Kaur Kender is an Estonian writer, translator and entrepreneur. Have a look at what he had to say to us.
Describe yourself a bit, what kind of a person do you consider yourself to be, what is your view on the world like?
Part-taking-nihilist. I don’t believe that there’s much meaning to anything, nevertheless I still have an itch.
Throughout history, your works have been under limelight since the day they were first published. There are people who support you and wish you well, and there are people who claim that your work shouldn’t even be considered literature. What kind of a writer do you consider yourself to be and where do you find motivation for your literature?
“Throughout history” is boastful. But yes, I am indifferent. I’m obviously one of the most important writers of the 20th century, and for now the most important Estonian writer of the 21st century. A bit like Nietzsche, I break the history. There’s what was before me, and then there’s what comes after me. The point is, writers are not important anymore at all. Therefore, the fact that I’m most important does not say anything. Nobody really reads those poor f*ckers. Everybody who is worth something makes either video games or TV shows
When and how did you come to realisation that being a writer is the job you want to have?
I don’t really consider it a job. I got raw talent, strong skills. In some sense it’s inevitable that when it happens so, you write.
Aside from literature, you also have an interest in music, how big of a role does music have in your life?
I’m executive producer of Beebilõust’s next album “Resotsialiseerumine x Must lipp”. That has taken a chunk of my time over the last six months. But I listen to music a lot. 99% of it is rap.
There aren’t that many straightforward writers in Estonia like yourself. Is it just your writing style or are you as a person also the “just-spit-it-all-out” type of character?
Nobody is as straightforward as I am. Gangsta rap made me do it.
Who are your favorite authors both in Estonia and aborad?
Dashiell Hammeett in the world, Robert Kurvitz in Estonia.
You’ve been sued for writing “Untitled-12” and you are accused of producing child pornography. How would you comment on the book yourself?
It was meant to be a horror story, to be more precise, a scare story, horror story requires something unnatural, a scare story is based more on actually scary things from reality. But it’s not really possible to read it in that way anymore. It has become a fully political thing. The novel depicts a patriotic cash-rich Estonian man for whom, it’s convenient to live in Estonia, with his porn addiction and being a maniac, and who happily f*cks and kills and he faces no consequences. It’s pretty much the same as in the news. All kinds of Varvaras and Darjas and Markuses die and disappear and their bodies are found raped, but nobody gets arrested. UNTiTLED12 is a novel about the ways Estonia works right now.
The society divides in two when commenting on your work, some justify you being sued, others believe that Estonia is limiting the authors’ freedom of speech. What would you say to the people, who dismiss/look past the freedom of speech in The Estonian Republic and prefer accusing you of producing child pornography?
I so don’t give a sh*t about the society. If it was up to the society to decide, then they would have hanged me a long time ago. But luckily it isn’t so. The laws still exist. The smart people are always the minority, which never changes. Most people were satisfied with the way things were during Stalin’s era as well. That’s the way it works nowadays as well.
What else do you do besides writing?
Nihilist.fm, video games
Nihilist.fm is full of youngsters’ articles about drug abuse and weekly parties. Minors write most of the stories. What is your opinion on articles where the key theme is about the role of drugs in juvenile’s everyday life?
I don’t know the writers’ age. I can only confirm that Hardo Pajula who has written a lot about drugs in Nihilist, is definitely an adult. Drugs are everywhere. But you can write about them only on Nihilist.fm. It only makes sense that there are so many stories there.
What is your favourite book in world literature and why?
Dashiell Hammett’s “The Glass Key”. Because it’s the best.
One can find on the Internet, that you are not happy with the social order in Estonia, What would you like to see being changed with our country?
It would be worthwhile to read Nassim Taleb. Anti Fragile. It has the best diagnostics and prognosis on the social order, which I’ve read lately.
You’ve been previously involved with politics, how do you evaluate the political situation Estonia as a bystander?
It’s quite fu*ked up.
What would you say to youngsters who want to write, but are keeping themselves back only because of public opinion and lack of courage?
Don’t write in Estonian, for God’s sake. With every year there are less and less Estonians who can read in that language. Write in English starting from kindergarten. Nobody knows who is going to be the author of the next Harry Potter. But it’s absolutely certain that it’s not going to be written in Estonian.
Editor: Kärt Mättikas