Sonya Hartnetts tacktal vid prisutdelningen 2008

Your Royal Highness Princess Victoria, Minister Adelsohn Liljeroth, ladies and gentlemen:


it is a tremendous honour to have been awarded the 2008 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. For weeks, people have been asking me how it feels to have won such a prize: the answer is it feels crazy, and it feels GREAT. In Australia, books for children and young people often struggle to receive the smallest amount of attention: on behalf of my fellow writers I left at home, I thank you for including us in your generous hearts.

I thank the jury members for your many, many months of reading and discussing the work of so many fine authors, illustrators and literary organisations: reaching a judging decision is never easy, and I commend your patience and perseverance. Thanks to Jenny Lofstrom, Lina Kaberg Stene and Anna Cokorilo, who have spent countless hours organising my journey to be here today: it is certainly the highlight of a 25 year career.

Importantly, I would like to acknowledge and congratulate all the talented, inventive, original and hard-working writers, artists and organisations with whom I shared this year’s nomination list. Before the jury rang to tell me I had won, I had tried to put this prize far out of mind, certain that I would never be chosen above such glittering competition, not in a million years. I am no more deserving than any of them to be standing here today.

Lastly, but most importantly, I would like to thank all the people in this beautiful country who believe that the books they read when they were young enriched their lives; that books are enriching the lives of their own children today; and that, as Astrid Lindgren herself surely believed, books have a duty and the ability to help make a better world. In having the boldness and imagination to support this prize in the name of Astrid Lindgren, you do great honour to her memory and her work, as you honour all those who strive to bring brightness to the lives of the young. You are the people in whom the spirit of Pippi Longstocking still jumps joyously. I will never forget your kindness, and I will always try to live up to the faith you have shown in me. I thank you so much.