Leons Briedis (1949 - 2020) was a Latvian poet, novelist, essayist, literary critic and publisher, as well as a translator of various important works of prose and poetry from Latin, Russian, English, Romance languages (such as Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian, Catalan, Rhaeto-Romanic), Swahili, Albanian and other tongues. His work as a translator is rarely paralleled in its amount and impact on Latvian literary culture. Besides the tens of books of poetry and prose of his own, he has also compiled the bulky and impressive Anthology of 20th century Spanish poetry, and is an author of many essays, articles, lyrics for well known songs, librettos, as well as translations of plays staged in theatres across Latvia. Despite many politicised obstacles put in his way to obtain higher education within the Soviet system, he managed to study literature, language and translation related subjects in universities in Latvia and Moldavian Republic, and took the Higher Literary Courses at Maxim Gorky Literature Institute in Moscow, and studied the theory of translation and Africanistics. Because of the Soviet Regime, he also suffered from various pressures preventing or prohibiting his poems from being published. Nonetheless, he has always been a relentless promoter of international literary contacts and ties between poets and translators. Since 1974, he was a member of the Latvian Writers' Union, since 1987, a PEN club member, and is an honorary member of the Academy of Science of Latvia and the Institute of the Philosophy and Sociology of Latvia. He has been the editor-in-chief of many culturally significant publications and newspapers. From 1992 up until 2010, Leons Briedis was running a publishing house “Minerva” he himself founded, and was putting out the Latvian philosophical magazine Kentaurs XXI (altogether 51 issues), an important source among Latvian intellectuals, presented in Munich and Göteborg book fairs, the European Congress of Intellectuals in Paris, and in other significant culture events. Leons Briedis has been nominated for countless honours and awards, and in 2015, received the Annual Latvian Literature Award for lifelong contribution, also, in 2016, his book of poems for children Saputrotā putra [The Ungruelling Gruel] (published by Liels un mazs), got nominated for the Annual Latvian Literature Award, and the prestigious Jānis Baltvilks Prize.
Rondeles [Rondel]. Riga: Pētergailis, 2020.
Melnais akmens, baltās kājas [Black Stone, White Legs]. Riga: Vesta-LK, 2019.
Straujtece [Overfall]. Rīga: Zvaigzne ABC, 2016.
Enģeļu lidlauks [Aerodrome of Angels]. Rīga: Pētergailis, 2014.
Rīta rūsa [Morning Rust]. Rīga: Jānis Roze, 2014.
Mariagrammas. Riga: Neputns, 2013.
Mijkrēšļa rokraksts [Twilight's Handwriting]. Riga: Jāņa Rozes apgāds. 2010.
Neteiksim neko [Let Us Say Nothing]. Riga: Zvaigzne ABC, 2009.
Agrais pavasaris [The Early Spring]. Sonets. Riga: Minerva, 2005.
Neienācis aizeju no katras paradīzes [Never Having Entered, I Leave Each Paradise]. Riga: Minerva, 2004.
Dzedzieda – III. Riga: Minerva, 2000.
Skrandu bruņas [Armour of Shreds]. Riga: Minerva, 2000.
Dzedzieda – II. Riga: Minerva, 1999.
Dzedzieda – I. Riga: Minerva, 1998.
Ziemas vakaros raudos [During Claret Winter Evenings]. Minerva, Riga: 1998.
Dzīvesstāsts un 33 jaunākie dzejoļi [Lifestory and 33 Most Recent Poems]. Riga: Likteņstāsti, 1997.
Bezdibeņa eņģelis [Angel Of Abyss]. Riga: Minerva, 1996.
Negatavā brīvība [The Freedom Half-Won]. Riga: Minerva, 1995.
Svētdiena vidū mūžības [A Sunday Amidst Eternity]. Riga: Sol Vita, 1994.
Saulrieta koks. [The Sunset Tree]. Riga: Teātra anekdotes, 1994.
Gāju dvēselīte [Soul Of Passage]. Riga: Liesma, 1988.
Būtības dārzs [The Garden Of Essence]. Riga: Liesma, 1987.
Pēcjāņi [Post Midsummer Night's Eve]. Riga: Liesma, 1983.
Aizejošais loks [Circle That Departs]. Riga: Liesma, 1981.
Laiks mest ēnu [Time To Cast A Shadow]. Riga: Liesma, 1977.
Liepas koks, zalkša asins [Lime Tree, Grass-Snake's Blood]. Riga: Liesma, 1974.
Saputrotā putra [The Ungruelling Gruel]. Riga: Liels un mazs, 2015
Ar divām bārdām bārdains [Bearded with Two Beards]. Riga: Zvaigzne ABC, 2007.
Sūķītis [The Gnome]. Riga: Zvaigzne ABC, 2004.
Ūsainā puķe [The Whiskered Flower]. Riga: Sprīdītis, 1990.
Mazais, mazītiņais [The Small, The Very Small]. Riga: Liesma, 1986.
Kamēr gliemeža nebija mājās [While The Snail Was Out]. Riga: Sprīdītis, 1984.
Nāriņa [The Little Mermaid]. Riga: Sprīdītis, 1982.
Atjāj zaķis. sarkanbārdis [Here Lopes the Red-Beard Hare]. Riga: Sprīdītis, 1978.
Mūžīgā tagadne [The Eternal Present], in collab. with Marija Briede. 1. vol. 2008.
Vārda laikabiedrs [Coeval of the Word]. Riga: Minerva, 2003.
Nidas. Riga: Minerva, 1982.
Vilcene un atraitnis [The Widower and She-Wolf]. Riga: Dienas Grāmata, 2019.
Asinīs krāsotās ilgas [Yearning Coloured in Blood], Riga: Minerva, 2000.
Books to fall for
The Widower and She-Wolf
The Widower and She-Wolf (Vilcene un atraitnis )
The novel The Widower and She-Wolf belongs to the genre of magical realism. In his first novel, the much loved Latvian poet, Leons Briedis, skilfully blends reality and fantasy, recounting tales of life, love and destiny based on his very personal experience. Describing this novel, some critics have drawn parallels with “The Magic Mountain” by Thomas Mann. In order to recover from the loss of his wife, a widower spends time in the Romanian Carpathian Mountains, spending the night in an abandoned hunters’ cabin. The only living creature to keep him company is a she-wolf he names Forestling. As his consciousness flows in circles, just as memories tend to, he draws comfort from nature - paying attention to every little detail of a plant or animal he comes into contact with. His story is dynamic and full of self-irony, a patchwork of life events and different cultures.
Contact: Dace Sparāne-Freimane, email@example.com
The Widower and She-Wolf
Vilcene un atraitnis
All languages available
Conversation with Leons Briedis // Online magazine Satori, 2016 [LV]
About Russian translation of Leons Briedis' poetry // Latvijas Sabiedriskie Mediji, 2015 [RU]
Conversation with Leons Briedis // Online magazine Satori, 2014 [LV]
Arno Jundze, Palēnām. Četrdesmit gados // Independent Morning Newpaper (NRA), 2014 [LV]
Interview with translators of poetry, Leons Briedis, Knuts Skujenieks and Uldis Bērziņš // Online magazine Satori, 2009 [LV]
Agnieszka Smarzewska. Lights in the fog. Review of the anthology of Latvian poetry "All the birds that are in me..." translated by Olga Wiewióra // Przeglad Baltycki October, 2020 [PL]
Bārbala Simsone, Vīrietis, kurš skrien ar vilkiem, review of The Widower and She-Wolf // Diena.lv, 2019 [LV]
Anthology of the 20th Century Spanish Poetry, transl. Leons Briedis, Egils Plaudis, Knuts Skujenieks // Neputns publishing house, 2014 [EN]
Guntis Berelis, review of The Sunset Tree, and A Sunday Amidst Eternity // Guntis Berelis literary blog, 1995 [LV]
2015, the Annual Latvian Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement
2010, Ojārs Vācietis Literary Prize for Twilight's Handwriting
2004, Latvian Writers' Union Prize for the best book of translated poetry, for translating Eugénio de Andrade's poems
2003, Portugeese Order of Merit (Ordem do Merito Comendador)
1999, the highest honour of the Republic of Latvia – the Order of the Three Stars
1999, Romanian Writers' Union Special Prize
1997, the Award for Social Concord of the Soros Foundation (L. Briedis is one of the initiators of forming the Latvian Association of National Culture Societies and since 1988 actively participates in it.)
1992, prize from the Latvian Culture Ministry for publication of the culturology magazine Grāmata
1991, award from the Writers' Union of Romania
1989, Honorary Diploma of the Romanian Association of Writers
1988, Ojārs Vācietis Prize for his contribution to understanding of contemporary qualities of poetry, life, and society
El mensajero tardio
El mensajero tardio (Dzejas izlase)
Title: El mensajero tardio
Title*: Dzejas izlase
Trifaldi producciones, Spain
Poetry selection in Spanish of Latvian poet Leons Briedis. Introuduction by Alejandro Lopez Andrada.
Kaip visuomet (Pavasaris būs)
Title: Kaip visuomet
Title*: Pavasaris būs
Lithuanian Union of Writers, Lithuania
Selected poetry of contemporary Latvian authors in Lithuanian.
Ord och steg. Lettland diktar
Ord och steg. Lettland diktar (Latvijas dzeja)
Title: Ord och steg. Lettland diktar
Title*: Latvijas dzeja
Poetry from Latvia
Wszystkie ptaki, co we mnie…
Wszystkie ptaki, co we mnie… (Visi putni, kas manī...)
Title: Wszystkie ptaki, co we mnie…
Title*: Visi putni, kas manī...
Warsztaty Kultury, Poland
The authors, the publisher, the translator
Contemporary Latvian Poetry Anthology