Maria Peura

Original title: Esikoinen

Author: Maria Peura

Published: 2023

Publisher: Otava

Genre: Literary Fiction

Pages: 320

Reading material:

English sample

Finnish manuscript

A heartrending autobiographical novel about one’s own child being placed in an institution and about feeling out of place as a child

The author starts putting together the story of her firstborn child – a child whose ill-being and problematic behavior eventually led to him being placed in a child protection institution. Only now, when everything is okay, does the author dare to put her own distress and guilt into words. “What mistakes did I make? How was I trespassed against and why has my child ended up broken because of me being broken?

Maria Peura’s autobiographical novel is a relentlessly honest and lyrically beautiful depiction of the cycles of trauma, of the effects of violence, and the chance for light and survival.

“FIRSTBORN is a heartrending and elegantly built story. It talks about a mother who has experienced belittling as a child and domestic violence and who now has to relinquish her child into child protection institution. [---] A mother’s love is the core theme of the novel. It is depicted in many forms, in different stages of life and in different directions [---]. It is a personal and intimate novel. In its subject matter, it is a profound and skillful novel. [---] Peura impressively depicts the magnitude and the personal, tearing impact of the events [described in the book].”

– Outi Hytönen, Suomen Kuvalehti magazine

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Rights sold:
FINLAND: Otava (orig.)

About author

Maria Peura

Maria Peura is a prize-winning author and dramaturge. She received the prestigious Young Aleksis Prize and was nominated for the Finlandia Prize for her debut novel Your Love Is Infinite (On rakkautes ääretön) in 2001. It also received the Olvi Foundation Award and the Good Deed for Children Award and was met with critical acclaim in Spain. At the Edge of Light (Valon reunalla) received stellar reviews in Finland, the Czech Republic, and in the UK, where it was published in 2007. Among Peura’s other works is a collection of poetry for children.


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