Eivor Martinus 1943-2023

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The author and translator Eivor Martinus (née Olausson) died on 22 March 2023, after a long illness, at the age of 79 years and 11 months.

Eivor grew up in Gothenburg and began English studies at the University of Gothenburg in 1962. Shortly afterwards, she met the English director Derek Martinus, whom she married in 1963. The couple moved to Central Africa, where their eldest daughter was born. They settled in London, where Derek Martinus directed several seasons of the iconic television series Doctor Who, Z-Cars and Blake's 7.

Throughout the 1960s, Eivor wrote about theatre for Göteborgs-Tidningen and Swedish Radio, and published several short stories. She debuted with a youth novel in 1971, followed by four more novels, seven biographies and non-fiction books, and four of her own plays that were staged in England. Eivor wrote in Swedish and English and was a founder member of the Swedish-English Literary Translators’ Association, which she chaired for 15 years.

Her most outstanding cultural achievement, however, consists of a large number of translations of classic Swedish plays into English, which have been both published and performed in theatres in England and the USA and as radio theatre on the BBC. Several of these were directed by her husband, Derek. Eivor became a Strindberg specialist (15 plays and a biography) and has written about the women in Strindberg's life. She has also written about the medieval Queen Filippa, Saint Birgitta and a well-known book about her husband's Alzheimer’s. Her final book was a reflection on the nature of holiness. She was an active member of the Anglo- Swedish Society for a great part of her life, where she served on the Council and gave talks. Her last talk for the Society, in November 2021, was based on her book In the Shadow of a Saint, about Saint Birgitta's daughter Katarina.

Alongside writing, Eivor taught Swedish at the prestigious Southbank International School in London for over 30 years and spread interest in Swedish literature to several generations of London Swedes. Her work has been recognised several times by Sveriges Författarförbund and, most recently, by the Swedish Embassy. In her later years, Eivor divided her time between London and Blekinge, Sweden. She is survived by her daughters Charlotta and Pia Martinus and grandchildren Alex, Adam and Joanna.

Photograph by Ruth Buitenhuis - Eget arbete, CC BY-SA 4.0