Hello there, Anna Höglund

July 8, 2014
Photo: Stefan Tell

Photo: Stefan Tell

Anna Höglund is considered one of Sweden’s leading illustrators. Since July 1 she is member of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award jury.

Tell us about yourself. Who is Anna Höglund?

Born and raised in Stockholm. Five children, one dog, one cat, six chickens and a nice husband.

Never had any time for school and authority figures. Quit school in eighth grade and left home.

Reading, writing and drawing have always been my lifeline. I published my first picture book at the age of 20, thinking it would be a good way to fund my painting career. I was terribly disappointed by the financial outcome, but all I wanted to do after that was to create picture books. For me it’s the ultimate form of expression.

Your latest book, Om detta talar man endast med kaniner (This Is Something You Talk About Only With Rabbits), has attracted a lot of attention and was nominated for the 2013 August Literary Award, among other prizes. It has been described as “one of this year’s boldest and most ambitious Swedish picture books,because it takes the sadness of the young protagonist very seriously, and because it stands out as a picture book about and for teenagers.” How did the book come to be?

I wanted to console a certain 13-year-old. However, as the young person concerned correctly pointed out, it is perhaps mostly about myself. Pictures can sometimes express what lies behind the words.

It can be helpful to tackle subjects that people find it hard to talk about. The way fairytales and dreams do.

Isol, last year’s ALMA recipient, believes that a book actually has two authors: one for the text and one for the pictures. Do you agree?

Yes, when I’m illustrating someone else’s work. But sometimes, when I’m creating my own stories, text and pictures flow together and can’t really be separated.

What will you be reading in your hammock this summer?

Jeanette Winterson’s book about art will last me a long time. I’ll read half a page, let my thoughts wander, have a nap, wake up invigorated and read some more.

Johan Palmberg, great-grandchild of Astrid Lindgren and new member of the jury

July 4, 2014
Johan Palmberg. Photo: Saltkråkan

Johan Palmberg. Photo: Saltkråkan

Johan Palmberg works as a rights agent for Astrid Lindgren’s books and is Astrid Lindgren’s great-grandson. Since July 1 he is member of the jury.

Tell us about yourself. Who is Johan Palmberg?

That’s a tough question – I’m really not all that different from anyone else. Besides what you already know, I’m very much into music. I play mainly piano in a bunch of different settings. Last year I released an EP with the title Pretend, under the name Johan Nyman och Kol- och stålunionen. It was entirely self-produced and isn’t really relevant here. For obvious reasons, I’m also interested in anything to do with children’s arts and culture. This is a product of my family background and upbringing, when there were always so many great books around to pique my interest. Not just Astrid’s own books, but also books that she helped get published when she worked at publishing houses, and books that were sent to her for other reasons. My interest really blossomed when I first joined Saltkråkan in 2009. I’m really looking forward to getting down to work as a jury member!

You recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science. What attracted you to that subject?

The simple answer is that it was the subject I enjoyed most in high school. Above all, I wanted to acquire some practical tools and skills so that I could analyse society and arrive at well-reasoned opinions on a range of issues. What I should have realized is that the more you learn about something, the less certain you become of it – but in any case, I had fun along the way!

Is there a political issue that you studied with particular interest?

I focused on political theory – the least easy-to-grasp branch of political science – and was primarily interested in the question of what could be considered a fair distribution of resources at both national and global level.

You are Astrid Lindgren’s great-grandson. Do you have any special memories of your great-grandmother?

She was getting on a bit when I arrived on the scene, so I don’t really have any memories of playing games, climbing trees and that sort of thing – I’ve just heard about all that from my dad. What I do remember is that she loved to tell stories about the family, and my grandmother would eagerly fill in the details. These stories were often a bit scary and sad. We used to go to Astrid’s house on Dalagatan for Boxing Day dinner every year. I remember how exciting it was for us kids to be given the run of the house, even though all the furnishings were so fine and felt so valuable. She also had the world’s greatest library, an endless source of fascination.

What will you be reading in your hammock this summer?

I’m going to be at work all summer, so won’t have a lot of hammock time, but I’ve just started reading mot.vidare.mot by Johan Jönson and Jakten mot nollpunkten by Carl-Johan de Geer, which will keep me busy for a while. After that, my plan is to read some of the previous laureates to refresh my memory and get an idea of how the jury thinks. And then I hope to make a start on some of this year’s nominees!

Congratulations Tamer Institute celebrating 25 years!

July 1, 2014

 

Reading activities in Gaza during the National Reading Campaign 2014. Photo: Tamer Institute

Reading activities in Gaza during the National Reading Campaign 2014. Photo: Tamer Institute

Non-for profit organisation Tamer Institute for Community Education celebrates it´s 25 anniversary this year, and we send our warmest congratulations. Founded in Ramallah1989, the aim was to give children access to books and alternative learning as children’s and young people’s schooling, leisure time and lives suffered from the troubles in the area. Today, the Tamer Institute is the hub of a network that works with writing workshops, storytelling, drama and literary discussion for children and young people. They supply libraries with children’s books and they train librarians and parents. The anniversary is celebrated throughout 2014:

A child becoming a little monster at Tamer’s booth during the International Palestine book fair 2014. Photo: Tamer Institute

A child becoming a little monster at Tamer’s booth during the International Palestine book fair 2014. Photo: Tamer Institute

During April, Tamer launched the National Reading Campaign in the Palestinian Society under the slogan “Reading: A Rite and A Print”. The campaign included activities at various locations where the Palestinian society is based.  The Campaign reiterated the wide partnership with and participation of at least 350 Palestinian local organizations, community centers, libraries and youth clubs.

Outdoor activity with children during the National Reading Campaign 2014. Photo: Tamer Institute

Outdoor activity with children during the National Reading Campaign 2014. Photo: Tamer Institute

Two Reading promotion postage stamps was adopted by the Palestine Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technology . Through Tamer’s continuous and serious initiatives to reach decision- makers to work and promote reading in the Palestinian society, The Palestine Ministry of Telecommunications, has adopted the production of two Palestinian official postage stamps that are taken from Tamer’s posters and visual material related to reading.

Children making their own postage stamps in a painting activity, Ramallah, National Reading Campaign. Photo: Tamer Insitute

Children making their own postage stamps in a painting activity, Ramallah, National Reading Campaign. Photo: Tamer Insitute

 

One of these posters is the cover of “ my reading passport”, which is an initiative launched by Tamer in 1992 to encourage children to travel through reading despite the circumstances they live in under Israeli occupation. The second stamp is a poster of a campaign launched every year to encourage family members, especially fathers and children to read together, entitled” Daddy read to me campaign”. Photo: Tamer Institute

One of these posters is the cover of “ my reading passport”, which is an initiative launched by Tamer in 1992 to encourage children to travel through reading despite the circumstances they live in under Israeli occupation. The second stamp is a poster of a campaign launched every year to encourage family members, especially fathers and children to read together, entitled” Daddy read to me campaign”. Photo: Tamer Institute

Participation in the Palestine International book-Fair 2014 which was conducted in April. Daily activities for children, young adults, families, illustrators, writers and publishers were organized. Musical shows, books launch, and galleries for Tamer’s books illustrations took place, thus making the fair an opportunity to highlight that reading is FUN, through connecting the different shows with Tamer’s books.

A group of young adults visiting Tamer’s booth at the international Palestine book fair 2014. Photo: Tamer Institute

A group of young adults visiting Tamer’s booth at the international Palestine book fair 2014. Photo: Tamer Institute

The launch of the Novell Gaza Book. The book is a collection of short stories written by a group of Palestinian youth, and it serves as a free platform for imprisoned and besieged people to unleash their sadness, happiness and dreams full with imagination and fantasy about homeland and future. It proves that there is life in Gaza as there is death; there is happiness as there is sadness, there are people who are able to dream and there is passion to live. This book is important because it is directed to the international community through presenting ten ambitious English texts written by youth. It bridges the cultural gabs between Gaza and the rest of the world.

More reading here

The Tamer Institute was presented to the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award in 2009.

Launch book event of Novell Gaza at Tamer’s office in Gaza. Photo: Tamer Institute

Launch book event of Novell Gaza at Tamer’s office in Gaza. Photo: Tamer Institute

Barbro Lindgren to Göteborg Book Fair

June 18, 2014
Photo: Stefan Tell

Photo: Stefan Tell

Meet Barbro Lindgren at the Göteborg Book Fair in Gothenburg. On Thursday, September 25, she participates in a seminar about imagination and the conditions of freedom and writing with jury member Maria Lassén-Seger, critic of children’s literature and librarian at Åbo Academy University. She will also participate in a number of short public talks on Ung scen (Young Stage) and will visit other exhibitor’s stands at the fair in the program for Thursday.

The laureate’s participation is part of the Swedish Arts Council’s commitment to a program with focus on children’s and young adult literature and reading promotion. Under the theme Children’s Right to Culture workshops, exhibitions and lectures are arranged at Ung scen (Young Stage) in Hall A at the book fair.

A detailed program for Barbro Lindgren’s participation will be published on the ALMA web in September.

Photo: Stefan Tell

Photo: Stefan Tell

Yousef Al Muhaimeed about Astrid Lindgren and children’s literature in Sweden

June 18, 2014
Visit to Astrid Lindgren's childhood home at Näs, Vimmerby. Photo: Sergio Guimaraes, Swedish Institute

Visit to Astrid Lindgren’s childhood home at Näs, Vimmerby. Photo: Sergio Guimaraes, Swedish Institute

1537Saudi Arabian journalist and writer Yousef Al Muhaimeed from Al-Jazirah newspaper where one of the participants in the delegation of international media invited by the Swedish Institute to the press program “Culture for Children”. The program content ranged from visit to the House of Culture and Swedish National Television in Stockholm, to visit Astrid Lindgren’s birthplace Vimmerby in the south of Sweden. Here are extracts from his articles, translated from Arabic:

Sweden and the Swedes are proud of their great writer of children’s books; Astrid Lindgren. Astrid Lindgren died in 2002. To honour her memory, the Swedish government founded an international award in her name, the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award.

The award is 5 million SEK, making it the largest international children’s literature award in the world. It has been awarded to writers of different countries of the world over the past twelve years, without going to any Swedish writer, making it the subject of criticism by the Swedes. They wondered how we have been giving this award that bears the name of Astrid Lindgren to so many writers, without awarding a single Swedish writer, despite the fact that children’s literature in Sweden is booming a host of wonderful writers.

This year, things were different; the award went to Swedish children’s writer Barbro Lindgren. I was among four foreign journalists, lucky enough to interview the winner Barbro Lindgren a few hours before the ceremony.

Barbro is a simple, modest lady of seventy, with a great sense of humor. She does not follow a routine with a specific time to write, she says that she goes to write whenever she feels ready but she usually writes on a daily basis…

The best thing about Sweden, the third largest European country, and the least populous, around 9.5 million people on its territory, at a rate of 23 people per square kilometer, is the great interest in children’s literature. This might cause frustration when we compare it to Arab countries in general and to Saudi Arabia in particular.  My country has the human competencies and financial resources to accomplish great projects for children and young people, especially as 60% of our total population is children and young people.

Photo: Sergio Guimaraes, Swedish Institute

Photo: Sergio Guimaraes, Swedish Institute

It is striking that the public libraries of children in Sweden do not contain only paper and electronic books as we might assume in the Arab world. It is an amazing world, where the child, of any age category, might spend a full day without getting bored. In this library, for example, there are several sections for various age groups, from zero to two years, three to six years, seven to nine years, and ten to thirteen years. Each section is designed taking into account the different conditions and needs of children; safety, interests .. etc.  You might see a toddler, accompanied by his father or his mother, crawling around the painted books, just to be familiar with books from early childhood.

All kinds of activities; playing, painting and story-telling are being practiced in the library; the children’s second home !

Astrid Lindgren grew up in a typical Swedish small house at a tiny village called Vimmerby, three hundred and fifty kilometers south of Stockholm. The Swedish Government made the house where Astrid was born a museum open to visitors all the year round. “Astrid Lindgren’s World” includes the author’s childhood home as well as a recently-built exhibition hall. Astrid Lindgren´s World is a unique theatre-park. Here you can meet Pippi, Emil, and all the other characters. It’s Sweden’s largest children’s theatre-park, all based on Astrid Lindgren’s texts. About half a million tourists visit Astrid Lindgren’s World every year. Even though, it might not be compared to the American Disney Land, but it has a unique flavor of Sweden, which is far much better than reproducing the culture of others and imitating their ideas.

Visiting Astrid Lindgren's World in Vimmerby. Photo: Sergio Guimaraes, Swedish Institute

Visiting Astrid Lindgren’s World in Vimmerby. Photo: Sergio Guimaraes, Swedish Institute

 

Photo: Sergio Guimaraes, Swedish Institute

Photo: Sergio Guimaraes, Swedish Institute

Presentation of Barbro Lindgren and her works

June 16, 2014

This presentation of Barbro Lindgren and her works was broadcast for the first time at the Award ceremony at the Stockholms Concert Hall on June 2, 2014.

Graphic design meet experimental music in Novela Grafica

June 12, 2014

SIMA is a project created by 2013 ALMA laureate Isol and her brother Zypce, who along with Nicolás Cecinini and Pablo  Chimenti  present a set of songs where poetic lyrics and simple melodies coexist with the experimentation of new sonorities and musical structures. The project is described like this:

Novela Gráfica is the successor  of SIMA (2008 ) , the group’s debut album. It will be jointly published by Noseso Records and Moebius as a book/object / cd in a limited edition that includes works by 11 international artists who illustrated comics as they where videos of  the 11 songs on the album. The edition features Laura Varsky graphic design and art cover and interiors work of Liliana Porter.

The album / graphic object will be manufactured at the end of July and will be exclusive presale on a platform Ideame , cheaper than it will have on live concerts and distribution points promo price.

The backers that accomplish the advance purchase will participate in a private event where they will receive their copy of Novela Grafica,  and according the combo that you pick to collaborate you  could get tickets with special locations for the official presentation of the album of August 14 th at  ND / Ateneo. In the foyer of this beautiful theater, originals and reproductions of cover art  will be exhibited , PLUS some of the authors and guest artists will participate in a illustration jam with live sonic improvisations by Sergio Merce, on his microtonal sax.
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New members of the jury for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award

June 10, 2014

The Swedish Arts Council has appointed four new members of the jury for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. The new chairman from July 1 is Boel Westin, who has been Professor of Literature at Stockholm University since 1998, with a special focus on literature for children and young adults. She is Chief Editor of A History of Swedish Children´s Literature which is due to be published next year and internationally well-known for her biography on Tove Jansson.

Boel Westin. Photo: Eva Dalin

Boel Westin. Photo: Eva Dalin

– It’s an honour and an interesting task that I’m really looking forward to, says Boel Westin. The award has an important place in international children’s literature and it will be exciting to discuss all the nominees with my new colleagues.

The other new jury members are author and illustrator Anna Höglund, author Katarina Kieri and political science graduate Johan Palmberg, who represents Astrid Lindgren’s family. Previous chairman Larry Lempert will remain on the jury as an ordinary member for one year, while the others have been appointed for a period of four years.

Anna Höglund and Katarina Kieri have both won multiple awards for their books. Anna Höglund, who illustrates other people’s books as well as her own, most recently won the Snowball award for best Swedish picture book for Om detta talar man endast med kaniner (You only talk about this with rabbits) and has previously received prizes including the German Children’s Literature Award, the August Prize and the Elsa Beskow Plaque.

Katarina Kieri has published novels, poetry collections and ten books for children and young adults. Her awards include the August Prize, Tidningen Vi’s Literature Prize and the Astrid Lindgren Prize. Her latest children’s book Månkan och jag har en hemlighet (Månkan and I have a secret), which came out earlier this year, is a co-operation with illustrator Emma Virke.

Johan Palmberg recently moved back to Sweden after a year in London and, like his predecessor Annika Lindgren, works at Saltkråkan AB on copyright issues concerning the works of Astrid Lindgren.

– The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award has a jury whose expertise is both broad and deep, comments Staffan Forssell, Director General of the Swedish Arts Council. Like their predecessors, the new members possess both knowledge and integrity, while the fact that Larry Lempert is staying on brings continuity to the work of the jury.

The new jury members replace Mats Berggren, Ulf Boëthius, Ulla Rhedin and Annika Lindgren. The new jury will meet for the first time in August and will announce the nominees for the 2015 award at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October.

Anna Höglund. Photo: Stefan Tell. Lilla Piratförlaget.

Anna Höglund. Photo: Stefan Tell. Lilla Piratförlaget.

Katarina Kieri. Photo: Daniel Werkmäster

Katarina Kieri. Photo: Daniel Werkmäster

 

Johan Palmberg. Photo: Saltkråkan

Johan Palmberg. Photo: Saltkråkan

Behind the scenes of this year’s announcement

June 4, 2014

Get behind the scenes of the announcement of this year’s laureate. The announcement took place at a press conference at the National Library of Sweden in Stockholm on March 25 and was streamed live to the international Bologna Children’s Book Fair, Italy. The video was broadcast for the first time a the Award Ceremony on June 2, 2014.

 

 

Standing ovations and brilliant performances

June 3, 2014
Barbro Lindgren and Crown Princess Victoria.

Barbro Lindgren and Crown Princess Victoria.

Yesterday was really a magic night to remember. The audience at the Stockholm Concert Hall gave Barbro Lindgren standing ovations after her acceptance speech. The evening started with Edda Magnason and her band playing I Can´t Give You Anything But Love. Actor Lamine Dieng was the compere for the evening and lead the program forward with a steady hand. The rest of the programme? Well, have a look at these beautiful images, taken by photographer Stefan Tell:

Edda Magnason and her band.

Edda Magnason and her band.

Welcome address by Staffan Forssell, General Director at the Swedish Arts Council.

Welcome address by Staffan Forssell, Director General at the Swedish Arts Council.

The Lindgren Brothers with Amanda Bergman.

The Lindgren Brothers with Amanda Bergman.

Minister for Culture, Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth.

Minister for Culture, Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth.

The Lindgren Brothers with Ebbot Lundberg.

The Lindgren Brothers with Ebbot Lundberg.

Jury Chairman Larry Lempert Reading the jury citation.

Jury Chairman Larry Lempert reading the jury citation.

Award Ceremony.

Award Ceremony.

Barbro Lindgren's speech.

Barbro Lindgren’s speech.

Photo moment after the ceremony.

Photo moment after the ceremony.

Barbro Lindgren and Tomas Tranströmer.

Barbro Lindgren and Tomas Tranströmer.

A toast for Barbro Lindgren at the Grünewald Hall.

A toast for Barbro Lindgren at the Grünewald Hall.

Time to leave the Consert Hall.

Time to leave the Concert Hall.

 


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