Children's writer Heljo Mänd dies at 94

Heljo Mänd
Heljo Mänd Source: Ülo Josing / ERR

Beloved writer Heljo Mänd died on Sunday, December 6, at the age of 94. She had published over 100 books.

Mänd wrote a lot of poetry, prose, plays intended for children. She also translated children's poetry. At the artistic level, her small children books stood out the most, and she also published a poetry book and novel for adults, daily newspaper Eesti Päevaleht wrote.

Heljo Mänd was born on February 11 in 1926 in eastern Estonia, in the city of Narva.

Among others works, she published the poetry books "Oakene" in 1957, "Pillerpall" in 1973, an anthology "Rohupäike" in 1986, "Keelekiik" in 2007 and "Kassipuu" in 2008, the last two for adults. Her tales "Koer taskus" published in 1967, "Toomas linnupoeg" in 1968, "Miks sa vaikid?" in 1969. Her tale collections "Väikesed võililled" published in 1983, and "Surnute mäss" published in 1991.

Mänd also published a study book "Karu-aabits" in 1971.

In 2016, to mark her 90th birthday, a bench was dedicated to Heljo.

In 2001, Mänd received the V Class Order of Civil Merit, in 2016, she received the Cultural Endowment of Estonia Annual Award for Literature.

Mänd was still actively writing at the beginning of this year. She spent the last months in a nursing hospital.

In 2013, Heljo Mänd told ERR's Menu portal that most of her prototypes were her children and grandchildren.

"Children made me a children's writer. During Soviet times, I couldn't write about social topics; I wouldn't have fitted into the required limits. Children's literature is more uncensored, it was my possibility and my way," Heljo Mänd said.

She considered simplicity as her key to success because it is sincere and free from curses. "Simplicity is the main thing, it's the basis of everything. Love as well. Do your work with love, don't think about fame and money. It is the will to write what creates simplicity. The simplicity behind which lies depth."

She emphasized that the writer needs to relate to children. "Children want tricks, that can't be forgotten." Mänd told Menu that a happy person is someone who is able to see the world through children's' eyes. They tend to see more colors, sincerity and brightness.

In 2016, on her 90th anniversary, she told Vikerraadio morning program that even though she is mainly known as a children's writer, she had started to write more and more poetry for adults. "Every era has its own stories and being. The people who consider me a children's writer or bear granny are not wrong. But I have changed. When I first started writing, I couldn't have written for adults, because it was a time when my prose wouldn't have been appropriate. I was apolitical, now the times are different," she said.


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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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