Toon Tellegen

© Patricia de Groot

Toon Tellegen (1941) is a Dutch poet and children’s author. His stories for children are notable for their humour which also endears them to adults. Tellegen also likes to choose animals who resemble humans or live among them as his protagonists. For example, Teunis (Evening, 1996) talks about an elephant who lives in the world of humans. His collection of stories translated into Estonian features more than a hundred animals, including the squirrel and the ant who have always played an important role in Tellegen’s work. My Dad (Mijn vader, 1994) talks about the father of a little boy from the boy’s perspective, and the father is also the smartest, strongest, most handsome and greatest man in the world. Tellegen has also touched fathers and fatherhood in his  poetry; in his 2006 collection Raptors (Raafvogels), every poem begins with the words “my father”. It is a striking insight into the controversial world of his forebear, a comical and tyrannical, grotesque and compassion-inducing person. You can meet Toon Tellegen on two occasions: at the Estonian Children’s Literature Centre where he is joined by the centre’s head of communications Kadri Naanu, and at the Estonian Writers’ Union when he will talk to translator and publisher Kerti Tergem.

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