Today the annual awards of the Literature Endowment of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia were announced. The award for the best article went to Elle-Mari Talivee, senior researcher at the Under and Tuglas Literature Centre for her article “Ühistransport eesti kirjanduses” (Public Transport in Estonian Literature) (Keel ja Kirjandus 2020, No 6, pp 483–501).

Elle-Mari Talivee wrote the award-winning article at the beginning of last year while working as a visiting researcher at Åbo Akademi. She described her two months in Turku on a research stipend from the project “Public Transport as Public Space in European Cities: Narratives, Experiences and Contradictions (PUTSPACE)” as a pleasant time working on an exciting research topic. “I wrote light-heartedly and happily in the early spring in a friendly Finnish-Swedish university city, and the award makes me even happier.”

Due to the project, a small library on the topic of public transport has been created in Turku, and the University of Turku library holdings include a fair amount of Estonian literature. Talivee writes, “I had books with me, too, that I wanted to read, but even while abroad I found out that Estonian writers can be relied upon – I asked several of them for the files of their books over e-mail”, adding that special thanks go to Aare Olander, who furnished her with materials on Tallinnʼs public transport system. Elle-Mari Talivee has researched the city in literature for some time, and she is convinced that moving around in the city is what creates it: “The real city as well, of course – as a bicycler in Tallinn, the transport question is of vital interests to me.”

Elle-Mari Talivee returned from Turku to Tallinn a few days before the declaration of the state of emergency, and when she thought that there wouldnʼt be much of an opportunity to work on this topic in the near future, she finished her new article about public transport a few weeks later. She has continued researching public transport in literature: recently she finished an overview of the adventures of young Tuglas on the European railroad, which should be published in the Proceedings of the Estonian Road Museum this fall.