Archive for the ‘Jury’ Category

Jury member Annika Edlund awarded the Minerva Prize

October 23, 2014
Photo: Stefan Tell

Photo: Stefan Tell

Children’s librarian and literary educator Annika Edlund has been announced as recipient of Umeå County’s Minerva Prize, which rewards practitioners or promoters of cultural activities related primarily to Västerbotten, in the north of Sweden. This is the citation of the jury (our translation):

“Many people today are talking about a crisis in children’s and youths reading and falling figures concerning lending of books in libraries. That does not apply for Umeå. Umeå residents are using their libraries significantly more than the national average. The same applies to the lending of children’s books, where Umeå has twice as high figures compared with the national average. There are various explanations behind these successes. The most important explanation is that Umeå has many skilled and dedicated librarians who every day make a considerable effort to stimulate and increase peoples interest in books and reading. Annika Edlund is one of these librarians.

Annika is sometimes called ”the super librarian”, an epithet she more than well deserves. For a long time she has been a professional and dedicated volunteer working to increase interest and love of reading for children’s and young adult literature. That has given her a legitimate seat in the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award jury which annually distributes the world’s finest and largest children’s and young adult literature. She is also one of the founders of the widely spread and highly appreciated reading promotion program at Ersboda Library, the later Grubbe Library, in collaboration with various associations, educational associations and booksellers in Umeå. Annika is also one of the founders and a driving force behind the Book Café Pilgatan which now has developed into a nationally well known and very popular meeting place for Swedish and international authors, lecturers and habitants in Umeå interested in literature and adult education. Therefore Annika Edlund deserves Umeå municipality’s Minerva Prize for 2014, when Umeå is European Capital of Culture.”

Annika Edlund has been a member of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award jury since 2012.

Hello there, Katarina Kieri

July 30, 2014
Katarina Kieri. Photo: Daniel Werkmäster

Katarina Kieri. Photo: Daniel Werkmäster

Katarina Kieri is member of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award jury since July 1st. Her body of work encompasses novels, poetry and short stories for children, young adults and adults. Initially she intended to write only poetry, but she later felt increasingly drawn to the prose medium.

Tell us about yourself. Who is Katarina Kieri?

A description might sound like this: Born in Luleå with deep roots in the Torne Valley. An author who write books instead of going around feeling ashamed about oneself.

You have published two novels, four collections of poetry and a dozen children’s books since your debut in 1993. You´ve also written several plays. What’s your relationship to the different genres?

For me, the dividing line is not between writing for adults or for children and young people, but between the prose on one hand, and poetry, drama and picture books on the other. The former is all about structuring thoughts in a line that fairly can be followed. The latter is more out of being in some kind of state and to try to describe it. It’s a totally different way to behave in terms of work. In one case I sit on my chair at my desk working all day. In the second case I wander restlessly around anywhere, which is pretty exhausting.

You are trained recreation teacher and worked as such for nearly ten years. How has that influenced your writing?

Actually most as an extraordinarily wrong choice in my life. When I had worked as a recreation teacher for eight years my whole body screamed after change. And, as I´m a lucky person living in one of the world’s richest countries, I had the possibility to sit down and think about what I really wanted to do. It didn´t take long before the answer became obvious to me. I wanted to grab hold of my writing. When I visit school classes now days, I usually say that it’s good to go the wrong way, because then you know you should change direction.

What gives you inspiration in your writing?

Complications within and between people. And the fact that we are so wonderfully irrational and contradictory. For example.

What will you be reading in your hammock this summer?

I will read a biography of Tove Jansson, a randomly selected Moomin book and Eyvind Johnson’s novel Romanen om Olof (The novel about Olaf). Everything might not be read, but to me the dream about summer reading is almost as good as the actual reading.

A few questions to the new Jury Chairman Boel Westin

July 29, 2014


Boel Westin. Photo: Eva Dalin

Boel Westin. Photo: Eva Dalin

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?

Light in August by William Faulkner – I want to read more of him – and a book on how to start stories with lots of examples, “Great beginnings.”

Hello there, Anna Höglund

July 8, 2014
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.

Johan Palmberg, great-grandchild of Astrid Lindgren and new member of the jury

July 4, 2014
Johan Palmberg. Photo: Saltkråkan

Johan Palmberg. Photo: Saltkråkan

Johan Palmberg works as a rights agent for Astrid Lindgren’s books and is Astrid Lindgren’s great-grandson. Since July 1 he is member of the jury.

Tell us about yourself. Who is Johan Palmberg?

That’s a tough question – I’m really not all that different from anyone else. Besides what you already know, I’m very much into music. I play mainly piano in a bunch of different settings. Last year I released an EP with the title Pretend, under the name Johan Nyman och Kol- och stålunionen. It was entirely self-produced and isn’t really relevant here. For obvious reasons, I’m also interested in anything to do with children’s arts and culture. This is a product of my family background and upbringing, when there were always so many great books around to pique my interest. Not just Astrid’s own books, but also books that she helped get published when she worked at publishing houses, and books that were sent to her for other reasons. My interest really blossomed when I first joined Saltkråkan in 2009. I’m really looking forward to getting down to work as a jury member!

You recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science. What attracted you to that subject?

The simple answer is that it was the subject I enjoyed most in high school. Above all, I wanted to acquire some practical tools and skills so that I could analyse society and arrive at well-reasoned opinions on a range of issues. What I should have realized is that the more you learn about something, the less certain you become of it – but in any case, I had fun along the way!

Is there a political issue that you studied with particular interest?

I focused on political theory – the least easy-to-grasp branch of political science – and was primarily interested in the question of what could be considered a fair distribution of resources at both national and global level.

You are Astrid Lindgren’s great-grandson. Do you have any special memories of your great-grandmother?

She was getting on a bit when I arrived on the scene, so I don’t really have any memories of playing games, climbing trees and that sort of thing – I’ve just heard about all that from my dad. What I do remember is that she loved to tell stories about the family, and my grandmother would eagerly fill in the details. These stories were often a bit scary and sad. We used to go to Astrid’s house on Dalagatan for Boxing Day dinner every year. I remember how exciting it was for us kids to be given the run of the house, even though all the furnishings were so fine and felt so valuable. She also had the world’s greatest library, an endless source of fascination.

What will you be reading in your hammock this summer?

I’m going to be at work all summer, so won’t have a lot of hammock time, but I’ve just started reading mot.vidare.mot by Johan Jönson and Jakten mot nollpunkten by Carl-Johan de Geer, which will keep me busy for a while. After that, my plan is to read some of the previous laureates to refresh my memory and get an idea of how the jury thinks. And then I hope to make a start on some of this year’s nominees!

New members of the jury for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award

June 10, 2014

The Swedish Arts Council has appointed four new members of the jury for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. The new chairman from July 1 is Boel Westin, who has been Professor of Literature at Stockholm University since 1998, with a special focus on literature for children and young adults. She is Chief Editor of A History of Swedish Children´s Literature which is due to be published next year and internationally well-known for her biography on Tove Jansson.

Boel Westin. Photo: Eva Dalin

Boel Westin. Photo: Eva Dalin

– It’s an honour and an interesting task that I’m really looking forward to, says Boel Westin. The award has an important place in international children’s literature and it will be exciting to discuss all the nominees with my new colleagues.

The other new jury members are author and illustrator Anna Höglund, author Katarina Kieri and political science graduate Johan Palmberg, who represents Astrid Lindgren’s family. Previous chairman Larry Lempert will remain on the jury as an ordinary member for one year, while the others have been appointed for a period of four years.

Anna Höglund and Katarina Kieri have both won multiple awards for their books. Anna Höglund, who illustrates other people’s books as well as her own, most recently won the Snowball award for best Swedish picture book for Om detta talar man endast med kaniner (You only talk about this with rabbits) and has previously received prizes including the German Children’s Literature Award, the August Prize and the Elsa Beskow Plaque.

Katarina Kieri has published novels, poetry collections and ten books for children and young adults. Her awards include the August Prize, Tidningen Vi’s Literature Prize and the Astrid Lindgren Prize. Her latest children’s book Månkan och jag har en hemlighet (Månkan and I have a secret), which came out earlier this year, is a co-operation with illustrator Emma Virke.

Johan Palmberg recently moved back to Sweden after a year in London and, like his predecessor Annika Lindgren, works at Saltkråkan AB on copyright issues concerning the works of Astrid Lindgren.

– The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award has a jury whose expertise is both broad and deep, comments Staffan Forssell, Director General of the Swedish Arts Council. Like their predecessors, the new members possess both knowledge and integrity, while the fact that Larry Lempert is staying on brings continuity to the work of the jury.

The new jury members replace Mats Berggren, Ulf Boëthius, Ulla Rhedin and Annika Lindgren. The new jury will meet for the first time in August and will announce the nominees for the 2015 award at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October.

Anna Höglund. Photo: Stefan Tell. Lilla Piratförlaget.

Anna Höglund. Photo: Stefan Tell. Lilla Piratförlaget.

Katarina Kieri. Photo: Daniel Werkmäster

Katarina Kieri. Photo: Daniel Werkmäster


Johan Palmberg. Photo: Saltkråkan

Johan Palmberg. Photo: Saltkråkan

35 days left until March 25

February 18, 2014


With 35 days left to the final meeting, the ALMA-jury gathered at the Swedish Arts Council today.

On March 25 they will reach a decision on the2014 laureate (s), which will be announced at 1:00 pm CET.

Photographer André Sebastie documented the jury during one of the breaks.


Ulf Boëthius and Elina Druker.

Ulf Boëthius and Elina Druker.

“I´m one of those boys who never grew up.”

February 15, 2013


Three members of the ALMA jury: Lennart Eng, Stefan Casta and Ulf Boëthius. Photo: Stefan Tell.

Three members of the ALMA jury: Lennart Eng, Stefan Casta and Ulf Boëthius. Photo: Stefan Tell.

ALMA jury member Stefan Casta is a highly productive author and one of Sweden’s most respected writer for children and young adults. No less than three of his books will be launched this spring, Stora mesboken (non-fiction book about birds, with illustrations by Staffan Ullström) was launched in January, and books soon to be published are Blåbärspatrullen och vampyren på vinden (Blueberry patrol and the vampyre in the attic, our trans., illustrations by Mimmi Tollerup) and Sofi’s expedition (illustrations by Bo Mossberg), a nature science book.

Tell us about your writing, how do you manage to be this productive?

I do not think of myself as a particularly productive writer. On the contrary, I think I work very slowly. Almost all my books are projects that have taken several years to produce. “Stora mesboken” for example, is a project that has taken me four years to write. For me, writing is about shifting between different genres. I write novels for young people, picture books and non-fiction. This means that I often have books in various stages, one  that is “resting” a little, one or two that are about to be published and one that is only at a conceptual stage. It’s fun and actually quite constructive to switch between such different projects. Perhaps it is this that makes me regarded as productive?

From where do you get inspiration?

What drives me to write is all the questions I still have. About life itself. About us as humans and all animals on this amazing planet. What will happen? I´m one of those boys who never grew up. I think that´s a gift, because it gives you a certain perspective. When you are little, you hold the whole universe in your hand. That´s the feeling I´m trying to maintain.

In your upcoming book (about the Blueberry patrol) one of the children’s father is hiding a refugee family. When the children discover this, they protect the family, by lying to the police among other things. What reactions have you received on the book?

I don´t think this should be exaggerated. The adventures of the Blueberry Patrol are often quite cozy and a little bit exciting. This is the seventh book, and here the children discover a hidden refugee family in an attic. Naturally, whey want to help to protect the family. I didn´t think that this would be controversial. Many refugees have been hidden in exactly this way. But I recently heard from my publisher that the Danish publisher, who usually prints the books about the Blueberry Patrol, found the topic too delicate and turned the book down. It made me very surprised.

Has your work within the ALMA jury added ideas to your work as a writer?

For me, reading and writing have always belonged together. I´ve had the privilege to work in a context where reading and conversations about books have been in focus. This mission within the ALMA jury is of course very special, as the nominees are from all around the world. Personally I think that it´s incredibly stimulating to take part of the work of reading promoters from other countries. And I am quite convinced that it makes me a better and more conscious as a writer.

Photo: Stefan Tell

Photo: Stefan Tell


Image: Opal Publishing House

Image: Opal Publishing House

Image: Opal Publishing House

Image: Opal Publishing House


Congrats Elina Druker!

October 30, 2012
Photo: Stefan Tell

Elina Druker, PhD and member of the ALMA jury, has been appointed University Lecturer in comparative literature with at focus on children and young people. This is the first lectureship with this direction at Stockholm University. The award office caught Elina for a comment between her lectures at the university.

Congratulations on your new job! What significance does it have, do you think, that Stockholm University has instituted this lectureship?

Thanks, I´m really happy! Stockholm University has had a professorship in literature focusing on children’s and young adult literature since the early 80s. It’s great that we get a lectureship in the same direction, it will strengthen our literary profile further.

What are the current issues within the research field of children’s and young adult literature today internationally?

The Research areas expand in different directions, indicating that the topic has been established in many countries. Intermedial research, gender studies and cognitive studies are exciting areas among other things.

You are involved in the project “Children’s Literature, Culture and Cognition”, can you tell us about this?

It is a series of books on new European and Scandinavian children’s literature research, which will be launched soon. We are four editors from four different countries, so it is a very exciting and stimulating cooperation.

Do you have any hopes and aims with this new lectureship?

My special interest is picture books, so I hope to draw attention to the picture book further in my work. It is an area within children’s literature where very much is happening right now, both in Sweden and internationally.

Elina Druker begins her new employment on February 1, 2013.

Crowded Book After-Work with Mats Berggren

October 10, 2012

Yesterday, Mats Berggren, author and member of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award jury, held an inspiring lecture arranged by reading promoting project ”Children and Books” in Stockholm.  In a very compelling and personal way Mats talked about his own writing experiences as well as giving an insight into the works of the ALMA recipients to the audience (pedagogues and teachers
from schools in Stockholm).

“Children and Books” is a project aiming to stimulate children’s love for reading and to improve their language development. The project is a collaboration between Stockholm City Library, Skansen, the Education Department at Stockholm City and the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award.