Talvio, Maila

Maila Talvio (originally Maria Winter), born 1871 in Helsinki, was a daughter of clergyman Adolf Magnus Winter. The family had nine children. She lost her father when she was only nine years old. Anyhow her mother guaranteed her a good education. In 1898 she married a scholar of Slavic linguistics J. J. Mikkola (1866-1946). As a couple they travelled a lot. The Baltic countries were especially close to them. In 1910’s they participated in campaigns against then deadly disease, tuberculosis. Talvio’s novel Ne 45 000 (1932, Those 45 000) deals with the subject.

She wrote and translated under the name Maila Talvio. She published nearly fifty works including novels, short stories, plays, speeches, non-fiction. Her trilogy Itämeren tytär (1929-1936, Daughter of the Baltic) tells about the history of Old Helsinki.

Talvio also translated a lot, nearly fourty works. Besides H. C. Andersen’s fairy tales, she also translated Maurice Maeterlinck’s fantasy play L’Oiseau bleu (Lintu sininen 1913). Her translations include even nine novels by Polish writer Henryk Sienkiewicz, Henrik Ibsen’s Et Dukkehjem (Nukkekoti 1913), works by Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson, Carl Blink and Ivan Turgenev.

Maila Talvio is said to have been a controversial person. Her sympathies for German culture and her contacts with Nazi Germany damaged partly her reputation. She died in 1951.

In the 1980´s there rose a new interest in her writings. In Helsinki there is a park carrying her name and ”The Daughter of the Baltic”-memorial by Laila Pullinen.