Tove Jansson

Tove Jansson
The Moomins
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TOVE JANSSON (1914-2001) grew up in Helsinki as the oldest child of artist Signe Hammarsten Jansson and sculptor Viktor Jansson. In her auto-biographical novel The Sculptor's Daughter Tove Jansson recreates the both bourgeois and bohemian atmosphere of her secure yet adventurous childhood, which was so important for the books she was to write. She studied to be an artist and illustrator, but at an early age she also turned to writing, and in the Moomin books she achieved a perfect balance between text and illustrations. The first Moomin book, The Little Trolls and the Great Flood (1945), is the story of Moominmamma and Moomintroll's search for Moominpappa. After many hardships and adventures the family is at last reunited in an idyllic valley. In the eight books that followed, from Comet in Moominland 1946 to Moominvalley in November 1970, the Moomin valley remains the centre of the family's life. Adventures, catastrophes and partings are recurring themes, but ultimately the family is always reunited and the idyll remains.

Around this family in the valley, with Moominmamma as it´s natural centre, a great variety of characters slowly gather: Snork Maiden and Sniff, Snufkin and Little My, fillyjonks, hattifatteners and hemulens, all with their own personality and philosophy of life. In this Moomin-world Tove Jansson has created an autonomous universe of her own, a world both enchanting and inspiring for young and old.

Finn Family Moomintroll became Tove Janssons real breakthrough as an author of children's books. It was quickly translated into English and so began the international success of the Moomin books. They have now been translated into 34 languages: Bulgarian, Chinese, Corean, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Esperanto, Esthonian, Faroese, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Icelandic, Italian, Japanese, Lettish, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Persian, Polish, Portugese, Russian, Saamish, Slovacian, Slovenian, Spanish, Ukranian, Welsh, Hungerian and Thai.

The Moomin books have also been dramatized for different media: theatre, opera, film, radio and TV. The latest is the Japanese animated tv-series in 52 instalments.

Tove Jansson received much recognition for her work as an author: among others the the Nils Holgersson plaquette 1953, the Hans Christian Andersen medal 1966, the Mårbacka Prize 1977, the Prize of the Swedish Academy 1972, the Pro Finlandia medal 1976, The American-Scandinavian Foundations price 1996.

Read an obituary of Tove Jansson in The Guardian.

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