“Good literature saves lives.” Katti Hoflin explains why promoting children’s literature is essential and brings the significance of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA) into even sharper relief. Hoflin will lead the ceremony honoring 2016 ALMA laureate Meg Rosoff on May 30 at the Stockholm Concert Hall.
“The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award is the world’s largest award for children’s literature. The award is a way for Sweden to promote and strengthen truly excellent culture for children and young people. It’s a tremendous thing, and we do it in Astrid’s spirit. I’m honored to be a part of it,” says Katti Hoflin, City Librarian at the Stockholm Public Library.
On the coffee table in Hoflin’s office is a copy of Rosoff’s How I Live Now.
“This is good literature at its best,” Hoflin says as she picks up the book. “She is a wild writer, surprising and wonderful. I’ve read three of her books so far. They are striking for their singular language, their magic, and the way I can climb inside the characters and their worlds and lose myself there. I wish she had been writing 35 years ago, when I was young.”
Her assessment is much like that of the ALMA jury, who wrote:
Meg Rosoff’s young adult novels speak to the emotions as well as the intellect. In sparkling prose, she writes about the search for meaning and identity in a peculiar and bizarre world. Her brave and humorous stories are one-of-a-kind. She leaves no reader unmoved.
Libraries are a sanctuary for young people.
Meg Rosoff, a native of Boston in the United States, is a longtime resident of London. She writes about young people on the threshold between childhood and adult life who are searching, often with difficulty, to find themselves. As a librarian, Hoflin often ponders the place of young people in society and how important it is that libraries be at least as much a space for them as for anyone else.
“For many young people the library is their sanctuary. Library records are confidential. No one can see what you borrow or read. You can come here, meet other people, and help us create the library we want together. You get a quiet place to study and a platform to nurture your inner self. Not to mention the library workers and all their expertise about literature, information searches, source criticism, life in general…It’s all free. All you have to do is walk in.”
Good literature saves lives. It gives us hope, new ideas, and new perspectives. It makes the world a bigger place.
The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award is the world’s largest award for children’s and young adult literature. It seeks to support and strengthen interest in this literature around the world. Katti Hoflin thinks the award is an important recognition of the achievements of artists who work specifically for young people:
“Good literature saves lives. It gives us hope, new ideas, and new perspectives. ALMA brings the world and its literature to children and young people in Sweden and all of us who work in the field. It makes the world a bigger place.”
Interview written by Cissy Avrin and published at the Stockholm City Library web on April 29th. Published here with permission of the Stockholm City Library.