Boel Westin is Professor of literature at Stockholm University, specializing in children’s and young adult literature, as well as researcher and literary critic. Since July 1 she is Chairman of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award jury.
Tell us about yourself. Who is Boel Westin?
I was born in Lund, but moved to Stockholm when I was about seven. I´ve always loved books and literature of all kinds. I worked with management a few years after taken my Bachelor degree, but when I started study for a PhD in Comparative Literature, I felt that I had come to the right place.
You are known internationally for your biography of Tove Jansson. What is it about her that fascinates you?
Her aesthetic diversity. Tove Jansson was a universal genius with a sumptuous expression longing and she worked in a lot of different genres as a writer and artist. In her works, there is both passion and emotion, politics and ideology, and through the Moomin world she has developed a philosophy and various attitudes to life. We can recognize ourselves and not the least our surroundings in the stories. They can interpret the world around us.
Tell us about your work as Chief Editor of A New History of Swedish Children´s Literature!
The research work is very exciting and also very instructive.The Swedish history of children’s literature has not previously been written in the long perspective that we work with, that is, from the 1300s to today. New conclusions come up which I hope will to be able to change historiography, especially when it comes to older children’s and young adult literature and the perception of children’s reading in earlier times.
What will you be reading in your hammock this summer?