Scandinavian folklore began as groups of priests collecting stories of local customs and histories, and today their tradition lives on most prominently in the Moomins, created by Tove Jansson in 1945.

These sea-loving, hippopotamus-like creatures have enchanted children for decades with their tales of friendship, bravery, and the importance of home. “I have not wished to philosophise or educate anyone,” said Jansson, “but have amused principally myself with my stories.”

Join Tuula Karjalainen and Philip Ardagh, as they explore how these fanciful Scandinavian tales went on to achieve international recognition as symbols of tolerance and peace, in contrast with the creator’s politically-fuelled background and the beloved characters she created during a time of war.

About The Speakers

Philip Ardagh

Philip Ardagh is the Roald Dahl Funny Prize-winning author and was described as “having invented his own style of storytelling” by Michael Rosen and as “a national treasure” by The Independent. He’s written over 100 books, been translated into around 40 languages.

Tuula Karjalainen

Dr Tuula Karjalainen is a Finnish art historian and non-fiction writer who has previously worked as a director of the Helsinki Art Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma in Helsinki. She is also the author of Tove Jansson’s biography and has become an expert on Jansson’s writing and art.