Tartu International Literary Festival Prima Vista

Tartu International Literary Festival Prima Vista
Photo: kirjandusfestival.tartu.ee
Prima Vista is an international literary festival that takes place in the Estonian city of Tartu, designated as a European Capital of Culture in 2024. Held annually since 2004, it is widely regarded as one of the most important cultural events in Tartu, and Estonia in general.

Prima vista (or a prima vista) is a musical term of Italian origin that refers to the practice of reading and performing of a piece in a music notation that the performer has not seen or learned before. The term is usually translated into English as “sight-reading”, but its literal translation is “at first sight”, as in “love its first sight”. The organizers of the festival chose such a name because it can mean multiple things in different contexts.

The Tartu International Literary Festival Prima Vista was founded in 2004 as a joint venture of local literary organizations. It has expanded since then, gaining the support of Cultural Endowment of Estonia, the City of Tartu, the University of Tartu, the Estonian Authors’ Society, the Tartu Public Library, various museums, educational and cultural institutions, foreign embassies, bookstores, and many other organizations, institutions, foundations, and venues. Every year, it introduces literary works to an audience of about 10,000 people from all age grounds and backgrounds.

The extensive and diverse program of Prima Vista includes meetings with Estonian and foreign authors, literary competitions, congresses and conferences, creative writing workshops, live performances, film screenings, poetry readings, special events for children, presentations, lectures, tours, poetry slams, award ceremonies, and other exciting events and activities.

In addition to the main program of events, Prima Vista hosts a book fair and an art program. The Prima Vista Book Fair takes place at Town Hall Square; it features several dozen publishers offering their books to the public. It also has a program of events that includes performances, art workshops, and book presentations. The art program of Prima Vista includes various exhibitions held in Tartu during Prima Vista, as well as before and after the festival, from late March until late August.

Over the years, Prima Vista has presented leading authors from Estonia and abroad. Past guests have included Wolf Biermann (Germany), John Cooper Clarke (United Kingdom), Cory Doctorow (Canada), Umberto Eco (Italy), Sofi Oksanen (Finland), Bruce Sterling (United States), Olga Tokarczuk (Poland), Klaus-Peter Wolf (Germany), and many other talented and accomplished authors from different corners of the world.

Every year, the festival team chooses a new theme for the event. Past themes have included “A word becomes action”, “What you read counts”, “Page from the past – page from the future”, “The art of survival”, “Change of course”, “Time flies”, “Capture youth”, “The wild word”, “Beyond the seven lands and the sea”, “Music of the future”, “Far from funny”, “Shadows of a man”, “Small world”, “Game limits”, “The impossible dream”, and “Futures better and worse”.

Prima Vista

Photo: kirjandusfestival.tartu.ee




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