Estonian Literature in English Translation
Until the Soviet Union fell apart, of which Estonia had been an involuntary member from 1944 to 1991, translations of Estonian literature into English were confined almost exclusively to Soviet publications, mostly anthologies of stories.
They were mostly published in the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic (ESSR) by the Perioodika publishing house, and first had to get the nihil obstat and imprimatur from the local KGB Cultural Department, that masqueraded under the innocuous acronym VEKSA. Anyway, there must have been some decent, loyal Estonians working at KGB headquarters, people who managed to persuade the authorities to publish certain authors who, even now, are regarded as good ones, e.g. Jaan Kross.
Kross, of course, knew how to make compromises with the powers that be. So one of his stories Wounds appeared in English in 1984. As it was set during the panic that ensued when Baltic Germans were fleeing Estonia to the Third Reich in the late 1930s, and put Germans in a bad light, the KGB okeyed its publication. A safely historical story of his, entitled Four Monologues on the Subject of Saint George was so safely historical that the KGB okeyed that one too (although it was in some way a veiled criticism of Soviet life; Kross was subtle and careful).
Unfortunately, these stories were almost buried alive in anthologies with silly names. Who would have guessed that The Love that Was was a good anthology of 18 Estonian stories in English? Ditto The Sailors' Guardian with a further dozen? Or that The Glade With Life-Giving Water was a similar anthology with stories from all three Baltic republics? One mercifully straightforward title was the 1981 anthology Estonian Short Stories.
Estonia left the Soviet Union in 1991, and joined the EU in 2004. So now it can promote its own literature.
The first two websites to consult are as follows -
The Estonian Literature Information Centre:
And the Estonian Institute which produces a mag in English about Estonian literature:
http://www.einst.ee/literary/ (click on the issue numbers under the femme fatale in the hat [poet Betti Alver]; contents in the scrollable buff-beige left-hand column)
That should give you a pretty good idea about what authors exist, including ones writing right now, anno 2008.
I'll write more about specific authors another time.