Silja Koivisto

Silja Koivisto (b. 1977) is a Helsinki-based editor. HILDA is her narrative non-fiction about the mystery of her great-great aunt, Hilda Hakkarainen, who had been shot in a restaurant in the Finnish port town of Kotka in the summer of 1939. Knowing nothing of her aunt’s story, gradually joining up the dots of Hilda’s life as a prostitute in Kotka intrigued Koivisto. It required extensive snooping through archives, ingenuity, the courage to call strangers, and ask odd questions to build a picture of the attitudes to the women who plied their trade in the port towns and who didn’t confirm to societal norms of the time. The fates of Hilda Hakkarainen and the other sex workers of Kotka moved Koivisto, who received critical acclaim and commercial success for this fascinating book.

Author portrait (c) Laura Malmivaara.