Charming and Joyful Ceremony

The ceremony at which this years' laureates received their awards from H.R.H. Crown Princess Victoria was both joyful and atmospheric. Both recipients made a powerful impression on the audience with their moving speeches.

Ryôji Arai referred directly to Astrid Lindgren, stating his intention to continue to create in order to "make Astrid happy…. to make the Children of Noisy Village happy." In honour of the occasion he had composed a special song to Astrid Lindgren, which he himself performed on stage to his own guitar accompaniment.

In his speech, Philip Pullman maintained that telling stories for children was the purest form of narration, since children neither fall for form nor finely-turned formulations. They want to know what happens next, and if a story fails to hold their attention, then quite simply they put it down. Philip Pullman also expressed the hope that he will be able to continue to write stories in the spirit of Astrid Lindgren, whom he praised for her considerable storytelling powers.

Kristina Rennerstedt, Director General of the Swedish National Council for Cultural Affairs, and the Minister for Education and Culture Leif Pagrotsky both spoke about children's right to culture. They stressed the important part that reading plays in children's ability to grow up as enriched and independent citizens, something that is vital to all our futures. 

H.R.H. Crown Princess Victoria presented the award and Minister of Education, Research and Culture, Leif Pagrotsky, celebrated the laureates together with Swedish artists such as: Georg Riedel och Stefan Nilsson, Tommy Körberg, Laleh, Rigmor Gustafsson, Svante Drake, Adolf Fredrik's Music School and the Royal Ballet who performed "Pippi Longstocking". Master of ceremonies was Lill Lindfors.