Tell us about yourself. Who is Johan Palmberg?
That’s a tough question – I’m really not all that different from anyone else. Besides what you already know, I’m very much into music. I play mainly piano in a bunch of different settings. Last year I released an EP with the title Pretend, under the name Johan Nyman och Kol- och stålunionen. It was entirely self-produced and isn’t really relevant here. For obvious reasons, I’m also interested in anything to do with children’s arts and culture. This is a product of my family background and upbringing, when there were always so many great books around to pique my interest. Not just Astrid’s own books, but also books that she helped get published when she worked at publishing houses, and books that were sent to her for other reasons. My interest really blossomed when I first joined Saltkråkan in 2009. I’m really looking forward to getting down to work as a jury member!
You recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science. What attracted you to that subject?
The simple answer is that it was the subject I enjoyed most in high school. Above all, I wanted to acquire some practical tools and skills so that I could analyse society and arrive at well-reasoned opinions on a range of issues. What I should have realized is that the more you learn about something, the less certain you become of it – but in any case, I had fun along the way!
Is there a political issue that you studied with particular interest?
I focused on political theory – the least easy-to-grasp branch of political science – and was primarily interested in the question of what could be considered a fair distribution of resources at both national and global level.
You are Astrid Lindgren’s great-grandson. Do you have any special memories of your great-grandmother?
She was getting on a bit when I arrived on the scene, so I don’t really have any memories of playing games, climbing trees and that sort of thing – I’ve just heard about all that from my dad. What I do remember is that she loved to tell stories about the family, and my grandmother would eagerly fill in the details. These stories were often a bit scary and sad. We used to go to Astrid’s house on Dalagatan for Boxing Day dinner every year. I remember how exciting it was for us kids to be given the run of the house, even though all the furnishings were so fine and felt so valuable. She also had the world’s greatest library, an endless source of fascination.
What will you be reading in your hammock this summer?
I’m going to be at work all summer, so won’t have a lot of hammock time, but I’ve just started reading mot.vidare.mot by Johan Jönson and Jakten mot nollpunkten by Carl-Johan de Geer, which will keep me busy for a while. After that, my plan is to read some of the previous laureates to refresh my memory and get an idea of how the jury thinks. And then I hope to make a start on some of this year’s nominees!