Leons Briedis

Leons Briedis, a poet, writer, literature specialist, literary critic, and translator of poetry and prose, was born in the Madona region in 1949. He entered the Department of Latvian Language and Literature at the State University of Latvia in 1968, but was expelled in 1970 for anti-Soviet activities, losing the right to obtain a degree anywhere in the U.S.S.R. In spite of this, Briedis entered the Department of Spanish Language and Literature at Kishinev University in the Moldavian S.S.R. in 1972, which he was forced to leave due to his contacts with Moldavian and Romanian intellectuals. Later, Briedis studied literature at the Maxim Gorky Literary Institute, in Moscow. Briedis has translated poetry and prose from Latin, Russian, Polish, English, Romanian, Swahili, and Albanian, among others. Briedis is the author of many plays, musicals, film scripts, and children’s books; he has written lyrics for almost 150 songs. To date, Briedis has published twenty-eight books of his own work and more than forty translated works. His poetry has been translated into many European languages and published in Russian, Romanian, and Ukrainian editions. Throughout his career, Briedis has worked at various cultural publications in Latvia. He was the editor-in-chief and publisher of the academic journal Kentaurs XXI, which he founded (1992-2010), and the director of the Minerva publishing house. Briedis has received many literary awards both in Latvia and abroad, including the Romanian Writers Union Prize for popularizing Romanian culture in Latvia. Briedis was awarded the Latvian Order of the Three Stars in 1999. In 2010, Briedis received the Ojārs Vācietis Literary Award for his book of poems Mijkrēšļa rokraksts (The Script of Twilight).