Meg Rosoff tonight received the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award from Swedish Minister for Culture and Democracy Mrs. Alice Bah Kuhnke. In her acceptance speech she expressed both praise and criticism.
Rosoff spoke joyfully but also gravely. She expressed pleasure and pride at being recognized for her work as an author. She also described a sense of sorrow for today’s world of child refugees, leaders who know too little about the importance of art, music, and literature for young people, and societies that value lawyers and bankers more than teachers and librarians.
Meg Rosoff emphasized the importance of the imagination, quoting Astrid Lindgren: “Everything great that happened in this world happened first in someone’s imagination.”
– It is a great honour and a great responsibility to carry on the work that Astrid Lindgren began. I am not only grateful for the recognition this prize brings, but for a country that puts such tremendous value on children’s books and children’s imaginations.
In her congratulatory speech, Minister Bah Kuhnke mentioned difficulties facing young people today:
– Teenage-years are a bit like no man´s land. No one is invited to come close and there are no clear sign posts for direction. It is comfortable for the rest of us to keep it on a certain distance. And it can be awfully difficult to dig into our teenagers’ emotions since it forces us to reflect on our own lives. Someone who doesn´t fear this is this year’s laurate of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award; Meg Rosoff.
Musical entertainment was provided by Malena Ernman and Bo Kasper’s Orchestra. Hamadi Khemiri read from Rosoff’s novel, What I Was. The ceremony was hosted by Stockholm City Librarian Katti Hoflin.
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Helene Oljons, Communications Officer
The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA) is the world’s largest award for children’s and young adult literature. The award, which amounts to SEK 5 million, is given annually to a single laureate or to several. Authors, illustrators, oral storytellers and reading promoters are eligible. The award is designed to promote interest in children’s and young adult literature. The UN convention of rights of the child is the foundation of our work. An expert jury selects the laureate(s) from candidates nominated by institutions and organisations all over the world. The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award was founded by the Swedish government in 2002 and is administrated by the Swedish Arts Council.