Maria came to Norway as an asylum seeker with her family in 2002, at the age of 16. After being denied refugee status, her family went into hiding. Maria published the controversial book, 'Illegally Norwegian,' in 2010 and was subsequently deported to Russia. Maria was named 'Norwegian of the Year' by the magazine Ny Tid for her bravery in broaching the difficult discussion of immigrant rights in Norway.
Since then, Maria lived in Krakow as an ICORN Guest Writer and was invited to return to Norway on a work permit in 2011.