– Anne-Marie, Why do you read?

December 1, 2016

ann-marie-korling– Why do you read a group of teenage boys asked me. I wanted to tell them that I read because it is the cheapest way of travelling to distant places, after a page or two you find yourself absorb into a different world, and that ticket cost you nothing at all.

I wanted to say this, but I didn’t. Then I thought that I could tell them that I just happened to have opened that book and had found myself so absorbed I found it impossible to put it down again. And perhaps I should tell them about my father, who died when I was little and how I find myself adopting fathers in the books I read, and there are so many dads to choose from.

 The boys stared at me, waiting for my response. But I couldn’t explain to them why I read. It is important for me to read, I wanted to say, because I can be someone else when I read, someone other than myself, I can be a lonely old man sitting on a step and sometimes I’m friends with someone who tells me everything about themselves with no worries in the world. I can wear a knight’s armour, ride a horse like a god, travel around the world and go to school in a town in India.

 – But honestly, why do you read, the boys asked me. They sat down on the steps where I was sitting. I told them I would happily read aloud to them and opened the book wide.

 And even if the book didn’t start with “Once upon a time”, it was as if it did, because that book grabbed us instantly, the way a good book does. Astrid Lindgren had likened it to the bite of a northern pike. When you find yourself completely hooked. As I read the words of the story enveloped us and as I finished, it was with a massive splash, the splash of a wild pike batting his tail in the water.

 The boys wanted more and asked me maybe I could re-read a paragraph or two, the bit in the text that had gripped them the most. I did as they wanted, thinking about that brave teacher who read Winnie the Pooh to my son and his classmates when they were seventeen, dramatizing the story with different voices and impressions for each character. He whimpered out Piglets worried words and sounded as down and despairing as Ior. They laughed together at his storytelling, but also unknowingly mirrored themselves in the book, it told them it was ok to be whoever you are.

 –Why don’t we read more? One of the boys asked. Now the question was suddenly more open and no longer directed at me. Why don’t we read? Yes, why don’t we? I closed the book and told them I had to leave. As I walk away, I hear them shout after me. “Oy, you, what was the book you were reading called?”

 

Anne-Marie Körling

Children’s Laureate, Stockholm

 

 

 

Jury member Anna Höglund Awarded The Astrid Lindgren Prize

November 15, 2016

Yesterday the writer and illustrator Anna Höglund was awarded the Astrid Lindgren Prize, established by publishing house Rabén & Sjögren in 1967 to mark Astrid Lindgren’s 60th birthday. This is prize is given annually on November 14th to writers for children and YA.

The citation of the jury reads:

Anna Höglund’s stories and pictures are poetic and precise, original and beautiful, timely and timeless. She writes about relationships, emotions and identities, about being young and growing up, in ways that resonate and linger with readers of all ages.

Anna Höglund was born in 1958 in Stockholm and is considered one of Sweden’s leading illustrators. She has worked with many well-known writers such as Barbro Lindgren, Ulf Stark and Gunnar Lundkvist. She made her debut in 1982 with Sagan om pannkakan (The Pancake Story) and has since published over 20 books, many of which have been translated from Swedish into other languages.

Her work has been recognized through several Swedish and international awards, including the 1994 Zilveren Penseel award in the Netherlands and the 1995 Deutsche Jugendliteraturpreis in Germany, which she shared with Ulf Stark for Kan du vissla Johanna? (Can You Whistle, Johanna?), the 1996 Deutsche Jugendliteraturpreis for Resor jag aldrig gjort (Journeys I Have Never Made), and the 1998 Pier Paolo Vergerio European Prize for Children’s Literature for Mina och Kåge (Mina and Kåge). Her latest book, Om detta talar man endast med kaniner (This Is Something You Talk About Only With Rabbits), received the Snowball award in Sweden for the best picture book of 2013.

​Nominees announced for Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award 2017

October 20, 2016

For the world’s largest children’s literature award next year, 226 candidates from 60 countries are nominated, of which 63 are nominated for the first time, jury chairman Professor Boel Westin announced at the Frankfurt Book Fair today.

– We in the jury are very much looking forward to learning more about the works and the activities of the candidates, says professor Westin after making the announcement. The nomination list is a gold mine for anyone interested in international children’s and YA literature. I hope that this list will be spread and used in all possible situations concerning reading and storytelling.

All continents are represented among the nominated writers, illustrators, reading promoters and storytellers. Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA) rewards works or activities of the highest quality but the laureates must also embrace the humanistic values that Astrid Lindgren treasured.

The candidates have been suggested by more than a hundred organisations from all over the world. These nominating bodies, with expert knowledge, can nominate candidates from their own country or region but also from abroad.

– The nominating bodies are our eyes and ears says Boel Westin. The jury is Swedish but the award is international and we are extremely impressed by the enthusiasm and knowledge within the organisations.

The jury members conclude their work with a meeting and a press conference on Tuesday April 4 at 1 pm. at the National Library in Stockholm. The event will be broadcast live to Bologna Book Fair. The candidate list is available at www.alma.se/en

For further information, please contact director Helen Sigeland, +46 76 540 10 33, helen.sigeland@alma.se

The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA) is the world’s largest award for children’s and young adult literature. The award, which amounts to SEK 5 million, is given annually to a single laureate or to several. Authors, illustrators, oral storytellers and reading promoters are eligible. The award is designed to promote interest in children’s and young adult literature. The UN convention of rights of the child is the foundation of our work. An expert jury selects the laureate(s) from candidates nominated by institutions and organisations all over the world. The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award was founded by the Swedish government in 2002 and is administrated by the Swedish Arts Council.

​Nominations for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award 2017 to be presented on October 20

October 11, 2016

The list over nominated candidates for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award 2017 will be presented at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

The program is a co-operation with the Frankfurt Book Fair and begins at 4.00 pm with a presentation of this year’s laureate, Meg Rosoff. Professor Boel Westin, chairman of the ALMA-jury, will then present the nominated candidates. After the presentation, the nomination list will be available on www.alma.se/en A list of the nominating bodies for 2017 is also available on our web site.

For questions and interviews in Frankfurt with Boel Westin, please contact director Helen Sigeland, +46 76 540 10 33, helen.sigeland@alma.se

The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA) is the world’s largest award for children’s and young adult literature. The award, which amounts to SEK 5 million, is given annually to a single laureate or to several. Authors, illustrators, oral storytellers and reading promoters are eligible. The award is designed to promote interest in children’s and young adult literature. The UN convention of rights of the child is the foundation of our work. An expert jury selects the laureate(s) from candidates nominated by institutions and organisations all over the world. The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award was founded by the Swedish government in 2002 and is administrated by the Swedish Arts Council.

Isol visits Europe

September 15, 2016

blogg_isol

On Saturday the 17th of September Isol, the 2013 laureate of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, will participate in Kolibrí – an artistic children’s festival in Helsinki. Among other things she will read stories and run a graphic workshop for children.

The visit to Helsinki is part of a tour to different European countries. Among other things Isol will also  be at the OBA, the public library in Amsterdam, on the 30th of September where there is an exhibition of her work.

Isol is an illustrator, cartoonist, graphic artist, writer, singer and composer. When she received the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award the jury described her work like this:

“Taking children’s clear view of the world as her starting point, she addresses their questions with forceful artistic expression and offers open answers. With liberating humour and levity, she also deals with the darker aspects of existence.”

Meg Rosoff visits Göteborg Book Fair

September 13, 2016

Meg Rosoff visits Göteborg Book Fair

– We are excited about Meg Rosoff’s visit, says ALMA Director Helen Sigeland. She has many Swedish readers and those who did not have any possibility to take part in any of the events organised during the award week in May, now have a chance to meet her personally and to listen to her presentations.

Meg Rosoff’s program open to the public is as follows:

Thursday, September 22
11.00 – 11.20 Conversation with jury chairman Boel Westin, Ung scen A 03:22

12.45 – 13.15 Presentation/book signing , Lilla Piratförlaget,B05:42

14.00 – 14.45 Seminar with Boel Westin, K3

Friday, September 23

14.00 – 14.20 Conversation with Henriette Zorn, Swedish Arts Council,Ung scen, A03:22

Saturday, September 25

11.30 – 11.50 Conversation with jury member Henry Ascher, Stage for Freedom of Expression, C02:08

13.00 –13.20 Conversation with jury member Maria Lassén-Seger, Ung scen, A03:22

For further information and interview requests, please contact award director Helen Sigeland, helen.sigeland@alma.se, +46 76 5401033.

The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA) is the world’s largest award for children’s and young adult literature. The award, which amounts to SEK 5 million, is given annually to a single laureate or to several. Authors, illustrators, oral storytellers and reading promoters are eligible. The award is designed to promote interest in children’s and young adult literature. The UN convention of rights of the child is the foundation of our work. An expert jury selects the laureate(s) from candidates nominated by institutions and organisations all over the world. The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award was founded by the Swedish government in 2002 and is administrated by the Swedish Arts Council.

Literature in a Multi-Literate World

August 22, 2016

The 35th international IBBY congress in Auckland closed on Sunday after four days of speeches, panel discussions and meetings. (IBBY stands for The International Board on Books for Young People). The overall theme was, “Literature in a Multi-Literate World” and issues like: “How do we nurture local and indigenous literature at the same time as meeting the global interests and needs of young?” were discussed.

The unique cultural context of New Zealand impressed the 500 delegates from 60 countries and the whole event was a huge success. The conclusion was that  ideas, imagination and emotion captured in very different contexts can be expressed universally and understood by children and young adults thanks to experts and writers like Julia Eccleshare (UK), Katherine Paterson (US), Carole Bloch (South Africa), Nahoko Uehasho (Japan) and many, many others.

The IBBY honour list was presented, and among writers, illustrators and translators being given diplomas was Mudite Treimane from Latvia, honoured for her translation of a book about Emma Gloria by Finnish-Swedish Henrika Andersson. Cao Wenxuan (China) winner of the Hans Christian Andersen award 2016, received standing ovations for his acceptance speech.

Prior to the conference overseas visitors had the possibilities to visit public and school libraries. The directors for the congress, Dr Libby Limbrick and Rosemary Tisdall did a marvelous job together with their team! If you want to find out more about the congress, have a look at the IBBY 2016 website. Below you also find some pictures of people that Helen Sigeland, ALMA director, met during the conference!

Opening ceremony.

Opening ceremony.

 

Nahoko Ueshari (writer) and Cathy Hirano (translator)

Nahoko Ueshari (writer) and Cathy Hirano (translator)

Julia Eccleshare, writer and journalist.

Julia Eccleshare, writer and journalist.

Two ALMA laureates meeting for the first time; Katherine Paterson (2006) and Carole Bloch, director of PRAESA (2015).

Two ALMA laureates meeting for the first time; Katherine Paterson (2006) and Carole Bloch, director of PRAESA (2015).

Mudite Treimane from Latvia was honoured for her translation of a book about Emma Gloria by Finnish-Swedish Henrika Andersson.

Mudite Treimane from Latvia was honoured for her translation of a book about Emma Gloria by Finnish-Swedish Henrika Andersson.

500 delegates from 60 countries came to Auckland.

500 delegates from 60 countries came to Auckland.

 

 

Book recommendation: “What I was”

August 2, 2016

If you haven’t read Meg Rosoff’s “What I was” yet, you should take the chance and get to know the third novel of this year’s ALMA laureate.

“What I was” (2007), takes the form of a retrospective personal history where body, identity and gender issues, and themes of loss and memory, are central. It is a complex tale of friendship, love, and liberation, of reflections on a wounded past, and of difficult crossroads in life.

BLOG_What I wasBLOG_Den-jag-varThe story takes place in the 1960’s in a coastal landscape that is slowly sinking beneath the sea: a suggestive setting that mirrors the transgression of boundaries staged in the novel. In this barren world, we meet a sixteen-year-old narrator who has been sent off to a school for boys after being expelled from two previous boarding schools. His father demands that he clean up his act and become a man, but being a boy who measures up to the middle-class ideals of his family and school – popular, smart, athletic – is hard enough. Chafing at the future that has been laid out for him, he finds an escape when he meets Finn, a boy who lives alone in a shack by the ocean. In Finn he sees the person he would like to be, but his all-absorbing love has dramatic consequences and blinds him to who Finn really is.

Book recommendation: “Just in case”

July 27, 2016

Summer holiday is the perfect time to dig deeper into an authorship. Why not get to know the fascinating work of this year’s ALMA laureate, Meg Rosoff? Throughout the summer we will publish a few book recommendations on the blog and today the book in focus is “Just in case” (2006).

BLOG_Just in CaseBLOG_Justin CaseFifteen-year-old David Case is struggling with his newfound insight into his own mortality. He decides to cheat Fate by becoming a different person. He changes his name to Justin and adopts a whole new lifestyle, but in the process he loses himself.

With both humor and heartache, Rosoff traces the ways in which the world misunderstands Justin’s crisis of identity and tries to make him into someone he is not. The stream-of-consciousness narration – which mirrors the twists and turns in Justin’s brain – holds readers in an iron grip. Like the protagonist Holden in Salinger’s classic coming-of-age novel, “The Catcher in the Rye” (1951), Justin clearly struggles with his perception of reality: he can hear the voice of Fate, and he keeps company with an imaginary dog.

Book recommendation: “How I live now”

June 29, 2016

Summer means holiday and leisure time for most of us. Why not seize the opportunity and explore some of Meg Rosoff’s novels?

Her work form a suite of existential dramas in which values and norms, ideas and preconceptions are subjected to constant challenge and change. Meg’s books stand out for the way she writes about young people: with respect, but also with critical, intimate scrutiny and much humor.

Throughout the summer we will publish a few book recommendations on the blog. First in line is Meg’s debut novel, “How I live now” (2004).

NY BLOG_How I live nowNY BLOG_Så har jag det nuThe book is an unsettling depiction of war and love from a young adult’s point of view. It is both a dystopian action story and a novel about a provocative love affair between two young cousins – one of whom is only fourteen years old – that bursts the traditional bounds of the young adult literature genre.

Fifteen-year-old Daisy from New York is sent to visit relatives in England for the summer. When a war suddenly breaks out, she and her cousins must fend for themselves without adult assistance. The madness and chaos of war leave little time for reflection; or as Daisy says, “If you haven’t been in a war and are wondering how long it takes to get used to losing everything you think you need or love, I can tell you the answer is no time at all.”

How do you feel alive when your world is falling apart? The novel offers no easy answers. Daisy pays a high price for her survival, but she also reaches new insights about herself and the things worth living for. “How I live now” enjoyed tremendous success and had a significant impact on the development of novels for young adults.

Rosoff’s body of work now includes seven young adult novels and several picture books as well as a novel for adults. The books that have followed her debut are all very different from one another, but all are surprising, radical, and emotionally charged.