Literary Musings

A Strange Journey: Tove Jansson and The Moomins

The Moomins (Mumintroll in Swedish) were the most famous creation of Finnish-Swedish author and artist Tove Jannson. Though this beloved creator wrote and illustrated many other works for both children and adults, the names of Tove Jansson and The Moomins will be forever linked.

The family of round, white fairytale creatures — which resemble hippopotamuses first appeared in 1946, and were the central characters in a total of nine novels, four picture books, and a comic strip that ran for more than twenty years.

Although Tove was a prolific illustrator, painter, and writer for adults, the Moomins are her enduring legacy, beloved across Finland and the world, and still hugely popular today. Read More→

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The Impact of the Partition on Amrita Pritam and her Writing

In 2021, The Union Government of India designated Partition Horrors Remembrance Day to be commemorated yearly on August 14. This is a fitting occasion to consider the impact of the India-Pakistan Partition of 1947 on the writings of litterateur/journalist Amrita Pritam, who lived through this horrific time.

For those of us who were born in independent India, there is not much recollection of what happened then, as perhaps our elders were trying to shield us from the sorrows of those times.

It is only through reading books like Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre’s Freedom at Midnight and Amrita Pritam’s works in translation, including her autobiography, The Revenue Stamp , that brought that terrible time alive. Read More→

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On Rereading A Wrinkle in Time: A Fifty-Year View

I gave myself the best holiday present ever: rereading A Wrinkle in Time by our new Christmas tree. Rereading Madeleine L’Engle’s masterpiece was like visiting my oldest and dearest friend. 

A Wrinkle in Time is the book that ignited my reading obsession more than fifty years ago, and for that, I’m forever grateful.

I first experienced A Wrinkle in Time as it was read aloud by my fourth-grade teacher, Ms. Lloyd, at Overland Avenue elementary school. The book had received the Newbery Medal a few years earlier and captured the attention of thousands of elementary school librarians and teachers. Read More→

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Inspiration from Classic Caribbean Women Writers

How can writers reconcile the demands of the social and political moment with the demands of their craft? Caribbean women writers of color offer some models in the way they explore the rich intersection of concerns with gender, race, and colonialism through their work.

Anglophone writers with links to African and indigenous Caribbean cultures as well as to the United States or the United Kingdom (or both) express those connections with language, story, and rhythm.

Following are brief introductions to several classic Caribbean women writers, listed in order of their dates of birth — Rosa Guy, Paule Marshall (shown above), Georgina Herrera, Michelle Cliff, Mahadai Das, and Jean “Binta” Breeze. Read More→

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In Search of Virginia Woolf’s Lighthouse, Godrevy Light

 What is it that makes us long to see what the writers we love once saw? To stand in their footsteps? Do we imagine that some fairy dust will fall from nearby trees or rise from abandoned floorboards to bring us the wisdom or the art that flowed from their fingers to their manuscripts, whether through pens or pencils, typewriter keys, or pixels?

That’s what was on my mind on a visit to Cornwall, England, when I was determined to get to Godrevy Light, the lighthouse that inspired Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse. Read More→

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