Hello there, Anna Höglund

Photo: Stefan Tell

Photo: Stefan Tell

Anna Höglund is considered one of Sweden’s leading illustrators. Since July 1 she is member of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award jury.

Tell us about yourself. Who is Anna Höglund?

Born and raised in Stockholm. Five children, one dog, one cat, six chickens and a nice husband.

Never had any time for school and authority figures. Quit school in eighth grade and left home.

Reading, writing and drawing have always been my lifeline. I published my first picture book at the age of 20, thinking it would be a good way to fund my painting career. I was terribly disappointed by the financial outcome, but all I wanted to do after that was to create picture books. For me it’s the ultimate form of expression.

Your latest book, Om detta talar man endast med kaniner (This Is Something You Talk About Only With Rabbits), has attracted a lot of attention and was nominated for the 2013 August Literary Award, among other prizes. It has been described as “one of this year’s boldest and most ambitious Swedish picture books,because it takes the sadness of the young protagonist very seriously, and because it stands out as a picture book about and for teenagers.” How did the book come to be?

I wanted to console a certain 13-year-old. However, as the young person concerned correctly pointed out, it is perhaps mostly about myself. Pictures can sometimes express what lies behind the words.

It can be helpful to tackle subjects that people find it hard to talk about. The way fairytales and dreams do.

Isol, last year’s ALMA recipient, believes that a book actually has two authors: one for the text and one for the pictures. Do you agree?

Yes, when I’m illustrating someone else’s work. But sometimes, when I’m creating my own stories, text and pictures flow together and can’t really be separated.

What will you be reading in your hammock this summer?

Jeanette Winterson’s book about art will last me a long time. I’ll read half a page, let my thoughts wander, have a nap, wake up invigorated and read some more.

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