Maila Talvio was the daughter of a clergyman from mid-Finland. She received an education typical for girls in Helsinki in the 1880s and was active in connection with the issues of abstinence, farming culture, and the Finnish language, also hosting literary salons. She was married to Professor J. J. Mikkola and owing to her impulsive nature, temperament and her interest in young men, was the subject of gossip, anecdotes, and satirical songs. She herself remained silent about her private life.
Maila Talvio, who was influenced by expressionism in the first decades of the twentieth century, published about fifty works between 1895 and 1949. In her works, young, nationally active women are central figures, and the themes of fear of sexuality and maternity are recurrent. She proposes marriage based on friendship as a possible model for the relationship between man and woman. She was also interested in the history of Helsinki in the 1920s. Her writing has since been regarded as outdated, and she was known primarily for her colourful personality.