Anni Swan – the Queen of Storytelling

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Sirpa Kivilaakso Satukuningatar Anni SwanAtena, 2009

Anni Swan (1875–1958) was a writer, translator and editor of children’s magazines. Her symbolic tales utilise her highly original language of sensory imagery. Swan’s symbolism is rooted in the golden age of Finnish arts at the end of the 19th century. The pre-eminent setting for Swan’s stories is the Finnish forest. Her ‘eco-criticism’ of practices that exploited the natural environment can be seen as radical for her time. Swan is also considered to be the first true writer of books for young people in Finland. Her stories about upper-class characters who overcome obstacles emphasise the class conflicts and other injustices of their day, yet they have remained popular into the 21st century. This book, based on Sirpa Kivilaakso’s doctoral thesis on Swan’s fairy-tale symbolism, presents a biography of the author, with supporting extracts from her books, diary entries and letters.

Anni Swan Medal

A prize for children´s and young people´s books, awarded every three years by IBBY Finland since 1961.

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