HELSINGIN SANOMAT international

Culture - Thursday 28.6.2001

Tove Jansson, creator of the Moomins, dies at 86

 Finnish cultural icon made friends around the world

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Professor Tove Jansson, the Finnish authoress and illustrator, died in Helsinki on Wednesday at the age of 86. She had been ill for some time.
   
Jansson's name became familiar to millions of readers young and old all over the world through her Moomintroll books and syndicated cartoon strips, and she has been an icon and a household name for Finns for many decades.
   
The Moomintroll books spread far and wide, translated into more than 30 languages. Her Moomintroll strips were also widely read, and a Finnish-Japanese animation series made for television in the 1990s enjoyed enormous audiences in Finland and abroad, bringing a renaissance of characters that had had their origins in the grey world of post-war Finland.
   
The TV series and a full-length animated feature film about the same characters are also available in video formats, and the new-found popularity of the characters even spawned a theme park in Naantali.

Tove Jansson's work as an author
extended beyond her Moomin creations, but she tended to regard herself first and foremost as an artist, often dismissing her literary offerings as a hobby. She took part in countless exhibitions and had 14 showings of her own paintings and drawings.
   
Jansson received many international awards for her work, including the Pro Finlandia Medal in 1976, the Nils Holgersson Prize in 1953, and the Hans Christian Andersen Medal in 1966.
   
In 1995 she was granted the title of honorary professor, issued by the President of Finland. The current President Tarja Halonen, almost certainly a former reader herself, expressed her condolences at Tove Jansson's passing.

Although she was an intensely private person
, spending her summers for many years on a remote island in the Archipalego with her long-time companion and colleague Tuulikki Pietilš, Tove Jansson never dismissed her huge audience.
   
Quite the opposite, in fact; for as long as she was able, she would reply personally to all enquiries from her readers - by hand.

The full Helsingin Sanomat obituary notice for Tove Jansson will be included in next week's weeklies.

Tove Jansson's publishers Schildts and WSOY have opened a book of condolence, which will be open to the public in the Academic Bookstore in Helsinki from 14.00 on June 28th until Wednesday July 11th.

Links:
 Tove Jansson's publishers, Schildts
 Books and Writers - Tove Jansson 1914-2001
 Virtual Finland website: Tove Jansson


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