8 October 1984|
Tallinn, Harju County, Estonia
|Occupation||Novelist and video game developer|
|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.
Early life and musical career
Kuvritz is the son of artists Raoul Kurvitz and Lilian Mosolainen. In 2001 he became the lyricist and lead singer of progressive rock band Ultramelanhool., inspired by Estonian bands Metro Luminal and Vennaskond. To date, they have released two albums, Must apelsin (Black Orange) and Materjal (Material), in 2004 and 2008 respectively. 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, and released on the internet for free. A third album, Fantastika was announced on the ZA/UM website in May 2011, but it has yet to materialize.
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.
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, with literary theorist Johanna Ross highlighting it as one of the few books to successfully bridge the science fiction and "literature proper".
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.
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.