Jana Egle, born in 1963, is a Latvian poet and prose writer. Her first collection of poems Dzirdēt noklusēto/To Hear the Unsaid was published in 2002. She has been writing prose since 2011. In the 2015 Prose Readings Festival, she received the main prize for her stories Tāds Rudens/ Such Autumn and Aiziet jūriņā/At Sea. Jana has an MA in Pedagogy and has worked in libraries and pre-school education. Besides writing poetry and prose, Egle also sees songwriting as a great part of the literary tradition, and actively participates in the bard movement in Latvia. She writes songs with her own and other poets' lyrics, and since 2011 has been involved in various singer/songwriter festivals. Two of her compositions were included in the songbook Austras draugu dziesmas / The Songs of Austra's Friends, published in 2016.
Svešie jeb Miļeņkij ti moi [Strangers or Milenki ti moi]. Riga: Latvijas Mediji, 2018.
Gaismā [Into the Light]. Riga: Lauku Avīze, 2016.
Dzirdēt noklusēto [To Hear the Unsaid], Riga: LiePa, 2002.
Books to fall for
Into the Light
Into the Light (Gaismā)
Into the Light is Jana Egle’s prose debut. It incldes eight stories whose themes connect with the not-so-sunny moments and aspects of life. Jana Egle brings to light subjects thathave been kept hidden or considered unsuitable for discussion – violence against women, paedophilia, transsexuality. The themes running through this collection are guilt, domestic abuse, helplessness – how these form, how they affect a person’s later behaviour, what effects they have on the direction of one’s life. All eight stories are about family relationships – about brothers, about mothers and daughters, fathers and sons. Each story brings to light secrets or occurrences that are typically hidden and not spoken of in our society.
Into the Light
Rīga, Latvijas Mediji
All rights available
Strangers or Milenkiy ty moy
Strangers or Milenkiy ty moy (Svešie jeb miļenkij ti moi)
Jana Egle’s second collection of short stories, Strangers or Milenkiy ty moy (2018) consists of eight stories named for their protagonists: Margarita, Harold, Alyevtina, Sandris, Theophil, Adrian, Veronika and Carrie. Each narrative is closely connected to the others; this is revealed when reading the stories one after the other, in sequence. Egle has succeeded in incorporating a wider characterization of the period in each story. Through the stories of Margarita, Harold, Sandris, Theophil, Adrian, and Carrie we catch a glimpse of contemporary life; through the story of Alyevtina we are introduced to the harsh realities of the Soviet era; but Veronika’s life story reaches back to events that took place during World War II. The collection could also be regarded as a novel in multiple voices, or an episodic novel.
The underlying thread of the stories is about the relationships between Latvians and Russians, estrangement that can form between people, about the way we are able or unable to form relationships, and about the way that the foreign or unknown can suddenly become familiar and close, or vice versa. Egle herself says: “Strangers or My Darling is about bonds that have been broken. About strangers who in fact are very close, and their fate. No one knows whether estrangement can be reversed and a relationship given new life. Somebody has to have the courage to take the first step to overcome the passage of time, wrongdoings, a sense of guilt.”
Strangers or Milenkiy ty moy
Svešie jeb miļenkij ti moi
All languages available
Interview with Jana Egle // La.lv, 2018 [LV]
Interview with Jana Egle // Internet magazine Punctum.lv, 2017 [LV]
Jana Egle, Gaismā/Into the Light // Internet magazine Satori.lv, 2016 [LV]
Ieva Melgalve, Asaru rulete, review of Strangers or Milenki ti moi // Internet magazine Punctum, 2018 [LV]
Bārbala Simsone, Mūsu debesu DNS, review of Strangers or Milenki ti moi // Diena.lv, 2018 [LV]
Linda Grīnberga, Nāk gaismā tumsa/ Darkness comes to light, review of Into the Light // UbiSunt [LV]
Anda Kuduma, Gaismas apsolījums/ The promise of light, review of Into the Light // Liepājniekiem.lv, 2017 [LV]
Arturs Skutelis, Gaismā izceltā cilvēku tumsa // Internet magazine Punctum, 2017 [LV]
Bārbala Simsone, Slēpto teritoriju revīzija/ Revision of hidden territories, review of Into the Light // Diena.lv, 2017 [LV]
Laura Brokāne, Gaismas slazdā/ Trapped by light, review of Into the Light // Internet magazine Punctum, 2017 [LV]
2016, the Annual Latvian Literature Award, Best Work of Prose for Into the Light
2014, 2016, Prose Readings Festival Award
2015, Prose Readings Festival Award