Lennart Hellsing dies at the age of 96

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Lennart Hellsing (1919-2015). Photo: Thron Ullberg, Rabén&Sjögren

The Swedish writer Lennart Hellsing began writing rhymes and verses for children and adults in 1945 and had a unique ability to combine wisdom and absurdism with playfulness. He was a cross-border writer not respecting genre or age and his production includes some hundred titles for children and adults.

Lennart Hellsing was one of the writers reforming Swedish children’s literature after World War II. He protested against what he found “conservative, sacral, formal and frankincense-smelling” in older literature. With his books he wanted to give children joy and happiness, often mixed with a breath of rebellion and anarchy. In his poetic world the doors are always open for adventures, movements and constant changes.

With Hellsing children’s literature began to be taken seriously. He urged for academic research and took action for the Swedish Institute for Children’s Books to be established in 1965. He also translated rhymes and verses into Swedish, especially English nursery rhymes.

Lena Kåreland, Professor Emerita in Literature at Uppsala University and member of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award jury

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Lennart Hellsing (1919-2015). Photo: Ulf Blumentahl, Rabén&Sjögren

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