Researcher and literary critic Lena Kåreland is new member of the ALMA jury since July 1st.
You have written many books focusing on children’s and young adult literature, including one about children’s books in society. What’s your view on the market for children’s books today, with tv- and computer games and social media competing for children and young people’s attention?
I do think it looks as though the Swedish market for children’s books is doing very well. The publications of children’s books have increased, and last year over 1800 titles were published. Other good news is that the Swedish original titles is now outnumbering the translated titles. And there are many, many interesting and exciting books for all ages, from picture books to young adult books. How much the individual child or teenager is reading is difficult to know. I´m sure it varies a lot. Alongside the bookworms there are those who most reluctantly open a book. But it has always been like that. Despite competition from other media the book retains its position, I´m sure about that.
You have studied the works of Astrid Lindgren. What made you curious about her Writing?
For those who work with children’s and young adult literature, it is impossible not to come into contact with Astrid Lindgren. Her importance to the Swedish children’s literature is unique. I wanted to look at her works in a slightly different perspective. She is often considered to work in traditional genres, such as the tale that she renewed and enriched. I preferred to see her as a modernist and therefore chose to write about Pippi Longstocking in the light of Dadaism.
Since many years you have a special interest in French literature and culture. From where does that interest originate?
My interest in France and French culture has followed me since adolescence, when I studied French in Strasbourg. I think Paris is a fantastic city, where I also had the opportunity to live for three years. France is such a rich and varied country, and I try to keep up with cultural happenings as much as possible. It is a pleasure to walk into a French bookstore, where the selection is so rich and appealing.
How do you look upon your new assignment as a member of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award jury?
To be part of the jury for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award is a great honor and very exciting. I’m really looking forward to being part of such a highly qualified group and to discuss literature from all over the world.
What books will you bring to the hammock this summer?
My summer reading will be a French biography of Roland Barthes. It’s a hundred years this year since the French philosopher was born. Then I want to read Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh, a novel that there has been much talk about during the spring. Together with my two grandchildren I hope to read Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows. It is very suited for summer reading.
More about Lena Kåreland here.