Maillart, Ella

Ella MAILLART (1903-1997), a Swiss writer, journalist, photographer and traveller, was born in Geneva, Switzerland. A youth of skiing, hockey, reading adventure books, and sailing the Mediterranean with Hermine de Saussure (‘Miette’) led to Maillart helming for Switzerland in the 1924 Olympics. After various jobs, including teaching English in Wales, she moved to Belin in 1929 where she met Russian refugees. This inspired a trip to Russia and the Caucuses in 1930, providing material for her first book ‘Among Russian Youth’ (1932). Further trips followed, along the Silk Road, to Turkey, Iran, Turkestan and Manchuria. Maillart travelled across China, east to west, with fellow author and journalist Peter Fleming (1907-1971), and this experience is narrated in ‘Forbidden Journey’ (1937). Maillart spent the second world war in India. See