Winner of the Astrid Lindgren prize announced

Th winner of the world's biggest international children's book award, the Astrid Lindgren Prize, is announced

Illustration by 2013 laureate Isol.
Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award Illustration by 2013 laureate Isol. for press use

Barbro Lindgren
Barbro Lindgren.

The Astrid Lindgren Prize 2014 Laureate.

In 1964, Barbro Lindgren sent a book manuscript to a publishing house, and got a letter back from the editor ... Astrid Lindgren!!

In her letter Astrid Lindgren gave Barbro both praise and criticism. Barbro later said that it taught her more than anything else about writing for children.

Astrid wrote,

I suggest you scrap the chapter called, “At the theatre” because it would only amuse grown-up people who know what theatre is. But since you are writing for children, you must refrain from using the type of humour which only adults can understand.

Here's a first response from our own Julia Eccleshare, who is at the Bologna Book Fair!

Julia eccleshare (@juliaeccleshare)

Barbro Lindgren not present in Bologna to collect her award but great delight from her Swedish publisher at the live/link announcement.

March 25, 2014

The jury have released a description of this year's winner:

"With perfect pitch, she presents to us both playful shenanigans and moments of bright joy, and the inscrutable nature of life and the nearness of death."

Those with shorter memories might remember her Benny series: who can forget the fantastic Benny and the Binky?!

The award takes into account lifelong work by a children's writer. Barbro has been publishing stories since 1965!

Those with long memories might remember her The Wild Baby series of the ‘80s, including The Wild Baby’s Boat Trip and The Wild Baby’s Dog. Hurrah for translation!

Barbro Lindgren is no stranger to awards victories: she won the international Hans Christian Andersen Award in 2004!

Although they share the same surname (and the same love of children's literature!) Barbro is no relation of Astrid Lindgren.

Barbro Lindgren has been informed of her award by the jury via phone-link.

"Is it true?" she asked.

"Yes, it's true!"

Swedish children's writer, Barbro Lindren!!!

And the winner is.....

Larry Lempert, chairman of the 2014 jury, has taken the podium! It's almost time!

Lena Adelsohn Lijeroth, Sweden's Minister for Culture, is giving a speech just before the prize is announced. "In the world of book," she says, "children and young people can travel freely in their imagination."

Awesome fact alert! This year’s award has drawn over 230 nominations from 68 countries!!! Wow!

Check out this fantastic gallery on the work of one previous winner, Shaun Tan. He's best-known for his wordless graphic novel about immigration, The Arrival, and The Red Tree, a beautiful picture book offering a searing insight into depression. Here are some images from an exclusive story he did for us:


OK, so you know just a paltry 3% of books sold in the UK have been translated. But how does that compare to other countries? Well, we have it on good authority that it's 12% in Germany, 24% in Spain and 15% in France. But way out in front, with a whopping 46% of books in translation is ... Poland!

All this week we've been asking for your favourite books in translation and this is why - coming to you live from the National Library of Sweden, it's the Astrid Lindgren prize!

The award was founded by the Swedish government to honour the author of the much-loved Pippi Longstocking books. The what, you say? If you're not familiar with the Pippi Longstocking series, hang your head in shame - and then take a look at this wonderful review by site member Lady Abigail.

The prize aims to promote literature for kids and teens from all over the world, which makes it a properly international award, recognising authors, illustrators and storytellers regardless of language or nationality. There's plenty of kudos attached to winning (as well as a fairly enormous cheque!)

The last laureate, anointed in 2013, was Isol, the Argentinian illustrator, cartoonist, graphic artist, writer, singer and composer. Phew! Her first story, A Dog's Life, is about a little boy who doesn't think he's all that different from his dog. Newer titles are just as inventive. It's Useful to Have a Duck is a story that can be read in two directions with different results. Reading one way you find a story about what a boy can use a duck for; the other way tells you what a duck can use a boy for! Genius!

The 2013 jury said that her books ‘vibrate with energy and explosive emotions’! Take a look at some of her work in our gallery.