Silvia Airik-Priuhka

Non-Fiction Silvia Airik


Silvia Airik-Priuhka (25. I 1926 – 11. II 2014) was an Estonian translator of poetry and author living in exile.

She was born in Tallinn. She attended school at Elfriede Lender’s private Gymnasium, where she matriculated in 1944. In the autumn of the same year she escaped through Finland to Sweden. Silvia Airik-Priuhka worked as a bookkeeper, and later gave English and German language lessons. She was a member of the Swedish Writers’ Union, the Estonian Writers’ Union and its Stockholm branch, and the of PEN Club. In 2007 she was awarded the Swedish Academy’s prize for translation and in 2004 the Order of the White Star.

Silvia Airik-Priuhka began her translating career by translating Estonian poetry into Swedish. Her first translated volume appeared in 1963: Marie Under’s Himlafärd (Taevaminek in Estonian, ‘Journey to Heaven’). Her second volume of Under’s poetry in translation, Eftersken (Järelvalgus in Estonian, ‘Afterlight’) appeared in 1988. A collection that was published in 1983, Våra sånger fick vi med oss (Oma laulud tõime endaga kaasa in Estonian, ‘We brought our songs with us’) contains translations of poems by Koidula, Haava, Under, Heiberg, Alver and others. In 1987 Airik-Priuhka was awarded the Under and Adson Memorial Foundation stipend.

Later Silvia Airik-Priuhka began translating Swedish poetry into Estonian. In Estonia the collections Külakost (‘A Guest’s Gift’, 1994) and Laulan oma Rootsi laulu (‘I Sing My Swedish Song’, 2006) have been published. They represent twenty-four older and younger Swedish authors with a total of sixty-five poems.

In 1983 Airik-Priuhka produced a children’s book in Estonian, Hammarbyhöjdeni Seppe (‘Seppe of Hammarbyhöjden’).

Silvia Airik-Priuhka published several books of autobiographical prose. Her first work in Swedish, Est! Est! Est! (‘Estonian! Estonian! Estonian!’, 1980; Estonian translation with the same title 1998) deals with the first years in Sweden for Estonian refugees. Shards of memory from past times in Estonia are contained in her books Vanaisa hingeke (‘Grandpa’s Soul’, 1992), Ilma nõela pistmata (‘Without a Pinprick’, 1997) and Toonela väraval (‘At the Gates of the Underworld’, 2004). Almost all of Airik-Priuhka’s prose works have been published in Estonia.

L. P. (Translated by C. M.)

Books in Estonian

Ma lillesideme võtsin. Tallinn: Õllu, 1998. 62 lk.

Children’s books
Hammarbyhöjdeni Seppe. Stockholm: Rootsi-Eesti Õpperaamatufond, 1983. 48 lk.

Vanaisa hingeke. Tallinn: Õllu, 1992. 134 lk. [Jutud.]
Ilma nõela pistmata. Tallinn: Õllu, 1997. 135 lk.
Est! Est! Est! Tallinn: Õllu, 1998. 191 lk.

Toonela väraval. Tartu: Ilmamaa, 2004. 98 lk.

Memoirs in Swedish
Est! Est! Est! Stockholm: Välis-Eesti ja EMP, 1980. 207 lk.