Sanje Publishing

Alma M. Karlin

Alma M. Karlin

Alma M. Karlin was born in 1889 in Celje to a bourgeois family. As such, she spoke and wrote in German, whereas her knowledge of the Slovenian language was limited. She was a talented child and soon showed an interest in music, painting, and, above all, languages. In 1913 she left for London to study languages, which included English, French, Latin, Italian, Norwegian, Danish, Finish, Russian and Spanish, and later also Persian, Chinese and Japanese. In 1914, being a citizen of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, she was forced to abandon the UK, and retired to Sweden and Norway, and eventually back to Slovenia. After World War II she spent almost a decade travelling over a great part of the world, including South and North America, the Far East, Australia and Oceania. She wrote about her travels for various newspapers and magazines, including the paper of Celje-based Germans Cillier Zeitung, and German newspapers Neue Illustrierte Zeitung and Der deutsche Bergknappe. She was an ethnographer and collector, bringing most of the items collected during her journeys home to Celje, where they are still kept in the Regional museum. On her final travel she visited India and in January 1928 returned to Celje where she lived until her death in 1950.


  • 24 books published

  • 40+ prose works, unpublished and preserved in manuscript, including:

  • Des Nebenfrau des Nabobs (Jenseits der Rasse) – published as feuilleton in a German newspaper
  • Inti-Yo-Intec I., Inti-Yo-Intec II.
  • Ikamiheis I.-III.
  • Irahamitro (Goettliche Leuchte des Landes) – Roman aus der Glanzzeit von Babylon

Her major works – travelogues, novels and ethnological writings were published in the decade following her return. Between 1921 and 1937, 22 books were released by various German, British, Finnish and Swiss publishing houses. Some of the books were reprinted, three of them reaching 80,000 copies, a then unthinkable number, and some were translated into English, French and Finnish. Impressed by Karlin’s workd, Swedish writer and Nobel laureat Selma Lagerlöf proposed her work Laterna smrti for the Nobel prize.