What & where:
Place: Music House Harpa, Reykjavik, Iceland
Date: September 10th, 2022
Ticket price: 7500 ISK, incl. light lunch
A day between reality and fantasy, words and pictures, in the world of Tove Jansson
Tove Jansson – the visual artist, writer, poet, playwright and creator of comic series, had the courage that can be seen in her entire production and private life. She created art that continues to inspire writers and artists today.
Together with the invited artists and academics, Gerður Kristný takes the audience on a dizzying visual experience. We can expect discussions about utopia, religion and the meaning of life, queer aspects of Jansson’s literature, the environment and climate crisis and the way Jansson was constantly pushing her art. Guests include Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Margrét Tryggvadóttir, Hilmar Hildar Magnúsarson, Jón Yngvi Jóhannsson, Ragnar Kjartansson, Ármann Jakobsson, Sigríður Guðmarsdóttir, Nanna Hlín Halldórsdóttir, Natania Jansz, Boel Westin, Andri Snaer Magnason and Sophia Jansson. There will also be musical performances by Lauri Porra (Stratovarius) and Emma Klingenberg (Tove Jansson – the lyricist).
11.00 Welcoming words by host Gerður Kristný
11.10 A queer journey into Tove’s literary spaces (in Icelandic)
It is now a widely known fact that Tove Jansson dealt with various kinds of queer life and experience in her work, such as “being different”, same-sex love and affection, and gender fluidity. In this panel, literary scholar Ásta Kristín Benediktsdóttir discusses queerness in Moominvalley and other literary spaces created by Tove with translator and writer Þórdís Gísladóttir, teacher Hildur Ýr Ísberg and queer activist Hilmar Hildar Magnúsarson. Together they seek to answer questions such as: How does this queerness translate into Icelandic? And how does it speak to modern readers of different ages?
Moderator: Ásta Kristín Benediktsdóttir
Panellists: Þórdís Gísladóttir, Hildur Ýr Ísberg, Hilmar Hildar Magnúsarson
12.00 The Utopia and the dream about a better world in the works of Tove Jansson (in Icelandic)
In Tove Jansson’s works, books as well as illustrations, a fascinating world is created where friendship, caring for others and tolerance are central issues. Gerður Kristný talks to Katrín Jakobsdóttir, literary scholar and Prime Minister of Iceland, Margrét Tryggvadóttir, writer, graphic editor and former MP, Jón Yngvi Jóhannsson, lecturer at the University of Iceland, and the artist Ragnar Kjartansson about the sanctuary of imagination in Jansson’s works. Is this world an unattainable utopia, or is this perhaps the world we already live in, seen from a new perspective?
Moderator: Gerður Kristný
Panellists: Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Margrét Tryggvadóttir, Jón Yngvi Jóhannsson, Ragnar Kjartansson (video)
14.00 Facing the Comet: Aesthetics, Religion and Philosophy in Moominvalley (in Icelandic)
The books of Tove Jansson often present their readers with the most difficult questions of meaning and existence. But do they hold any answers? Where should one look for purpose and guidance in a world filled with absurd creatures such as Sniff, the Muskrat and Little My?
Moderator: Haukur Ingvarsson
Panellists: Ármann Jakobsson, Sigríður Guðmarsdóttir, Nanna Hlín Halldórsdóttir
14.55 Coffee break
15.30 Tove Jansson – the lyricist (in English and Swedish)
Emma Klingenberg sings songs from ”Tove Jansson – visdiktaren”, her concert performance of songs with lyrics written by Tove Jansson.
Emma Klingenberg, singer, Kristian Nyman, piano.
16.00 Keeping it fresh and true. Tove Jansson’s search for a new aesthetic in her writing and art (in English)
Like all true artists, Tove Jansson resisted commercial pressure to churn out iterations of the same hugely popular images and stories. Instead, she pushed the boundaries of her practice, constantly discovering and experimenting with artistic techniques while seeking new depth and nuance in her prose. Professor Boel Westin, Tove Jansson’s chosen biographer and friend, and Natania Jansz, publisher of Sort of Books, discuss the many subtle and apparent ways that Tove Jansson edited and transformed her writing and art, carrying her readership and audience with her. They consider the context for these changes and the trusted few who Tove allowed having an influence on her work.
Moderator: Gerður Kristný
Panellists: Natania Jansz, Boel Westin
17.00 Tove Jansson in the world: how children’s fiction addresses the biggest issues (in English)
Tove Jansson wrote the first Moomin book – The Moomins and the Great Flood – at a time of crisis, just at the end of the Second World War. Refugees trekked across Europe, and their presence is reflected in her novel. She returned to a theme in two key Moomin novels, Comet in Moominland and Moominsummer Madness. The Moomins may be a fantasy, but they are very much of the world. Mark Ellingham of Sort Of Books is joined by the bestselling Icelandic author Andri Snaer Magnason to discuss how Tove handled big themes in children’s fiction and how Magnasson follows the same path in his own work, addressing, in particular, the world’s climate crisis.
Moderator: Mark Ellingham
Panellist: Andri Snaer Magnason
18.15 Seasons in Moominvalley
The internationally recognized bassist and composer Lauri Porra has spent the last year composing music inspired by the Moomin stories and illustrations. He performs a selection of this music live together with his musicians.
Lauri Porra, bass, Hanna Hohti, viola, Markus Hohti, cello, Antti Kujanpää, piano, Kasmir Uusitupa, violin.
18.45 Ending words with Sophia Jansson and Gerður Kristný
Queer themes, Moomin music and the latest Tove Jansson research on the Tove Festival in Helsinki – watch videos here!
The Tove Festival in Helsinki featured Tove Jansson academic research, queer themes in her books and Moomin music. Watch the videos here.
One of the themes of the Tovefestival in Helsinki was queer Moomin stories – read highlights and watch the discussion in the video.
Religion might not be the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to Tove Jansson, but if you look closely, you can find biblical images in both the Moomin books…