Liisa Kovala is a Finnish Canadian author and teacher.
Her first book, Surviving Stutthof: My Father’s Memories Behind the Death Gate (Latitude 46, 2017) was shortlisted for a Northern Lit Award and published in Finland under the title Stutthofin selviytyjä (Docendo, 2020).
Her debut novel, Sisu's Winter War (Latitude 46, 2022), received a Literary Creation Project Grant from the Ontario Arts Council.
Liisa is a member of the Writers' Union of Canada, the Canadian Authors Association, and president of the Sudbury Writers' Guild. She earned a graduate certificate in Creative Writing with distinction from Humber School for Writers and a Creative Writing Certificate from the University of Toronto.
Her work is inspired by her Finnish heritage and the northern landscape she calls home. She lives in Sudbury, Ontario with her husband and two adult children.
Photo Credit: Westmount Photography
Liisa Kovala has achieved something extraordinary in telling her father’s remarkable story: she has turned living history into living art. Surviving Stutthof reads like a novel, but there is never any question that it is delivering a universal truth.
It's against this tumultuous backdrop that Liisa Kovala sets her evocative debut novel… In Meri, Kovala builds an irresistible, complex protagonist, exploring love, sacrifice, duty, and memory.
Liisa Kovala writes with tenderness and humanity, evoking the past as a complicated, treasured thing.
Award-winning author of The Horseman's Graves
Award-winning author of Emancipation Day
Debut novelist Liisa Kovala on how the Finnish concept of sisu informed her story of war, family, and Alzheimer's
Open Book, Toronto, December 15, 2022
Just months before the outbreak of the Second World War, the Soviets invaded Finland in a conflict that came to be known as The Winter War. No one expected the small country to survive the Soviet War machine, but the Finnish Army managed to push back the invaders, who suffered heavy and unexpected losses.
Thank you to the Ontario Arts Council for their support of my most recent works-in-progress. Their support of Northern writers allows us to continue sharing our words with you. To learn more about OAC grants, visit https://www.arts.on.ca/.