Astrid Lindgren is one of Sweden’s most important authors. Her works have been translated into more than 90 languages. She renewed children's literature and combined artistic integrity with commitment to the rights of children and young people. Astrid Lindgren died in 2002 at the age of 94, but her stories will live forever. To honour her memory and to promote interest in children’s and young adult literature around the world, the Swedish government founded an international award in her name, the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award.
The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award is presented every year. The award money is SEK 5 million, making it the largest international children's and young adult literature award in the world. The award total indicates that reading by children and young adults is extremely important. The total is also intended to inspire anyone involved in children's literature.
The award is presented to authors, illustrators, oral storytellers and reading promoters. The award may be presented to a single laureate or to several, regardless of language or nationality.
The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award is administered by the Swedish Arts Council.
An award from the Swedish people to the world
Children’s literature has the ability to encourage understanding and exchange between cultures and people. Children’s and young adult's access to literature is a precondition for democracy and openness. Children’s rights globally is the foundation of our work. The attention of the award leads to more translations and to more children having access to high-quality literature.
In the spirit of Astrid Lindgren
Astrid Lindgren argued in favour of peace and democracy and against all forms of violence. She participated in social debate in speeches and in newspaper articles. Her deeply humanist spirit also permeates her books. The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award is presented to people and organisations working in her tradition safeguarding democratic values.
Children have the right to good, entertaining, innovative, provocative and complex literature. Astrid Lindgren was prominent in the development of children’s literature as an art form. In works such as Mio, My Son and The Brothers Lionheart and of course via the revolutionary Pippi Longstocking, she stretched the limits of children’s literature. The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award rewards artistic activity of the very highest quality.
Literature in the widest sense of the word
Authors receive the award for their entire oeuvre, not for individual works. You do not, however, need to have written a word to be considered. Illustrators and storytellers can also be rewarded. The award may also be presented to persons or organisations working to stimulate reading by children and young adults. Only living persons may receive the award.
How the laureates are chosen
The award laureates are chosen by a jury with broad expertise in international children’s and young adult literature, reading promotion and children’s rights. The 12 members include authors, literary critics, scholars, illustrators and librarians. One member represents Astrid Lindgren's family.
To increase the global aspect, every year the jury chooses institutions and organisations from all over the world invited to nominate candidates for the award. A prerequisit of the nomination bodies is that they have a good overview and knowledge of authors, illustrators, storytellers and reading promotion activities in their countries or language areas.
Invitations to nominate candidates are distributed in January every year. The nominations must have been received by the office by May 15. The jury and previous laureates may also nominate. It is not possible to apply for the literary award. The list of nominated candidates is presentaed at Frankfurt Book Fair in October.
Award presented in beautiful early summer Stockholm
The jury announces the laureate of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award at a press conference after the the final meeting in March. The award is presented in Stockholm at the end of May/beginning of June.