There are several annual literary festivals in Tartu, the biggest and oldest festival, Prima Vista took place for the first time iin 2004

Tartu International Literary Festival Prima Vista

Prima Vista, one of the highlights of the literary scene in Tartu, is an international literature festival taking place annually. The aim of the festival is to promote literature, to enrich cultural life in Estonia and also to introduce foreign literature in order to support the building of cultural bridges between different cultural communities. Since the beginning, the festival has gradually expanded both in duration and space with various literary events taking place in many different places in Tartu city centre during a week. The festival programme includes meetings with writers, book presentations, discussions and lectures, a book fair and Park Library, also concerts and film programmes. The festival features guests from abroad as well as several Estonian writers. Prima Vista has received the EFFE quality label for 2015-2016 and 2018-2019.


Website: https://kirjandusfestival.tartu.ee/en/


Festival Crazy Tartu

Hullunud Tartu/ Crazy Tartu is an international interdisciplinary festival that takes place in November since 2010. The festival, initiated by the Estonian poet Jaan Malin and organised in cooperation with the Estonian Literary Society and the Estonian Writers' Union, brings together writers, poets, musicians and artists from all over Estonia and also from abroad. One of the aims of the festival is to offer to the audience as many unseen or unheard things as possible. This is also one of the reasons why we have chosen different venues for the festival: in 2010 it took place at the former psychoneurological hospital, in 2011 in the old anatomical theatre, in 2012 in the former printing house that houses now the Paper Museum, in 2013 - at the former church of the University of Tartu, in 2014 - at the ouse of Tartu New Theatre. In 2015 the festival took place parallelly with the European Poetry Slam Chamionship at Vilde restaurant and café. In 2016 the venue was the cultural club Geinalistide Klubi, and in 2017 the festival was organised at the culture factory Aparaaditehas. Since 2018 Crazy Tartu has taken place at Tartu Literature House. Every year some musical pieces and works of art are performed here for the first time. The festival aims to enrich the cultural life in Tartu and Estonia by offering a an interesting and concentrated programme as well as an experience almost out of bounds in boundless November.


More information:
Crazy Tartu Facebook page


Tartu Festival of Children's and Youth Literature

The festival was launched in 2017 in cooperation between the Estonian Literary Society, Tartu Public Library and the Association of Estonian Language Teachers. Although big literary festivals such as Prima Vista in Tartu also feature programs for children and youth, this 4-day festival tries to build a bit different profile with the emphasis being on active participation and initiative of children and youth: the program offers various events where the children and youth either participate in the preparation or perform instead of just being the audience. Naturally the program also features meetings with writers both Estonian authors and foreign guests, literary tours and games in the city. The central organising team cooperates closely with schools and teachers to get the students involved. 


Estonian Theatre Festival Draama

Estonian Theatre Festival has been held since 1996. The festival brings to Tartu the best Estonian theatre performances of the last season which also form an artistic whole. An international jury and theatre critics and practitioners who visit the festival voice their opinions about the performances. In addition to the main programme, the festival also offers several performances and additional programmes which explore the theme of the festival. The festival programme often includes impro writing sessions and readings of new plays. Drama festival 2015 consists of five programmes: the annual awards programme, the curated programme Borderline, Baltic Theatre Forum programme, Vaba Lava showcase and the New Dance showcase.


Website: www.draama.ee


Literary programmes at other festivals

Literary walks and poetry readings are also organised during the community festivals Supilinna päevad (Supilinn Days) and Karlova päevad (Karlova Days) and there are literary events in the programmes of several other festivals such as Tartu Love Film Festival tARTuFF and Tartu Hanseatic Days. The author's song festival Mailaul (May Song) has taken place simultaneously with the literary festival Prima Vista and the festivals collaborate closely offering joint events.