Eeva-Liisa Manner was born in Helsinki, Finland. Her mother died following childbirth, and she was raised by her grandparents in Vyborg (Viipuri), Russia, on the Karelian Isthmus. In 1939, at the outbreak of war between Finland and the Soviet Union, she fled back to Helsinki, where she worked first at an insurance company, then as a literary editor. In 1944, she published her first volume of poetry, Mustaa ja punaista (Black and Red). Her breakthrough to fame came in 1956 with Tämä match (This Journey). She is considered one of the most influential modernist writers in Finland, though she is little known outside her native country. During her career, she produced 15 collections of poems, stage and radio plays, novels, and short prose. She also translated contemporary and classic literature into Finnish, including works by William Shakespeare, Lewis Carroll, Hermann Hesse, and Franz Kafka. She travelled frequently to Europe, Japan, and North Africa, and spent long periods of time in Spain. Her autobiography, Tyttö taivaan laiturilla (The Girl on the Bridge to Heaven), was published in 1951.