In recent years, Moomins creator Tove Janssen has become a queer icon. What her stories capture, says Elizabeth Lovatt, is the importance and joy of choosing your own family.
On the anniversary of Tove Jansson’s first book, The Moomins and the Great Flood, we take a look back on her wartime creations and why they continue to resonate.
We all need a little guidance in life, and who better to turn to than Tove Jansson’s charming family of Moomintrolls and their diverse friends. From the secret to having courage to learning to be patient, here are our favourite life lessons from the Moomins.
Tove Jansson was born in Finland in 1914. She began her career as a cartoonist and went on to write and illustrate many books for adults and children. She drew her first Moomin in the 1930s, just for fun, and in 1945 he became a character in a children's story. Tove became world-famous for her Moomin books, which began with The Moomins and the Great Flood in 1945, closely followed by Comet in Moominland in 1946, Finn Family Moomintroll in 1948 and six more Moomin adventures. During the winter months Tove lived and worked in Helsinki, but in the summertime she stayed on a beautiful remote island in the Gulf of Finland with her long-term partner, the artist Tuulikki Pietilä. Tove Jansson received many prestigious awards during her lifetime, including the international Hans Christian Andersen Medal. She died in 2001, aged eighty-seven.
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