Tove Jansson is the writer and illustrator of the Moomin books, a bizarre and wonderful series of children's stories about a trio of little Finnish trolls and their friends and neighbours: good reading for adults tooo, as it's basically about an unconventional but loving family.
Born in 1914, Jansson grew up in Helsinki as the oldest child of an artist/cartoonist and a sculptor. She studied applied arts in Sweden, Finland, Germany, Italy, France and London, and also had something of a career as a painter. She began the Moomin series in 1945 with the tale of The Little Trolls and The Great Flood, and carried on with the tales until 1971. She never married, and spent much of her writing life on a small, remote island off the coast of Finland, where some of her books are set.


Stop press, June 27, 2001: Tove Jansson died today in Helsinki, aged 86, after a long illness. She has no known surviving relatives, but her countless readers will all be very sorry to see her go.