Skujenieks, born in 1936 in Rīga had a distinguished career as poet, journalist and translator from more than fifteen different languages.
In 1962, he was convicted of anti-Soviet activities, and sentenced to seven years in prison camp in Mordovia, Russia. As a result, his poetic career started only in 1978, aged 42, when his first collection of poems was published.
According to the Latvian Literature platform, "Knuts Skujenieks is regarded as one of the most prominent authors, an idol of many writers and translators of his own and following generations, as well as a key intellectual figure. He is responsible for bringing many of the world classics to the attention of Latvian readership through translations, for instance, works of Walt Whitman, Federico García Lorca, Aleksandar "Aco" Šopov, Tomas Tranströmer, and many other significant authors, but his greatest achievement may be the lifelong and strong commitment to translating poetry of different ethnic groups, nations, cultures, and promoting traditions of folk songs from all around the world."
He was the Latvian PEN for many years, won numerous literary awards and was awarded the The Order of Three Stars in 2008.
Our condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.