Sauter made his literary debut in 1988 in the Estonian magazine Vikerkaar (Rainbow). He sent in a brief prose piece for one-time publication. The editor of the magazine recalls it as "trash", but truly likeable.
Sauter is famous for writing many brief stories seemingly without a beginning or an end. In 1990, he published a collection of them in the book Indigo. This was followed by a bulkier collection titled Loafing. Sauter says that the protagonist in these short pieces is his contemporary and is aging with him. His prose feeds directly on everyday life and he frequently uses spoken and obscene language.
Kõhu valu (Stomachache), a short story by Sauter, has created a great deal of controversy in post-Soviet Estonia. The topic addressed by Stomachache is giving birth. Birth is considered sacred by many Estonians. In light of this opinion, the story is considered crude. The story won the Friedebert Tuglas Short Story Award nevertheless.
Sauter's poem, Lauakõne Eesti Vabariigi aastapäeva puhul kainestusmaja paraskile liiga pikalt istuma jäänud olles (A Short After-Dinner Speech on the Occasion of the Anniversary of the Republic of Estonia, Having Remained Sitting on the Privy Seat at the Sobering Centre for Too Long), from 1998 is also considered controversial. It also takes a serious topic (this time, the 80th anniversary of Estonia's independence) and addresses it with humor.
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