Archive for August, 2012

First jury meeting after the summer

August 31, 2012

Same procedure as every year. Time for documentation of the jury. Photographer Stefan Tell gives directions to the members of the jury. The results will be published on our web next week.

Today, the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award jury gathered after the summer. We took the opportunity to ask Chairman Larry Lempert some questions, during one of the breaks.

Hi Larry, how was your summer?
My summer has been absolutely fantastic. I´ve been sailing in the south of Sweden, and of course, done a lot of reading by both Swedish and international writers. Some detective stories slipped by as well.

You have just about returned from IBBY Congress in London. What are your impressions from that visit?
Well, firstly, we have met professionals that we´re working with at the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, that is authors, illustrators and reading promoters. The IBBY Congress is a very important meeting place which gives me inspiration for the fall. A very exciting seminar for me concerned the subject of storytelling. Among the participants were Sonia Nimr, Dashdongdog Jamba and Michael Harvey.

Congratulations to the Greta Renborg marketing award by the way. How do you feel about that?
I´m very happy, but everyone should market libraries. There are books of course, and so much more! The libraries function as a meeting spot for different people from different cultures. For me, libraries are about passion, curiosity and boundlessness.

Last year, the International Library, which you are in charge of, was appointed “The Library of the Year” in Sweden. What´s the key to these successes?
We who work in the library field see the amazing potential that libraries hold. The International Library is a real treasure, where diversity and languages opens up the world for the entire Swedish population. The work of the International Library is built on a base that reflects the diversity of society. That, along with passion, curiosity and boundlessness, are the reasons why we´ve got attention.

Corda Bamba on screen

August 31, 2012

Today is the opening premere for 2004 ALMA recipient Lygia Bojunga’s Corda Bamba (something like Story of a girl on a thightrope, our transl.) at the cinemas. The story is adapted for screen by Eduardo Goldenstein. In Corda Bamba (1979), 10 year old Maria uses her rope to walk into an extraordinary house with a number of closed doors on the other side of the street, what is really taking place is a coming-to-terms with grief after the sudden death of her parents.

Bojunga received the Astrid Lindgren Lindgren Memorial Award in 2004, with the following citation from the jury:

Lygia Bojunga dissolves the boundaries between fantasy and reality with all the exhilarating ease of a child at play. In her dramatic and word of mouth-style narratives the reader is always enabled to enter directly into the dreams and fantasies that her principal characters draw on for survival. In a deeply original way she fuses playfulness, poetic beauty and absurd humour with social critique, a love of freedom and a strong empathy with the vulnerable child.

Larry Lempert receives marketing award

August 28, 2012

Larry Lempert being interviewed after Guus Kuijer’s award lecture at the House of Culture in Stockholm, May 2012. Photo: Stefan Tell

Today Svensk Biblioteksförening (Swedish Library Association) announced Larry Lempert as the recipient of the 2012 Greta Renborg marketing award.  The award amounts to SEK 25 000. The citation of the jury:

“The Greta Renborg’s prize for 2012 has been awarded to Larry Lempert, of the International Library, Stockholm, for his dedicated and long service, in different positions, both nationally and internationally, working to make the library a place for everyone – regardless of age and nationality. When he markets the library service he conveys new ideas and highlights the work of the library as a way and a place to create a love of reading and encourage imagination and knowledge. ”

Larry Lempert is library director of Internationella biblioteket (International Library) in Stockholm and Chairman of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award jury. More about Larry here.

He will be presented with the award on Thursday September 27th, at Göteborg Book Fair.

Congratulations Larry!

Photo: Stefan Tell

Shaun Tan interview in Guardian

August 27, 2012

Award Ceremony 2011. Photo: Stefan Tell.

Couldn´t resist to publish clips from Yasim Sulaiman’s interview with 2011 ALMA recipient Shaun Tan last week.

If you were a superhero what would your superpower be?

Teleportation, it would be pretty useful. In Australia, it’s a very handy thing to have.

Is there an idea by another author you wish you’d had?

There’s a lot of ideas I think are great but I’m glad that the other writer had them, because they’re much better at dealing with them. My friend Markus Zusak wrote a story from the point of view of death, The Book Thief. I thought that’s a great idea, where your omniscient narrator is death. I’m glad he had that idea because I wouldn’t have been able to work so well with it. But I think that was a perfect idea waiting for someone to find it, so that’s one example.

What do you do when you’re struggling for ideas?

I go for a very long walk.

What’s the weirdest thing a fan has given or said to you?

It’s not that weird, but a guy once presented me his leg with an area shaved on it and asked me to draw something that he could have tattooed over. He was quite a young guy so I thought this has to be a really good drawing because he’s going to be stuck with it for a long time. I just remember gripping his leg really hard so it wouldn’t move and drawing this little creature. And later on he sent me a jpeg of his freshly tattooed, very sore looking leg with this little creature on it.

Full article available here.

ALMA at IBBY Congress in London

August 24, 2012

The 33rd IBBY International Congress opened on Thursday in London, entitled Crossing Boundaries: Translations and Migrations. John Dunne, secretary of if IBBY UK opened the session and among the key note speakers were three British Children’s Laureates: Michael Morpurgo, Julia Donaldson and Anthony Browne.

Michael Morpurgo got the idea of introducing a system of children’s laurete for promotion of reading from his friend Ted Hughes, “a laureate for grown up children known as adults”. The idea was not to create celebrities but to inspire children to become readers. During his time he travelled to many countries and his enthusiastic speech led to an immediate invitation to Afghanistan from a congress participant.

lllustrator Anthony Browne focuses on how illustrations can help children to retell a story and Julia Donaldson demonstrated how drama can inspire children to read. Congress participants suddenly found themselves on stage acting as cow, pigs, chickens and goats! The system of children’s laureates is now in traduced in Australia, Ireland, UK, US and Sweden.

The four day program is very extensive and there are many things happening at the same time. Link to programme here.

Michael Morpurgo on stage, the first Children’ Laureate of UK.


Julia Donaldson on stage, the present UK Children’s Laureate.


Former ALMA jury member Birgitta Fransson and present member Elina Druker are two of approx. 600 participants at the33rd World Ibby Congress.


Storyteller Anne Pellowski in conversation with Liz Page, Chief Executive of IBBY.

World premiere for Surrender soon

August 20, 2012

Photo: Riksteatern

On October 3rd its premiere for 2008 ALMA recipient Sonya Hartnett’s Surrender (2005) at Riksteatern. The book has never been adapted for stage earlier. The dramaturgist Ninna Tersman discovered Hartnett’s works while working in New Zealand, reading lots of Australian youth literature. It was the strong psychological descriptions in Surrender that made her want to adapt the book for stage: I like that the story opens up in several levels, there’s a magic dimension while it is a horror story and a thriller at the same time, Tersman says in an interview for news agency TT Spektra.

The award winning Surrender tells the story of young Gabriel:
As life slips away, Gabriel looks back over his brief twenty years that have been clouded by frustration and humiliation. A small town and distant parents ensure that he is never allowed to forget the horrific mistake he made as a child. He has only two friends – his dog Surrender, and the unruly wild boy Finnigan, with whom he made a boyhood pact. When a series of arson attacks grips the town, Gabriel realises how unpredictable and dangerous Finnigan is. Events begin to spiral out of control, and it becomes clear that only the most extreme of measures will rid Gabriel of Finnigan for good.

In the same article, Ninna Tersman emphazises Hartnett’s ability to write about difficult subjects for young people:
In this age you go through so much. It´s so hard to go to high school, I think everyone can remember that, the emotions are so strong. She portrays the lives of young people nuanced, without feeling corrected.

ALMA to Göteborg Book Fair

August 17, 2012

The Swedish Arts Council and ALMA stand during the 2011 Göteborg Book Fair. Photo: Anna von Brömssen.

Göteborg Book Fair
is coming up, and we will participate as usual, this year with a stand program closely conneced to the ALMA anniverssary.

On Thursday September 27 at 2:00 pm, paediatrician and former member of the ALMA jury Lars H Gustafsson discusses children’s rights and Astrid Lindgren’s speech Never Violence! with Kjell Åke Hansson, Managing Director of cultural centre Astrid Lindgren’s Näs (in Swedish).

On Friday September 28 at 11:30 am, journalist Gunilla Kindstrand discusses Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award during 10 years with jury chairman Larry Lempert. This seminar is a retrospect of the award and the previous award recipients (in Swedish).

Swedish Arts Council will present further seminars on children’s literature and reading promotion (all executed in Swedish). Link to Swedish Arts Council’s seminars at our stand here.

Please join us in Swedish Arts Council’s stand no C03:02.

This fall will be an exciting book season

August 15, 2012

Photo: Opal

In September, Guus Kuijer´s Florian Knol will be published in Swedish by book agency Opal (“Florian Knol – ett alldeles vanligt kaos”). The protagonist is Florian, a philosophical young man of about 10 who discovers that what is normal for one person may seem strange to another. A sparrow takes up residence one day in Florian’s red hair, but it soon turns out that the sparrow actually lives in the hair of an old lady, also a redhead. The old lady has dementia, as Florian and his classmate Katja soon realize. But how can they help her? And is it really any stranger to refer to keys as forks than to drink beer for breakfast like Katja’s father? Florian realizes that there are some problems that adults have to fix for themselves, but that friendship across the generational divide is both possible and rewarding. The book was first published (in Dutch) in 2006.

And shortly, Swedish readers can enjoy 2011 ALMA recipient Shaun Tan´s Tales from Outer Suburbia (“Berättelser från yttre förorten”), published by Kabusa. This anthology contains 15 stories from his upbringing in the suburbs; “Yet I think it is also a fine substitute for the medieval forests of fairytale lore, a place of subconscious imaginings. I’ve always found the idea of suburban fantasy very appealing”, Shaun Tan says.

In October, Rabén&Sjögren will publish something quite unique, the story Tomten är vaken (Santa Claus is awake, our transl.), written by Astrid Lindgren herself, with illustrations by 2010 ALMA recipient Kitty Crowther. The manuscript was written around 1960, and has never been published in Sweden before.

Shaun Tan and Kitty Crowther in London

August 9, 2012
Shaun Tan and Kitty Crowther

Photo: Stefan Tell

Two previous recipients of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, Shaun Tan and Kitty Crowther, are invited to the IBBY Congress in London at the end of August. The International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) will hold its 33rd Congress in London, from the 23rd to the 26th August 2012. The theme is Crossing Boundaries: Translations and Migrations. Hundreds of international delegates from all over the world will gather for plenary sessions, seminars and workshops. Shaun Tan will give the keynote speech entitled “Arrivals and departures” on the morning of Saturday the 25th of August. His presentation will be followed by the Illustrators’ Panel which includes Kitty Crowther. See the program for the IBBY Congress:

Congratulations Guus Kuijer!

August 2, 2012


Photo: Stefan Tell

We congratulate Guus Kuijer, who has turned 70 years old!

Photo: Stefan Tell