His work   Laiks   (“Time”), co-authored with Juris Kronbergs, was published in 1994.

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Aivars Stranga

History professor Aivars Stranga, Dean of the Department of History and Philosophy at the University of Latvia, was born in 1954. Stranga’s specialities are Latvian history from 1918 to 2000; the history of the Jews in the Baltics from the 1400s to the present; and Russian and Soviet foreign policy from 1917 to today. He is chairman of the Latvian History Sub-Commission and vice-chairman of the Center for Jewish Studies. Stranga has written several papers on Latvian-Russian relations and Latvian defense policy in the period from 1991 to 2000.

Ausma Cimdiņa

Literature professor and critic Ausma Cimdiņa was born in 1950 and currently serves as Dean of the Department of Philology and the Arts at the University of Latvia; she is also director of the research institute Feministica Lettica. In her work, Cimdiņa is particularly interested in the history and theory of modern criticism, literary sociology, and feminist epistemology. She has been the editor of several publications and has written three books, including a biography of former Latvian President Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga.

Juris Petraškevičs

Graphic artist Juris Petraškevičs was born in 1953. He has won many prizes for his book designs and illustrations, and solo exhibitions of his work have been organized in Latvia, Norway, Belgium, and France. Petraškevičs is a senior lecturer in graphic design at the Latvian Academy of Art, in Rīga. He has also worked on animated films and designed several coins.

Laima Muktupāvela

Laima Muktupāvela is one of the country’s most popular contemporary writers. Born in Rezekne in 1962, Muktupāvela studied history at the University of Latvia; she has worked various jobs to supplement her income, including as a hospital orderly, a model at the Latvian Academy of Art, an archivist, and a mushroom picker in Ireland.

Muktupāvela began publishing short stories (which have also appeared under the pseudonym “Felikss Baranovskis”) in 1993, but she first achieved renown with the publication of her debut novel,   Šampinjonu Derība   (“The Mushroom Covenant”). In the 1990s, Muktupāvela moved to the countryside and took up farming, though she continues to write for a number of newspapers.

In 2002, Muktupāvela received the Latvian Annual Prize for Literature and an award in the Klucis Short-Play Competition. Her most important works include   BrāliBrāli. Balsu burvji brāļi Kokari   (“BrotherBrother: the Kokars Brothers—Vocal Magicians,” 2008),   Totēmi   (“Totems,” 2007),   Mīla. Benjamiņa   (“Love. Benjamina,” 2005),   and   Cilpa   (“Loop,” 2003).

Guntars Godiņš

Poet and translator Guntars Godiņš was born in 1958 and studied Latvian language and literature at the University of Latvia; he later completed courses on Finnish language and culture at the University of Helsinki.

His first collection of poetry,   Tas nepasacītais   (“That Left Unsaid”), was published in 1985 and was subjected to Soviet state censorship, as was his second collection,   Ar atpakaļejošu datumu   (“Dated Retroactively,” 1989).

The collections of poetry that followed— Ēnu nesējs   (“Shadow Bearer”) and   Nakts saule   (“Nocturnal Sun”)—marked the beginning of a new direction.   Nakts saule   in particular features internal monologues and dialogues expressed in poetic form.
Godiņš is also one of the most prolific translators of Estonian and Finnish works into Latvian, rendering everything from traditional folk songs to contemporary poetry; he has also written many articles on Estonian and Finnish authors. A collection of his poems has been published in Estonian, and other individual poems have been translated into English, French, German, Swedish, Finnish, Russian, and Thai.

Godiņš currently works as the cultural attaché at the Latvian Embassy in Estonia. His latest collection of poetry,   CV , was published earlier this year.

Inga Gaile

The poet Inga Gaile was born in Rīga in 1976 and studied literary theory, criticism, history, and drama at the Latvian Academy of Culture.

Gaile’s poems were first published in 1997. In 1999, she released   Laiks bija iemīlējies   (“Time Had Grown Enamored”), a collection of poems that received Latvia’s Klāvs Elsbergs Award. Her second volume of poetry,   raudāt nedrīkst smieties   (“Cry Not Laugh”) appeared in 2004 and garnered the Anna Dagda Foundation Award and the Ojārs Vācietis Award.

During the summer of 2004, Gaile was Latvia’s International PEN Club resident in Edinburgh, Scotland. She has translated the poems of the Latvian-Russian poets Semyon Hanin, Artur Punte, and Lena Shakure from Russian into Latvian.

Her third collection of poetry,   Kūku Marija   (“Cake Marija”), was published last year and received the Latvian Poetry Days Award.

Inga Ābele

Author, poet, and playwright Inga Ābele was born in Rīga in 1972 and studied at the Latvian Academy of Culture’s Department of Theater and Audiovisual Arts.

In her stories and plays, Ābele has dramatically and expressively portrayed rural and urban life and people. In 2001, her play   Tumšie brieži   (“Dark Deer”) was simultaneously performed by two professional Latvian theaters—the New Rīga Theater and the Valmiera Theater; in 2002, the work was staged by the Stuttgart State Theater, in Germany. Her play   Dzelzszāle   (“Iron Weed”) has been performed in Latvia, Denmark, and Finland.

Ābele’s work   Mīlestības gadi   (“Years of Love”) was included in an Italian anthology of stories entitled   Racconti Senza Dogana. Giovani scrittori per la nuova Europa   (“Stories Without Borders: New Writers For The New Europe”, 2003). The anthology incorporates short stories by young writers from 25 European countries, in both their original language and Italian translation.

Ābele received Latvia’s Annual Prize for Literature for her playwriting in 2003. In 2004, she again received the Annual Prize for Literature, this time for her collection of short fiction   Sniega laika piezīmes   (“Observations in the Time of Snow”).

Ābele’s other works include a collection of poetry,   Nakts pragmatiķe   (“Night Pragmatist”, 2000), a collection of poetic prose,   Atgāzenes stacijas zirgi   (“The Horses of Atgazene Station”, 2006), and two novels,   Paisums   (“High Tide”, 2008) and   Uguns nemodina   (“Fire Will Not Wake You”, 2001).

Gundega Repše

Writer and art historian Gundega Repše was born in Rīga in 1960 and studied art history and theory at the Latvian Academy of Art. Her first work of fiction was published in 1979. In the 1990s, Repše became one of the most prominent authors of contemporary Latvian fiction.

Repše has shared her vivid interest in culture and its processes in her columns and book reviews for the Latvian daily newspaper   Diena . She received the Rainis and Aspazija Foundation Award in 1993 and Latvia’s Annual Prize for Literature in 2000.

Repše has written seven novels:   Bāreņu nams   (“The Orphanage”, 2008),   Vara rati   (“The Copper Cart”, 2006),   Alvas kliedziens   (“The Tin Scream”, 2002),   Īkstīte   (“Thumbelina”, 2000),   Sarkans   (“Red,” 1998),   Ēnu apokrifs (“Shadow Apocrypha”, 1996), and   Ugunszīme   (“Fire Sign”, 1990). Her short stories include “Ludovika zemes” (“Ludovik’s Lands”, 2004), “Šolaiku bestiārijs” (“Bestiary of the Times”, 1994), “Septiņi stāsti par mīlu” (“ Seven Stories About Love”, 1992) , and “Koncerts maniem draugiem pelnu kastē” (“A Concert for My Friends in a Box of Ashes”, 1987).

Repše has also written biographies about a number of prominent Latvians, including the poet Ojārs Vācietis and the painters Līga Purmale, Džemma Skulme, and Kurts Fridrihsons.

Māra Zālīte

Māra Zālīte   is one of Latvia’s most prominent poets, playwrights, essayists, and social activists. Born in Krasnoyarsk, Russia, in 1952 to a family of deportees, Zālīte and her family were allowed to return to her grandfather’s farmhouse in Latvia in 1956.

Zālīte’s first works were published in 1972. After holding various positions at the Latvian Writers Union, she worked as editor-in-chief of the Latvian magazines   Liesma   and   Karogs   from 1989 to 2000. Zālīte   is currently the president of the Latvian Writers Association.

Since the late 1980s, when Latvia experienced its second National Reawakening, Zālīte   has been one of the country’s most influential intellectuals, particularly in the field of culture. She has written librettos for a number of Latvian musicals and rock operas, which have met with great critical and public acclaim.

Zālīte has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Vladimir Mayakovsky Award (Georgia, 1982), the Andrejs Upītis Award (Latvia, 1985), the Ojārs Vācietis Award (Latvia, 1989), the Aspazija Award (Latvia, 1992), the Herder Award (Germany, 1993), the Order of the Three Stars (Latvia, 1995), and the Annual Prize for Literature (Latvia, 2001). She has been an honorary member of the Latvian Academy of Sciences since 1998.

Zālīte has published several volumes of poetry, including   Apkārtne   (“The World Around Me”, 1997),   Debesis, debesis   (“Heaven, Heaven”, 1988),   Nav vārdam vietas   (“No Place for Words”, 1985),   Rīt varbūt   (“Perhaps Tomorrow”, 1979), and   Vakar zaļajā   zālē   (“Yesterday In The Green Grass”, 1977). She has also published numerous plays, many of which have been performed on stage.

A book about Māra Zālīte,   Zīdtārpiņu musināšana   (“Confusing Silkworms”), was written by the Latvian writer Nora Ikstena in 2003.

Ingmāra Balode

Poet and translator Ingmāra Balode was born in 1981 and studied at the Rīga College of Applied Arts and the Latvian Academy of Culture. She currently works as the literary editor of the Internet portal   ¼ Satori , where she regularly publishes her poetry and translations.

Balode debuted in the mid-1990s. Her first collection of poetry,   Ledenes, ar kurām var sagriezt mēli   (“Hard Candy that Can Cut Your Tongue”), was released in 2007.

Balode’s poems have been translated into English, Lithuanian, Ukrainian, Polish, and Czech. Balode specializes in Latvian translations of Polish and English literature, though she has also rendered the works of Czech, Slovak, and Russian authors into Latvian.

Among her most significant publications are the Latvian translations of Polish author Dorota Masłowska’s novel   Wojna polsko-ruska pod flagą biało-czerwoną   (“Snow White and Russian Red”), released in Latvia in 2007, and Hanna Krall’s novel   Zdążyć przed Panem Bogiem   (“Shielding The Flame”), issued in 2005,, as well as her translations of works by Polish poet Adam Zagajewsky and American poet E.E. Cummings.
Balode has participated in a number of international literary events, including the 1 st   World Congress of Translators of Polish Literature, in 2005, and the Prague International Poetry Days, in 2007.

Agnese Krivade

Agnese Krivade was born in 1981 and received a bachelor’s degree in public relations from Vidzeme University College, in Valmiera. Krivade has worked in the fields of journalism, public relations, and advertising. Currently she is a freelance journalist and translator, a culture columnist for the Latvian daily newspaper   Diena , and a literary critic.

Krivade’s poems and stories have been published in various Latvian newspapers and cultural publications, and her fiction has been included in several Latvian short-story anthologies.

Krivade’s first collection of poetry,   Bērnība   (“Childhood”), appeared in 2007. She has participated in a seminar for young writers in Bremen, Germany, and took part in an evening with young Baltic poets during the 2007 Göteborg Book Fair.

Eduards Aivars

Eduards Aivars is the pen name of Poet, writer, and translator Aivars Eipurs. Born in 1956, Eipurs graduated from the Department of Philology at the University of Latvia and obtained a degree in group psychotherapy from the Moreno Institute in Sweden.

Eipurs has worked in various places, including at a school, the Latvian Nature and Monument Protection Association, the Rainis Literature, Art and History Museum, the Anna BRīgadere Museum, as well as for various periodicals. Eipurs has also been employed as an alcohol addition therapist at the Jelgava Drug Treatment Hospital, the press secretary for the Latvian Copyright Agency AKKA/LAA, and a literary consultant at the Latvian Writers Union, where he has been a member since 1992.

Eipurs has been regularly publishing his writing since 1985; he joined the International PEN Club in 1999.

His collection of poetry   Es pagāju   (“I Went”, 2001), won a poetry competition organized by the Latvian Culture Foundation and the Latvian Writers Union and received the Latvian Poetry Days Award.

Eipurs has published several collections of poetry, including   Sāras mīlestība   (“Sara’s Love”, 2008),   Jauns medus   (“New Honey”, 2006),   Vasaras sniegs   (“Summer Snow”, 1999),     (“Yes”, 1996),   Ainava kliedz   (“The Landscape Cries”, 1996), and   Dejas   (“Dances”, 1991). He also translates literary works from Russian, English, French, Spanish, and Italian into Latvian, and a number of his poems have been set to music.

Jānis Rokpelnis

Poet Jānis Rokpelnis   was born in Rīga in 1945 (his father was the poet Fricis Rokpelnis) and studied psychology and philosophy at Leningrad University. He later completed his studies in philosophy and education at the University of Latvia.

Rokpelnis has worked at the Latvian National Museum of Art, the Rīga Film Studio, and for various literary and cultural publications. He has also been a lecturer at the Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Christian Academy and a poetry consultant at the Latvian Writers Union. In 2004 and 2008, Rokpelnis led a series of poetry workshops.

In addition to his poetry, Rokpelnis has written the scripts for a number of animated films, including   Umurkumurs   (1976) and   Vanadziņš   (“The Little Hawk”,   with Arnolds Burovs, 1978), the libretto for the musical   Meistars Aleksandrs   (“Master Alexander,” 2002), and has translated the works of Aleksandr Blok, Innokenty Annensky, Marina Tsvetayeva, Nikolai Roerich, and Semyon Hanin from Russian into Latvian.

Rokpelnis received the Latvian Poetry Days Award in 1981, the Baltic Assembly Award   in 2000, the Aleksandrs Čaks Prize in 2001, and the Latvian Annual Prize for Literature in 2004.

Throughout his career, Rokpelnis has published many volumes of poetry, including   Vārti   (“The Gate”, 2004),   Klātbūtne   (“Presence”, 1999),   Līme   (“Glue”, 1991),   Vilciens no pilsētas R   (“A Train From the City R.”, 1986),   Rīgas iedzimtais   (“A Native of Rīga”, 1981), and   Zvaigzne, putna ēna un citi   (“A Star, a Shadow of a Bird, and Others”, 1975). He has also written a biography of the Latvian poet Knuts Skujenieks,   Smagi urbjas tinte   (“The Ink Bores Down Heavily”, 2006). This year saw the publication of his first novel,   Virtuālais Fausts   (“Virtual Faust”).

Velta Sniķere

Poet Velta Sniķere was born in 1920 and studied philosophy at the University of Latvia.  She immigrated to Austria in 1944, and settled two years later in London, where she still resides.  For many years, Sniķere was the director of the London Branch of the International PEN Writers in Exile Centre, and also taught courses for yoga teachers..

Ivar Ivask has emphasized that in Velta Sniķere’s lyrical oeuvre, “a mythically magical, ancient Latvian worldview…mines Indian and Indo-European strata of the subconscious.  It’s all very different from what Latvian poets before her saw in the traditions of the [Latvian] folksongs that they borrowed from.”

Sniķere published the joint anthology   Trīs autori   (“Three Authors”), with Dzintars Sodums and Ojārs Jēgens, in Sweden in 1950.  1961 saw the U.S. publication of her collection   Nemitas minamais   (“Continued Divination”).  In 1967, Piesaukšana   (“Incantation”) was published in Denmark .  Two volumes of her selected poems,   Lietu mutes   (“Mouths of Things,” 1991) and   Pietuvoties vārdiem   (“Approaching Words,” 2004), have been published in Latvia.

Juris Rozītis

Playwright and author Juris Rozītis was born in London, in 1951, raised in Australia, and moved to Stockholm in the early 1980s. He earned a doctorate in Baltic languages from Stockholm University, and has acted in and directed many theater productions in the Latvian exile community. Rozītis currently serves as chairman of the Latvian Central Council in Sweden. His novel, Kuņas dēls (“Son of a Bitch”) met with great critical acclaim in Latvia upon its publication, in 1995.

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