Finnish author Minna Canth
Minna Canth was born Ulrika Wilhelmina Johnsson on March 19, 1844, in Tampere, Finland into a middle-class family. She was studying to be a teacher before she married her teacher Johan Ferdinand Canth in 1865. She assisted him editing the newspaper Keski-Suomi until his death in 1879. When she began writing, Canth was a widow raising her seven children and managing her family drapery shop. As an independent woman, Canth began to host salons in her home for men and women to gather and discuss contemporary literary and social issues.
Canth had a diverse body of written work. She published novels, plays, and short stories. She also wrote as a journalist, usually under the pseudonym "Wilja." Additionally, she translated work by well-known Danish and Norwegian authors into Finnish. Canth was one of the first authors to write in Finnish, the native language of her country. Previously, most Finnish authors had written in Swedish. Canth's writing was considered radical at the time for addressing social issues such as women's rights and labour rights. Her most well-known works are the plays Työmiehen vaimo (The Worker's Wife), which she wrote in 1885 and Anna Liisa, written in 1895.
The first biography of Canth was written in 1906 by Lucina Hagman, a leader of the women's rights movement in Finland. In Finland today her works continue to be performed and studied. She received her own flag day, Minna Canth's Day, on March 19, 2007. She was the first woman to receive her own flag day in Finland, which also happens to be the Finnish Day of Equality.