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 passed away 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 has founded an international prize in her name, the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award.
The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award is presented every year. The award total is SEK 5 million, making it the biggest 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 those involved in this field.
The award is presented to authors, illustrators, oral storytellers and those active in reading promotion work. The award may be presented to a single recipient or to several, regardless of language or nationality.
The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award is administered by the Swedish Arts Council.
An award by the Swedish people to the world
Children’s literature has the ability to boost understanding and exchange between cultures and people. Children’s and young adult's access to literature is a precondition for democracy and openness. The award is designed to strengthen children’s rights at a global level. The attention garnered by 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 as a creator of public opinion 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 who work in her tradition and safeguard 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. However, you do not need to have written a word to be considered. Illustrators and storytellers can also be awarded. 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 award winners are chosen
The award recipients 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 and scholars, illustrators and librarians. One member represents Astrid Lindgren's family.
To enhance the global aspect, every year the jury chooses institutions and organisations from around the world who may nominate candidates for the award. A common feature 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 sent out in January every year. The nominations must have been received by the office by 15 May. The jury may make supplementary nominations. It is not possible to apply for the literary award.
Award presented when Sweden is at its most beautiful
The jury announces the recipient of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award in connection with its final meeting in March. The award is presented in Stockholm at the end of May, when Sweden is at its most beautiful.