“The way that Baltzar approaches his topics does not relate to any other Finnish author. As closest examples, one may think of Erskine Caldwell and John Steinbeck."
Erkki Kiviniemi, Uusi Suomi 26.10.1988
Veijo Baltzar is the world's leading Roma author, who has done a life's work for the Roma people. Baltzar’s artistic production comprises over 72 literary works,including novels, plays and musicals, an award-winning film, librettos and TV screenplays.
Baltzar began writing at young age. In his twenties, he fled hunger and travelled to Helsinki, the growing capital of Finland. Soon the young talent was noticed and people began to call him a novelist, although none of his texts had been published.
Baltzar first novel, published at the age of 26, The Burning Road (1968, Brännande väg 1969) was a sensation. It was the first book ever in Finland that was written about the Roma and their culture, seen through the eyes of a Roma. Baltzar's latest novel In Love and War (2008) tell about the forgotten genocide of the Roma in the Second World War. All Baltzar’s novels have been published by Tammi, one of the largest book publisher companies in Finland.
"I experienced my first literary thought at the age of 4 years. We were playing in a sandbox withother children and I noticed that they were building walls out of sand separating thus each other. Ilooked around and realized that adults do exactly the same: building walls and fences around themselves.”
Veijo Baltzar received inspiration and support for his literary career from his mother who was a cultivated person. She guided her children to the world of classical literature. According to Baltzar, his mother, the poorest woman in Savo region, arranged literary meetings with her friend Liisa Peura, the richest woman in Kuopio. Already as a child Veijo Baltzar attended these meetings and got strongly influenced by them.