Robert Kurvitz

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Robert Kurvitz
Born (1984-10-08) 8 October 1984 (age 33)
Tallinn, Harju County, Estonia
Occupation Novelist and video game developer
Nationality Karelian-Estonian
Period 2000s–present
Genre Science fiction, fantastic realism
Notable works Sacred and Terrible Air

Robert Kurvitz (born October 8, 1984) is a Karelian-Estonian novelist, musician, and cultural critic. He is known as the singer and lyricist of the band Ultramelanhool, and a member of the ZA/UM cultural movement. He has also penned essays, film scripts and cultural criticism. He is currently lead designer at video game company Fortress Occident.[1]

Early life and musical career[edit]

Kuvritz is the son of artists Raoul Kurvitz and Lilian Mosolainen.[2] In 2001 he became the lyricist and lead singer of progressive rock band Ultramelanhool.[3], inspired by Estonian bands Metro Luminal and Vennaskond.[4] To date, they have released two albums, Must apelsin (Black Orange) and Materjal (Material), in 2004 and 2008 respectively.[5] A song from the first album Talvehommik ("Winter Morning") was featured in the Kanal 2 TV series Ühikarotid ("Dorm Rats").

The band failed to find an Estonian publisher for their second album. It was self-published with the money inherited from Kurvitz's long-time friend, editor and collaborator Martin Luiga,[6] and released on the internet for free.[7] A third album, Fantastika was announced on the ZA/UM website in May 2011,[8] but it has yet to materialize.[9]

In 2011 Kurvitz collaborated with Raoul Kurvitz on the album Forbidden to Sing, providing backing vocals and synth.[10] The album was granted the Annual Award of Estonian Cultural Endowment.[11]


Kurvitz largely relies on the traditions of world-building from Dungeons & Dragons in his writing, having played the table-top roleplaying game for much of his life. Others are also involved in the development of ideas. "Mass editing" was employed as a tool in the finishing stage of the book, where people of various backgrounds assessed the readability and realism of the work, pointed out confusing passages and suggested amendments.[12]

In 2013 Kurvitz published the novel Sacred and Terrible Air (Estonian: "Püha ja õudne lõhn"). It is set in a fictional world and centers on three men who, twenty years after the mysterious disappearance of their classmates, are still determined to find them. It received mostly positive reviews[13][14], with literary theorist Johanna Ross highlighting it as one of the few books to successfully bridge the science fiction and "literature proper".[12]

Later that year, Kurvitz resigned from his role as editor of Estonian cultural magazine Sirp when Andres Aule publicly voiced his objections to a poem being published allegedly without his permission; Kurvitz and Kaur Kender assumed responsibility.[15]

In 2016 No True With The Furies, a video game set in the world of the Sacred and Terrible Air, was announced. Kurvitz is lead designer of the game, at newly-founded development company Fortress Occident[16].