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poet, children's writer, translator


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Contra (Margus Konnula, 1974) was born in Urvaste Parish, located in Southern Estonia’s Võru County. He graduated from Antsla Middle School in 1992. After completing his conscription, Contra worked in Urvaste as a mailman and post office chief. He has been a freelance author and scriptwriter since 1999, and a member of the Estonian Writers’ Union since 1997.

Contra is one of Estonia’s most productive contemporary poets. Since his debut in 1995, he has published at least one poetry collection each year. Altogether, he believes he has penned over five thousand original poems. Contra’s writing is strongly rooted in Estonia’s contemporary folk-singing tradition, with gleeful and witty texts that blend the doggerel style with topical issues using masterful locution. Moreover, Contra’s poetry stands out for the frequent use of his native Võru dialect. He is also a popular guest on television, at public events, and in schools. Sport is his second great passion, particularly marathons.

Contra-Koik-on-koige-targemad-2sEveryone’s the Smartest
Everyone’s the Wisest is Contra’s first full-length poetry collection for children, although he has published a wealth of children’s poetry in youth magazines and anthologies earlier. The poems focus primarily on school. Contra’s gently amusing and joyous verses take on familiar topics such as going to and coming home from school, lessons and class breaks, classmates and teachers, learning and teaching.

2020 Republic of Estonia Order of the White Star, Fifth Class
2019 Cross of Recognition, Fifth Class – Bearer of the Order (Latvia)
2015 Good Children’s Book (Everyone’s the Smartest)
2014 Annual Children’s Literature Award of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia (Everyone’s the Smartest)
2014 Karl Eduard Sööt Children’s Poetry Award (Everyone’s the Smartest)
2010 “Järje Hoidja” Award of the Tallinn Central Library (A Boy’s ABCs)

Everyone’s the Smartest
English: Everyone’s the Smartest, Birmingham: The Emma Press 2018
Russian in Estonia: Все мы умники, Tallinn: Bri & Ko 2018

Poetry collections:
Kõik on kõige targemad (Everyone’s the Smartest), Tallinna Keskraamatukogu 2014; Mina Ise 2015, illustrated by Ulla Saar, 80 pp
Poiste aabits (A Boy’s ABCs), Grenader 2010, illustrated by Urmas Nemvalts, 53 pp
Minu jonn (My Stubbornness), Ajakirjade Kirjastus 2006, illustrated by Nestor Ljutjuk, 32 pp
Tähekaardid (Letter Cards), Hotger 2002, illustrated by Kirke Kangro, 32 cards

Presidendi suur saladus (The President’s Big Secret), Mina Ise 2004, illustrated by Urve Puusepp, 106 pp

Collaboration with other authors:
Isa sokk on merekaru (Dad’s Sock is a Sea Dog), Pead 2015, illustrated by Alar Pikkorainen, 88 pp (co-authored by Alar Pikkorainen, Aapo Ilves, and Paul-Eerik Rummo)
Isa sokk on ufonaut (Dad’s Sock is an Alien), IlmaPress 2013, illustrated by Alar Pikkorainen, 88 pp (co-authored by Alar Pikkorainen, Aapo Ilves, and Jaan Pehk)
Isa sokk on matkasell (Dad’s Sock is a Happy Camper), IlmaPress 2012, illustrated by Alar Pikkorainen, 32 pp (co-authored by Alar Pikkorainen, Aapo Ilves, and Jaan Pehk)
Ruttu tuttu!: Eesti isade unejutte (Hush-a-By Baby!: Bedtime Stories by Estonian Fathers), Ajakirjade Kirjastus 2005, illustrated by Jüri Mildeberg, 108 pp