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When Laila Hirvisaari was 3 years old, her father Aarne died in the Continuation War between Finland and the Soviet Union, so she has no memories of him. After the war, she and her family were evacuated first to Lappeenranta and later to the western part of Finland.
In 1958 Laila Hirvisaari married Heikki Hietamies who has later also become a well-known Finnish author. He is also known for competing in the Tangomarkkinat ('Tango fair'), a respected tango competition. By the marriage, Laila Hirvisaari became Laila Hietamies.
Laila Hietamies's first novel Lehmusten kaupunki ('City of the Lindens') was published in 1972 and started a series of novels about Lappeenranta, of which the seventh part was published 2004. Hietamies has written many other novel series, mostly telling about Karelia and the consequences of the wars of Finland in the 1940s. She has written also books about a Russian princess Sonja at the time of the Russian Revolution.
December 9, 2004 Laila Hietamies, along with her three cousins, changed her name back to the maiden name Hirvisaari, and from that on her books are being published under the name of Laila Hirvisaari.
Laila Hirvisaari has been granted many respected literature awards but never the most respected, Finlandia Prize.
Laila Hirvisaari has written 34 novels and lots of short stories and plays. A movie has been filmed based on Hirvisaari's novel Hylätyt talot, autiot pihat ('Abandoned houses, empty yards') 2000. Five of her books have been translated into other languages:
- Myrskypilvet (Tormpilved), Estonian, Eesti Raamat 1996
- Satakielimetsä (Ööbikusali), Estonian, Eesti Raamat 1998
- Sonja (Sonja), Estonian, Eesti Raamat 1995, translator Debora Vaarandi
- Valkoakaasiat (Valged Akaatsiad), Eesti Raamat 1996, translator Debora Vaarandi
- Vienan punainen kuu (Red Moon over White Sea), English, Aspasia Books/Canada 2000, translator Börje Vähämäki
- Viktoria (Victoria), Estonian, Eesti Raamat 1999, translator Anne Karu
- (30 September 2008). Laila Hirvisaaren teoksia myyty yli 4 miljoonaa kappaletta, Otava (in Finnish)
- Media related to Laila Hirvisaari at Wikimedia Commons