Tove in Tokyo

Jansson ConferenceI’ve been sitting on a big piece of news until the details were finalised, but now it can be told. To borrow a line from Vonnegut (that I have often muttered to myself), “Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God.” Whatever you may think about the divine, it is an edict that suits me.

I’m delighted to announce that I’ve been invited to give a keynote at the 20th Anniversary Conference of the Finnish Institute in Japan on Tove Jansson (program details here). It quite bowled me over — and alas, necessitated cancelling my trip to Italy — but as the conference falls during Thanksgiving week, it won’t disrupt my schedule too much. An unexpected chance to visit a new country and talk about a wonderful artist?! Yes, please! Thanks to Kate McLoughlin and Malin Lidström Brock who organised the Oxford Tove conference and edited the volume of essays because that’s how the Institute found me.

My talk will combine the scholarly and the artistic: ‘Improvisation is a beautiful word’: Tove Jansson & Living Art Every Day. Although inspired by the stories in her sort-of-memoir The Sculptor’s Daughter I want to talk about how living art every day can be a revolutionary act.

I want to live up to that, too. My thanks to the dames in the SpeakEasy who reassured me I would be mad to pass up this chance. It’s so exciting! Thanks Miss Wendy for giving me a crash course on how to get the best experience of Japan. So much to learn.

Photo of Tove Jansson: © Moomin Characters™