Arno Jundze - „Putekļi smilšu pulkstenī” / Dust in the Hourglass

A naive young man dreams of a romantic future with a door wide-open to endless possibilities, but ends up in the hell of war in Afghanistan where he is forced to do almost anything to salvage any semblance of a future. In this future, however, it will be easier to kill than to love. A Lutheran minister, who is a Gulag survivor, serves only God, because the villagers often avoid even saying hello to him. A talented researcher at the turn of the millenium is dreaming about a career in science, but in order to support his family, he ends up selling tractors. A once famous journalist, now an addict, is excited about having gotten the scoop of his career without realizing that he is being played by the secret service. There are echoes from witch trials, death and love in Paris, a walk into the realm of silence and fragments of overheard phone conversations, secretly copied letters and text messages that the reader has to put together like pieces of a puzzle.

Arno Jundze was born in the town of Jaunpiebalga in 1965. He is a writer and journalist writing on cultural issues. He graduated from the Faculty of Education and received a Ph.D. in philology. He has worked in Latvian television for more than 10 years directing various programs dedicated to culture and literature. He is also the editor-in-chief of LZA Vēstis magazine and the cultural news editor for the Independent Morning Newspaper for Latvia. He has received numerous prizes for both his literary work and work in television. His latest book is entitled Kristofers un Ēnu ordenis (Christopher and the Order of Shadows) which was published by Zvaigzne ABC.

Inga Ābele - „Klūgu mūks” / Wicker Monk

The novel Klūgu mūks (Wicker Monk) is a story about man’s thirst for the heavens, a man who was the first Latgalian priest in Latvia and who also was a pilot, about a man’s heart and senses, about sin and forgiveness. The main protagonist is based on Francis Trasuns, a Catholic priest with a master’s degree in theology, and a noted statesman who worked for the good of society.The 150th anniversary of his birth was in 2014.

Inga Ābele is a writer of prose, drama and poetry who was born in Riga in 1972. She graduated from the Latvian Academy of Culture, Theatre and TV/Drama Department in 2001. Becoming successfully involved in several genres of literature, she has published the short story collections Akas māja (The Well House 1999), Sniega laika piezīmes (Observations in the Time of Snow, 2004), Kamenes un skudras (Ants and Bumblebees, 2010), and the novels Uguns nemodina (Fire Will Not Wake You 2001), Paisums (High Tide, 2008; published in English in 2013), Klūgu mūks (Wicker Monk, 2014), a collection of poetry called Nakts pragmatiķe (The Night Pragmatist, 2000), as well as plays entitled Lugas (Plays, 2003). Inga Ābele has received the Annual Latvian Literature Award for Observations in the Time of Snow (2004) and High Tide (2008), the Baltic Assembly Prize for Literature for High Tide (2008), as well as honoured as a laureate of the literary festival Prose Readings in Latvia (2008, 2009). Translations of her books have been published in Lithuania, Sweden, Denmark, France, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, and the US. Ābele’s short story Ants and Bumblebees was included in the Best European Fiction 2010 prose anthology.

Osvalds Zebris - „Gaiļu kalna ēnā” / In the Shadow of Rooster Hill

1905 was the year which gave Latvians in Riga, Liepāja, Valmiera and other towns in the Baltic provinces of the Russian Empire a feeling there was a chance to live in their own country, an intergrated nation. Fēlikss Cielēns, who was an active participant of the 1905 revolution and later a member of the state parliamentary assembly wrote that: ‘If the popular awakening turned Latvians, once an indrawn ethnos, into a people, the Revolution of 1905 can be said to have turned them from people into a nation.’ The price paid for this transformation was high —repressions were carried out in the form of punitive expeditions that shook the Kurzeme, Vidzeme and Latgale region, leaving ruins of homesteads and thousands of devastated families and shattered lives in their wake. (..) Rūdolfs Reiznieks, the son of a peasant and recently a teacher’s assistant, arrives in Riga for Christmas of 1906 hoping to redeem his sins, make peace with himself, and shed the shackles of guilt he feels burdened by for a crime he committed in the turmoil of 1905. Having aimed and fired a gunshot above his head and accidently hitting a boy, as a man weighed down by his own inner weakness and spinelessness, these memories continue to haunt Rūdolfs and warp his character. A seemingly simple recipe for redemption is born in his mind to make a couple of kids happy. Having escaped a punitive expedition, Rūdolfs breaks into a school he just recently worked in for money, sets it on fire, and returns to Riga.

Born in 1975, Osvalds Zebris is a writer, publicist, and editor for several periodicals. Gaiļu kalna ēnā (In the Shadow of Rooster Hill, 2014) is his third book. The first one, a collection of stories entitled Brīvība tīklos (Freedom in Webs, 2011), received the Annual Latvian Literature Award for Best Debut in 2011. His novel People of the Wooden House was shortlisted for the Annual Latvian Literature Award in 2013.

Pauls Bankovskis - "18" / 18

Pauls Bankovskis’s novel 18 is the third work in the series “We. Latvia. The 20th Century.” Two Latvians, two different periods, with almost a century between them. One of them, in the autumn of 1917, is not entirely sure whether it is worth it for Latvians to attempt and establish their own country. There is still time until November 18th, and his thoughts on it could change, if one could give him an answer to the question “Why?” The second comes upon this same question today. That which seemed already self-evident to many in 1918 suddenly doesn’t seem that way anymore. This is a story about an improbable encounter between these two characters.

Writer Pauls Bankovskis was born in 1973 in Ligatne. He studied glasswork at the Riga Applied Art School. He studied philosophy at the University of Latvia (1992-1996). He has published his prose since 1993. He has worked for the newspaper Diena. Since 2006, Pauls Bankovskis has been working as the director of the publishing house Liepnieks un Rītups and is staff writer of the magazine Rīgas Laiks. He is the author of several published novels, a book for children and three collections of short stories, as well as fiction in periodicals. His central focus is sometimes Latvian history, its myths and legends; sometimes the realities of the recent Soviet years; and sometimes the possibilities of the future, such as in his novel Plāns ledus (Thin Ice). Bankovskis novel Cheka, Bombs and Rock 'n Roll has been translated into Czech and Finnish. In late 2007, Pauls Bankovskis published his first children’s book, Mazgalvīši spēlē mājās (Littleheads Playing Homes), which the author wrote together with his daughter, Anna.
Bankovskis’s works have been translated into English, German, Russian, Finnish, and Lithuanian.