On the 9th August 2014 it will mark a hundred years since the birth of Finland's greatest children's writer, Tove Jansson. What makes her the greatest? Well, let me ask you this; how many other Finish writers can you name? None have gained world wide appeal like Tove Jansson, who is famous for her creation of The Moomins. These bizarre hippo-looking creatures evolved from a political cartoon depicting Immanuel Kant. The character was thin with a long nose, devilish tail, and went under the name of 'Snork'. Snork later appeared as another character in the series, but the Moomins grew fatter and cuter. The name 'Moomin' came from Jansson's uncle, who, in an attempt to stop his niece raiding the kitchen, said a 'Moomintroll' lived in the kitchen closet and beathed cold air down people's necks.
Tove Jansson died at the age of 86 in 2001, but is still celebrated the world over. In the run up to her hundredth anniversary, I have seen book shops stocking all kind of related things, from the author's biography, her books, and toys. This is all part of the Tove 100, a worldwide series of events celebrating her life and works.
London is hosting a number of these events in August; in fact Wimbledon's Polka Theatre got a head start, and is currently showing a production of Moominsummer Madness until the 16th August. Take a journey on a floating theatre, where there will be adventure and magical puppetry.
On the 6th August, the Southbank Centre's Book Club will be discussing Jansson's The Summer Book (1972), about the relationship between a young girl and her grandmother. It is a chance to read up on some of Jansson's non-Moomin work.
Finally the Moomin Shop in Covent Garden will be holding fun activities on the 9th & 10th August, which includes readings, concerts, face painting, and theatre.