Midsummer Drinks with Tove Jansson

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Image: Fenton House apple orchard

The School of Life organises
a conversation and drinks event to celebrate Tove Jansson's adult literature and the Finnish midsummer festival in a central London apple orchard on 18 June.

One summer the author Esther Freud went to stay on the remote island in the Gulf of Finland where the artist and writer Tove Jansson had lived and worked. As she dug deeper into solitude she began to find her awareness of the light, air and water becoming more magical and vivid. She learnt how, at midsummer, islanders paddle over the sea all night to celebrate with each other. She was startled by the intense joy that those who endure the darkest winters take in the lightest nights. The experience was vastly different from midsummer back home in London, where it passes almost unnoticed.

This event is a celebration of the near-forgotten festival of midsummer, inspired by Jansson's The Summer Book, a deeply unsentimental life-affirming story of love, youth, age, light, sea and storms. Freud will reflect on her experiences on the island and her favourite themes in Jansson's writing. She will lead us to explore a menu of conversation ideas with our fellow guests. We will drink Finnish cocktails and wander through what has to be the most hidden and remote garden orchard in central London.

Esther Freud is a leading British author whose five novels include Hideous Kinky (1992), made into a film with Kate Winslet. Hermione Eyre describes her most recent novel, Lucky Break (2011), as
"a marvellously truthful, sensitive portrait", adding that "Freud's close observation is lovely". Freud's foreword to the English edition of Jansson's The Summer Book is a glorious and profound tribute to one of her favourite writers.

Tove Jansson (1914–2001) was a Finnish artist and author best known for her Moomin series. In later life she began writing for adults, increasingly bringing her an enormous international following.

Fenton House is in Hampstead, central London. It is a remarkably unchanged seventeenth-century merchant's house, garden and orchard managed by the National Trust.

The event is organised by The School of Life. The School of Life offers a variety of programmes and services concerned with how to live wisely and well. This event is supported by the Finnish Institute.

The ticket price includes two drinks and a choice of canapés. Fenton House is on Hampstead Grove, which is a five-minute walk from Hampstead Tube station.

Esther Freud Hosts Midsummer Drinks With Tove Jansson
Monday 18 June 2012 7–9 pm
Fenton House, Hampstead Grove, Hampstead, London NW3 6SP
Tickets £19.00. Book your tickets here.