Archive for September, 2011

5000 square meters of children’s culture

September 30, 2011


Tomorrow Palatset, a national arena for children’s culture, opens in Stockholm. Palatset will offer children and adults alike unforgettable world-class experiences in film, music and the performing arts as well as world-class opportunities for developing their own creative skills in the magical old National Archives building at Riddarholmen in Stockholm.

Children and parents, teenagers and schools will have the possibility to creative and artistic experiences such as Cinema, Theatre, Concerts, TV and Radio Studios, Poetry, Literature, Comic Strips, Acting, Special Effects, Storytelling and many, many, many other activities.


Palatset hope to serve as an inspiration for similar projects outside the Swedish borders, with ambition to foster cooperation and to build networks with cultural workers internationally.


So, if you´re 6-18 years and in Stockholm this weekend, why not try to produce your own music, talk about books in the Red Room, write your own story with the help of writer Malin Isaksson or enter the ABBA singalong! These are only a few of all exciting activities to experience.

Foto: Johanna Wulff


From Nina Hagen to Lisbet Salander; Pippi as a role model

September 28, 2011

Pippi Longstocking never gets out of date. Is it not impressive that a children’s book character from the 1940s still today function as such an important role model for strong women? The last one in the row is German punk queen Nina Hagen who visited the Göteborg Book Fair last week. According to Hagen, her big idol in her childhood was Pippi.
– Pippi Longstocking taught me equality, she says in an interview with Swedish newsagency TT Spektra.

Photo: Adam Lundquist

Earlier this autumn, Rooney Mara, the actress playing Lisbeth Salander in the upcoming film The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, has been described as a goth Pippi Longstocking. She also states that she used Pippi Longstocking as inspiration for the character. In an interview published in the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, she says that she found many things in common between Lisbet Salander and Pippi Lockstocking.
– I grew up with Pippi and went back to her stories.

The red tree and human emotions on the last day of Göteborg Book Fair

September 25, 2011
As the 2011 Göteborg Book Fair drew to a close on Sunday, the last seminar in the stand of the Swedish Arts Council was entitled Art + Natural Science = True?. The well-attended seminar was dedicated to the pictorial worlds of 2011 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award recipient Shaun Tan, and asked the questions: what happens when art and natural science meet, and how does the natural science researcher look upon the work of the artist?

Lennart Eng, illustrator and member of the ALMA jury, talked to Professor of Integrative Medicine and author Martin Ingvar, in a discussion that centered on the picture book Det röda trädet (Kabusa Böcker, 2011, original title The Red Tree), written and illustrated by Shaun Tan.

Martin Ingvar explained how our brains are designed to identify things that are threatening and dangerous, and pointed out that the book contains a lot of dark emotions. Lennart Eng said that Shaun Tan initially intended to portray positive emotions as well as the darker and more depressive spectre of human emotions. But as his work progressed he found the negative emotions of, for example loneliness and depression more interesting to focus on. According to Martin Ingvar it is important when it comes to children to put illustrations that may be perceived as frightening in their right context. This way the darker images signifies more than just hopelessness.

Martin Ingvar and Lennart Eng also discussed how the details work together to create the whole, represented by the little red leaf that appears on every turn of the page in Det röda trädet as a symbol of hope. Lennart Eng pointed out that many times when reading this book for the first time, it it the children that are first to percieve this detail, this symbol of hope, in the book.

More from the Göteborg Book Fair

September 23, 2011

Lots of listeners were gathered at the Swedish Arts Council’s stand on Friday afternoon, when Ulla Rhedin and Mats Kempe once again discussed the pictorial worlds of Shaun Tan.

The award office took the opportunity to hand over a lithography with motif from “The Lost Thing” by Shaun Tan to Barnboksbildens vänner (a non-profit society connected to the Gothenburg Museum of Art, dedicated to increase the knowledge about children’s books illustrations). Rebecka Svensén, director of the award office, handed over the gift from Shaun Tan to Margaretha Dahlström, Chairman of Barnboksbildens vänner.

Major initiative for children’s literature in Bologna 2012-2013

September 23, 2011

Next year the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award will be presented for the tenth time and celebrated with an anniversary exhibition at the 2012 Bologna Children’s Book Fair in Italy. During the fair, the 2012 award recipient will also be announced.     

In March 2013, Sweden will be the guest of honour at the international Bologna Fair. The Swedish Arts Council (Kulturrådet) announced this today at a press conference in Gothenburg.

Swedish Minister of Culture, Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth, Roberta Chinni, responsible for the Bologna Children's Book Fair, and Kennet Johansson, Director General Swedish Arts Council

“We have been given a unique opportunity to showcase Swedish children’s and young adult literature in an international context. The rights of children and young people are central to Sweden’s cultural policy,” says Minister for Culture Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth. 

“We are responsible for the world’s largest prize for children’s and young adult literature and we now see this as a further opportunity to promote Swedish literature and to encourage children and young adults to read.  We are extremely pleased about being the guest of honour at the Bologna Fair,” says Kennet Johansson, Director General of the Swedish Arts Council.

More information is available in our newsroom here.

Deep diving in the pictorial worlds of Shaun Tan

September 22, 2011

Ulla Rhedin, member of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award jury and picture books specialist, and Mats Kempe, librarian writer and member of the IBBY Sweden Board, held a presentation of the fascinating pictorial worlds of Shaun Tan during the first day of the Göteborg Book Fair.

–  Shaun Tan’s way of working can be described as an inner court yard as in the story No other country in the collection of short stories Tales from outer Suburbia. Everyone has an inner room where the life-affirming imagination can run wild. He has a way of making the realistic and the non-realistic worlds interact, says librarian writer Mats Kempe.

The presentation was initiated by IBBY (International Board on Book for Young people). Furthermore, IBBY’s Peter Pan-prize was presented to Shaun Tan. As the winner himself weren´t able to participate, Ulla Forsén, Chairman of the IBBY Sweden Board handed over flowers and plaquette to Shaun’s Swedish publisher Kerstin Aronson from Kabusa Agency.

Sweden’s first Reading Ambassador for Young People!

September 22, 2011

Today, Johan Unenge was announced as Sweden’s first Reading Ambassador for young people. The announcement was made at the Göteborg Book Fair, by the Swedish Minister for Culture, Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth.

Johan Unenge was elected by an expert jury with representatives from the field of literature and libraries in Sweden. His mission will be to promote reading and to spread awareness about the importance of literature for young people. He will have an ongoing dialogue with children, teachers, librarians and support reading promotion at a local level. The Swedish Arts Council and the Swedish Writer’s Center are the organisations behind this project. 

USA, England and Ireland already have National Ambassadors for children’s and young adult literature. England was the first country out, and three years ago the first National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature was announced in the USA. The assignment is currently held by the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award recipient of 2006, the author Katherine Paterson!


Helen Sigeland new director of the award office

September 16, 2011

Larry Lempert, Chairman of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award jury, and Helen Sigeland at the Belgrad Book Fair 2010

Helen Sigeland has been appointed to the position as director of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. She has long experience in working with literature issues at an international level, both at the Swedish Arts Council and the Swedish Institute. Today, she´s responsible for promotion of Swedish literature at an international level and translation support at the Swedish Arts Council.

The award office took the opportunity to ask Helen a few questions after the announcement.

Who is Helen Sigeland?

I’m 50+,  in my best years, as Karlsson – on- the- Roof would put it. I have no artistic skills but I’m quite good at cooking. I read a lot and enjoy travelling, theatre and music. I do unfortunately not find the time for going to the cinema often enough.  

What is most exciting in working with literature? What kind of questions are you most committed to?

What could be more rewarding than working with literature? It’s a privilege to focus on books and professionals devoted to literature and reading. I have for many years been involved in international literary cooperation and I strongly believe that literature must travel. One Serbian publisher once said to me that if you only look at yourself in the mirror you’ll soon get bored. And that is so true, we need to read each other’s literature to get perspectives on ourselves.

How do you look upon your new assignment?

It’s challenging and very exciting. My predecessor Erik Titusson did a fantastic job in developing activities connected to the prize and I want to continue this, both national and international.

Helen Sigeland will attend the position as director on January 1st 2012.

“Work is a bit like Brussels sprouts”

September 14, 2011

“People say “are you Shaun Tan? I already know the books.” And that really surprises me.”

You can´t miss blogger Bookwitch’s interview with Shaun Tan, about his work as an illustrator, receiving the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award and on how to develop new ideas for art work. The interview was made at the Edinburgh Book Festival, and is published here.

Next week Shaun Tan´s awarded the Swedish Peter Pan Prize for his book The arrival. The award is instituted by the Swedish section of IBBY (International Board on Books for Young People) and the Göteborg Book Fair, and will be presented at the book fair on Thursday September 22nd. The award ceremony will be followed by a debate about the fascinating pictorial worlds of Shaun Tan. Ulla Rhedin, member of the Astrid Lindgrens Memorial Award jury, and Mats Kempe, journalist and member of the Swedish IBBY section, will participate in this program.

Ingrid Vang Nyman on Millesgården

September 12, 2011

The Danish artist and children’s book illustrator Ingrid Vang Nyman (1916-1959) is mostly known for her Pippi Longstocking illustrations. Ingrid Vang Nyman’s pictures of Pippi Longstocking have become classics and have been enjoyed in many countries. Her illustrations are also considered to be the beginning of modernism in the field of children’s book illustrations in Sweden.

– Every author who has been fortunate enough to find a congenial illustrator for their books, would be eternally grateful to that artist, Astrid Lindgren once said.

But inspite of Vang Nyman’s world famous illustrations, she´s fairly unknown as an artist. In late January next year, Swedish art museum Millesgården presents an exhibition about Ingrid Vang Nyman as an artist and children’s book illustrator.  The exhibition addresses both children and adults, and features some 50 original illustrations, and a larger playground where both children and adults can play.

Ingrid Vang Nyman’s Pippi Longstocking is also present in our logo, between Björn Berg’s Emil in Lönneberga and Ilon Wikland’s Karlsson-on-the-roof.