“I’m totally crazy, I know that. I don’t say that to be a smartass…”

“I’m totally crazy, I know that. I don’t say that to be a smartass, but I know that that’s the very essence of what makes my work good. And I know my work is good. Not everybody likes it, that’s fine. I don’t do it for everybody. Or anybody. I do it because I can’t not do it.” (Maurice Sendak in Guardian interview)

Maurice Sendak at his home in Connecticut, USA. Photo: Tim Knox for the Guardian

2003 ALMA recipient Maurice Sendak have received much attention in press and media lately. Not only for the fact that his latest book Bumble-Ardy (HarperCollins 2011) – the first one he has written as well as illustrated in 30 years – have been published, but also for his honest and direct statements in interviews. In last week’s very personal Guardian interview he explains how the grotesqueness of his characters came from his childhood. Another very moving and memorable interview recently made by journalist Terry Gross for American National Radio, is highly recommendable and available here.

Maurice Sendak was awarded the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award in 2003; “Maurice Sendak is the modern picture-book’s portal figure. He is unparalleled in developing the picture-book’s unique possibilities of narrating – to the joy of constant new picture-book illustrators. Furthermore, he is one of the most courageous researchers of the most secret recesses of childhood – to the delight of constant new readers.” (jury citation).

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