Sten Hankewitz was born on April 16th, 1979, in Tallinn, Estonia, a tiny northern European country that, at the time, was occupied by the Soviet Union.
Growing up in the communist dictatorship that President Ronald Reagan once called an evil empire, helped mold Sten’s character and shape him into the man he grew up to be. He learned at quite an early age that life without liberty, without freedom to think for oneself isn’t really a life worth living. Thus, he became a staunch anti-communist, cherishing every aspect of the freedom the 1990ies brought to his native country and the entire Eastern Europe.
While in high school, he studied languages and literature and in college, he majored in law. But Sten was never to become a lawyer; instead, he got a job as a reporter at the largest business newspaper in Estonia and started to fight for democracy, open markets and freedom of speech as a journalist. Rising through the ranks at double speed, by the age of 22, he was the head of the online department of one of the major newspapers in the country, and by the time he was 28, Sten was leading a start-up news portal as editor-in-chief.
In 2008, Sten Hankewitz moved to London, the capital of what he nostalgically still likes to call the British Empire. He worked as an editor at Roubini Global Economics, a research company founded by Dr. Doom Nouriel Roubini himself; and later he was an editor at Alpari UK, a global foreign exchange broker, where he was responsible for the company’s marketing content.
The fall of 2013 brought another change into Sten’s life as he had the opportunity to move to the United States, first to Chicago, Illinois, and later to San Ramon, California. Moving to America was his dream come true—ever since he was a little boy, every since he saw his first episode of MacGyver, he had dreamed of living in the land of the free and the home of the brave. America had always been the country he wanted to live in—the beacon of freedom, the paradise of individual rights, the only place in the world where people’s right to freedom of speech and belief cannot ever be infringed.
As he put it in a recent interview to Estonian World: ‘[America is s]omething of Margaret Thatcher’s dream that no longer exists in Europe, but is very well alive in America: “There is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first. It’s our duty to look after ourselves and then, also to look after our neighbour.” It’s part of the American Dream to be one’s own person, to look after and to take responsibility for oneself first and foremost. This is something I really admire; one of the most important factors – in addition to guaranteed freedom of speech – that makes me love America.’
America has also helped Sten open up in his writing. After all, he wrote and published his debut novel, “Catch the Harpy,” in the U.S. So he can truthfully say he’s an American author. Both of which he always desired to be—an American, and an author.