Helen Sigeland new director of the award office

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.


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