Photo courtesy Evgenia Levin / Bernardinai.lt
Saulius Šaltenis's career includes working as an editor, playwright, and screenwriter, and writing novels, short stories, and musicals. He helped found the cultural weekly Šiauras Atėnas in 1989 and actively took part in Lithuania's transition to independence. He then served as the Minister of Culture from 1996 to 1999. In 2020, he won the Lithuanian National Prize for his contributions to Lithuanian literature. Read an extract from Bees in the Snow here.
Over the course of his life, Marius Katiliškis (Albinas Marius Vaitkus, 1914–1980), worked on a farm, logged in the forests, built roads, was a librarian in the town of Pasvalys and, after World War II, labored in the steel mills of Chicago. And he wrote. He published his first collection of short stories after emigrating to Germany. His novels Užuovėja, Išėjusiems negrįžti, and other notable works came out in the U.S.
Photo courtesy Nijole Gavelienė
The Lithuanian master of the macabre, Ričardas Gavelis (1950-2002) is best known for his novel Vilnius Poker, first published in English by Open Letter in 2009, and included in the list of Best Translated Books for that year. Gavelis's works include seven novels, five short story collections, and several plays and film scenarios; his work has been translated into English, French, Swedish, Polish and German. Read an extract from his most recently translated novel, The Life of Sun-Tzu in the Sacred City of Vilnius, here.
Jurgis Kunčinas (1947-2002) was born in Alytus, Lithuania and studied German at Vilnius University. An extremely prolific writer and translator, Kunčinas wrote novels, short stories, plays, children’s stories, essays, satires and radio plays. He has won many awards and honors in Lithuania, including an award from the Lithuanian Writers Union for the best novel of the year for Tūla in 1993. His works have been translated into Russian, Italian, Latvian, Swedish, Estonian and German. Read an extract from Tūla here.
Twenty-six years old when his comic novel Frank Kruk raised a firestorm on both sides of the Atlantic, Petras Cvirka (1909-1947) went on to live an equally controversial life. Honored and glorified during the Soviet years, some now see him as a traitor to the Lithuanian nation. But his statue in Vilnius still stands, and many of his books for children are still in print. Read an extract from Frank Kruk here.