Tartu City of Literature residency spring 2024


The call is open for writers and translators of Estonian literature from across the world

Call for applications – Tartu City of Literature residency spring 2024


Tartu is the second largest town of Estonia but is widely considered its intellectual capital – vitally significant in developing the educational system, culture, science and literature in the Estonian language. In 2015 Tartu was designated UNESCO City of Literature, further enhancing the vibrant literary scene. Tartu City of Literature residency program aims to increase international exchange and communication, contribute to the mobility of writers and translators, offer a creative and inspiring environment, and provide writers an opportunity to introduce their work to Estonian readers. The programme is open to all writers and translators (translating from Estonian to other languages) from across the world, who meet the criteria described below. The Estonian Literary Society coordinates the residency program in cooperation with the Tartu Department of the Estonian Writers Union and in partnership with various other literary institutions. In 2024 Tartu is the European Capital of Culture – under the title The Arts of Survival the capital of culture programme offers a wide range of events and activities attracting both local and international audiences. You can learn more about the concept and the programme on the website https://tartu2024.ee/en/ From May 6th to 12th the highlight of Tartu City of Literature, the international literary festival Prima Vista will take place; this year the festival is part of the official programme of European Capital of Culture Tartu 2024 and bears the subtitle Futures Better and Worse. While we encourage all writers and translators to apply for the residency call, we are this time particularly interested in applicants who can establish a meaningful connection with the theme of the festival.


This call is for a 2-month residency period April-May 2024. One applicant will be selected. The deadline for applications is February 20th.  The results will be announced by March 4th at the latest. The announcement will be published on Tartu City of Literature website and Facebook page.


What we offer:


  • 2-month stay at the Karl Ristikivi residency apartment


  • A scholarship of 600 euros per month


  • Compensation for travel costs to and from Tartu up to 350 euros


  • An opportunity to get engaged in the cultural scene of Tartu and to perform at different events, including Tartu International Literary Festival Prima Vista taking place May 6th-12th 2024


  • A contact person who is responsible for making arrangements for performances, meetings and tours and helps to engage in the local literary life


How to apply:


  • Fill in the online application form available HERE


  • Please upload a fragment (up to 5 pages) of a published text (in Estonian or English) or a fragment of a published translation (from Estonian into another language) in the respective section of the form




  • Upper intermediate level of spoken English


  • At least one published book (fiction or non-fiction), screenplay, theatre script or translation from Estonian into another language by the applicant


  • Interest in Estonian culture and literature


  • Readiness to participate in the local literary life, including events, meetings, interviews, and festivals.


  • Literary work during the residency.


  • You cannot be currently a resident of Estonia.


Selection process


The resident will be selected by a committee of 4 consisting of the representatives of the Estonian Literary Society (coordinating organisation of Tartu City of Literature), the Tartu Department of the Estonian Writers Union, the Estonian Literary Museum and the Karl Ristikivi Society.


About the residency apartment


The residents will be accommodated in the former Karl Ristikivi Museum. Karl Ristikivi (1912–1977) was a renowned Estonian writer whose works are considered among the core texts of 20th-century Estonian prose. The apartment, owned by the City of Tartu and managed by the Estonian Literary Society, was his last residence in Estonia before his exile in Sweden in 1943. The historical atmosphere of the apartment has been preserved but all modern facilities are available. The gas-heated apartment (bedroom, living room, kitchen, bathroom and an exhibition room dedicated to Ristikivi) is on the first floor of the two-story house in a quiet residential district not far from the city centre. The administrative support (guidelines for using the facilities in the apartment, providing extra facilities if needed etc.) will be offered by the Estonian Literary Society.


Frequently asked questions


Q: How strict is the length and schedule of the residency - do I need to arrive on April 1st and leave exactly 2 months later?
A: While the residency should be around 2 months there is some flexibility in scheduling; arriving a few days later or departing a few days earlier wouldn’t be a problem.


Q: Do I have to be in Tartu the whole time or can I travel to other places in Estonia?
A: We encourage discovering the whole country so you can spend some time travelling around or staying in other cities; unfortunately, we cannot cover the costs of travelling to other places.


Q: Can I come with my partner or family?
A: The apartment is big enough to accommodate a family. Although residency projects are often a way of getting some rest from everyday matters, we completely understand if you choose to come with your partner or family or have them visit for some time. Please note however that we only provide the reimbursement of travel expenses to the residents.


Additional information:


Marja Unt
Estonian Literary Society/Tartu UNESCO City of Literature focal point