Posts Tagged ‘Astrid Lindgrens Näs’

Yousef Al Muhaimeed about Astrid Lindgren and children’s literature in Sweden

June 18, 2014
Visit to Astrid Lindgren's childhood home at Näs, Vimmerby. Photo: Sergio Guimaraes, Swedish Institute

Visit to Astrid Lindgren’s childhood home at Näs, Vimmerby. Photo: Sergio Guimaraes, Swedish Institute

1537Saudi Arabian journalist and writer Yousef Al Muhaimeed from Al-Jazirah newspaper where one of the participants in the delegation of international media invited by the Swedish Institute to the press program “Culture for Children”. The program content ranged from visit to the House of Culture and Swedish National Television in Stockholm, to visit Astrid Lindgren’s birthplace Vimmerby in the south of Sweden. Here are extracts from his articles, translated from Arabic:

Sweden and the Swedes are proud of their great writer of children’s books; Astrid Lindgren. Astrid Lindgren died in 2002. To honour her memory, the Swedish government founded an international award in her name, the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award.

The award is 5 million SEK, making it the largest international children’s literature award in the world. It has been awarded to writers of different countries of the world over the past twelve years, without going to any Swedish writer, making it the subject of criticism by the Swedes. They wondered how we have been giving this award that bears the name of Astrid Lindgren to so many writers, without awarding a single Swedish writer, despite the fact that children’s literature in Sweden is booming a host of wonderful writers.

This year, things were different; the award went to Swedish children’s writer Barbro Lindgren. I was among four foreign journalists, lucky enough to interview the winner Barbro Lindgren a few hours before the ceremony.

Barbro is a simple, modest lady of seventy, with a great sense of humor. She does not follow a routine with a specific time to write, she says that she goes to write whenever she feels ready but she usually writes on a daily basis…

The best thing about Sweden, the third largest European country, and the least populous, around 9.5 million people on its territory, at a rate of 23 people per square kilometer, is the great interest in children’s literature. This might cause frustration when we compare it to Arab countries in general and to Saudi Arabia in particular.  My country has the human competencies and financial resources to accomplish great projects for children and young people, especially as 60% of our total population is children and young people.

Photo: Sergio Guimaraes, Swedish Institute

Photo: Sergio Guimaraes, Swedish Institute

It is striking that the public libraries of children in Sweden do not contain only paper and electronic books as we might assume in the Arab world. It is an amazing world, where the child, of any age category, might spend a full day without getting bored. In this library, for example, there are several sections for various age groups, from zero to two years, three to six years, seven to nine years, and ten to thirteen years. Each section is designed taking into account the different conditions and needs of children; safety, interests .. etc.  You might see a toddler, accompanied by his father or his mother, crawling around the painted books, just to be familiar with books from early childhood.

All kinds of activities; playing, painting and story-telling are being practiced in the library; the children’s second home !

Astrid Lindgren grew up in a typical Swedish small house at a tiny village called Vimmerby, three hundred and fifty kilometers south of Stockholm. The Swedish Government made the house where Astrid was born a museum open to visitors all the year round. “Astrid Lindgren’s World” includes the author’s childhood home as well as a recently-built exhibition hall. Astrid Lindgren´s World is a unique theatre-park. Here you can meet Pippi, Emil, and all the other characters. It’s Sweden’s largest children’s theatre-park, all based on Astrid Lindgren’s texts. About half a million tourists visit Astrid Lindgren’s World every year. Even though, it might not be compared to the American Disney Land, but it has a unique flavor of Sweden, which is far much better than reproducing the culture of others and imitating their ideas.

Visiting Astrid Lindgren's World in Vimmerby. Photo: Sergio Guimaraes, Swedish Institute

Visiting Astrid Lindgren’s World in Vimmerby. Photo: Sergio Guimaraes, Swedish Institute


Photo: Sergio Guimaraes, Swedish Institute

Photo: Sergio Guimaraes, Swedish Institute

Visiting Astrid Lindgren’s childhood home

May 27, 2014
On the stairs of Astrid Lindgren's childhood home. Photo: Sabina Sakari

On the stairs of Astrid Lindgren’s childhood home. Barbro Lindgren and her dog Mimmi. Photo: Sabina Sakari

Monday was a busy day for Barbro Lindgren in Vimmerby, interviews by national and local media and a visit to Astrid Lindgren’s Näs. She also met with Astrid Lindgren’s relatives and had lunch in her childhood home. The garden inspired Astrid Lindgren to many stories and the lemonade tree is today a tourist attraction.
A photograph taken by the “wall of fame” with previous laureates at Näs was of course a must.

All photos are taken by Sabina Sakari.

“I have no fantasy…”

May 26, 2014

“… I only steal from the reality”, Barbro Lindgren said in an interview with Lena Kjersén Edman at Astrid Lindgren’s Näs on the first day of the award week. On the program today, a visit to Astrid Lindgren’s childhood home and interviews with press. The photos are taken by Sabina Sakari.


2014 Award Week Kicks Off In Vimmerby

May 20, 2014
Barbro Lindgren. Photo: Stefan Tell

Barbro Lindgren. Photo: Stefan Tell

Sunday marks the start of the 2014 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award Week, honouring Barbro Lindgren, the first Swedish ALMA laureate, who will meet her readers throughout the week. Her first stop is Astrid Lindgren’s childhood home, Vimmerby.

“We’re incredibly pleased and honored that Barbro Lindgren will pay her first visit as ALMA laureate to us here at Astrid Lindgren’s Näs,” said Kjell Åke Hansson, CEO of Astrid Lindgren’s Näs.

On Sunday, May 25, residents of Vimmerby can meet Lindgren as she holds a conversation with author and literary scholar Lena Kjersén Edman that will be open to the public at Astrid Lindgren’s Näs. Two more days in Vimmerby are planned, including interviews and meetings with students and teachers at the Astrid Lindgren School and participants in the Astrid Lindgren Conference.

After a day in Stockholm, where she will meet with children and present her Award Lecture, Lindgren will continue to Umeå. She will hold two more public conversations there. Annika Edlund, librarian, ALMA jury member and co-proprietor of Café Pilgatan, the nonprofit bookshop café where Lindgren will join an author’s breakfast, said:

“Getting to meet the recipient of the world’s largest award for children’s and young adult literature is a wonderful opportunity for us. It will be a boost and a salute to children’s and YA literature in general, and an honor for Umeå.”

The Award Ceremony will take place on June 2 at the Stockholm Concert Hall, with Minister for Culture Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth and Crown Princess Victoria in attendance.

Photo: Stefan Tell

Photo: Stefan Tell

“In hand with Alma”

May 8, 2014

Guestblogger this week is Cilla Nergårdh, marketing manager at Astrid Lindgren’s Näs in Vimmerby:

For over ten years, the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award has let us know and be inspired by some of the best authors in the world. For us at Astrid Lindgrens Näs, the place where Astrid Lindgren was born and where her writing begun, it felt like time to lift the prize in a new and challenging way and incorporate the children of Vimmerby in the celebration.

So we came up with the project “Hand in hand with Alma”. It is a project with several goals; to promote children´s reading, to give the prize-winner a chance to meet their Swedish readers and get something back from them, to inspire children to create in their own way, to spread the works of the prize-winner and to involve all of Vimmerby in celebrating the prize.

This year all children at the age of 10-11 years at Astrid Lindgren´s School will read Barbro Lindgren’s works. They will also interpret some of her books in drama and art. Finally they will meet Barbro Lindgren and show her their work and get the chance to ask her all their questions, tell her all their thoughts and hear her talk about her work.

Today we got a visit from the ALMA-jury. Jurymember Mats Kempe met 30 teachers from Astrid Lindgren´s School and introduced Barbro Lindgren´s writing. He talked about “The loving relationship (but oh, so complex)” in Barbro Lindgren´s writing. By reading from different books – he showed in an exciting way how Barbro Lindgren is exploring the relationship between people who are close but also the tension between testing borders and challenging fears and caretaking and responsibility. We all, teachers and parents, laughed in recognition when he said that reading Barbro Lindgren as a grown up is like riding a roller coaster.

Mats Kempe. Photo: Astrid Lindgren's Näs

Mats Kempe. Photo: Astrid Lindgren’s Näs

I have read almost all books by Barbro Lindgren, most of them I have read many times. When my children were small I read them again and experienced them in a new way – not as the child hungry for action, eager to conquer the world – but as a parent who´s responsibility it is to watch over small adventurers. Now I feel I have to read them all a third time as a mother of two teenagers on their way into adult life. I can hardly wait.

Cilla Nergårdh

Photo: Astrid Lindgren's Näs

Photo: Astrid Lindgren’s Näs

Christmas Eve at Näs 1913

December 11, 2013
Astrid Lindgren's childhood home at Näs.

Astrid Lindgren’s childhood home at Näs.

Travel a hundred years back in time at Näs in Vimmerby, in the south of Sweden. It was here Astrid Anna Emilia Ericsson was born more than 100 years ago. Her father was tenant farmer at the rectory. Today cultural centre Astrid Lindgren’s Näs start guided tours at her childhood home focusing on how the Ericsson family celebrated Christmas when Astrid was a girl.

Learn more about the family’s Christmas traditions, and to be more exact, to Astrid Lindgren’s strongest Christmas memory dated back to 1913. Smell the aroma of cinnamon and cloves, and listen to Astrid’s father Samuel August reading the Christmas Gospel in a unique recording.

Link to Astrid Lindgren’s Näs here.


Opening of Emil exhibition at Astrid Lindgren’s Näs

June 17, 2013
Mark Levengood. Photo: Astrid Lindgren's Näs.

Mark Levengood. Photo: Astrid Lindgren’s Näs.

Author and presenter Mark Levengood opened the new summer exhibition at Astrid Lindgren’s Näs yesterday. The theme this year is Emil in Lönneberga, and visitors can learn more about how Astrid Lindgren created the Emil stories, and her successful co-operation with illustrator Björn Berg. Many original illustrations by Björn Berg are exhibited at Näs.

– Emil shows that all people must be allowed to make mistakes and still be loved for whom they are. Hence the need for Emil today and in all times henceforth, said Mark Levengood in his opening speech.

The exhibition also contains screening of a newly produced film about the actual connection between Näs and the making of the Emil stories.

Furthermore, every Sunday both children and adults have the possibility to carve in wood in the wood shed next to Näs – just like Emil.

The exhibition is open until September 8.

Cover of Emil in Lönneberga by Björn Berg. Copyright Björn Berg / Bildmakarna Berg AB 2013.

Cover of Emil in Lönneberga by Björn Berg. Copyright Björn Berg / Bildmakarna Berg AB 2013.


Björn Berg. Photo: Bertil Jigert.

Björn Berg. Photo: Bertil Jigert.


14 days to go!

March 12, 2013
Larry Lempert during the 2011 announcement at Astrid Lindgren's Näs. Photo: Emma Jansson

Larry Lempert during the 2011 announcement at Astrid Lindgren’s Näs. Photo: Emma Jansson

Follow the countdown to this year’s announcement! Only 14 days to go, today! Here are the details:

This year’s recipient or recipients of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award will be announced on Tuesday March 26 at 1:00 pm.

The announcement will take place at Astrid Lindgren’s Näs in Vimmerby, where the Jury Chairman Larry Lempert will announce the recipient or recipients after the jury’s final meeting. At the same time a press conference is held at the international children’s book fair in Bologna, in the presence of the Swedish Minister for Culture Mrs. Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth. A presentation of the recipient will be given by a member of the jury after the announcement.

For this year’s award, 207 candidates from 67 countries are nominated. The nominating bodies come from all around the world and consist of international, national and regional groups with extensive and in-depth knowledge of children’s and young adult literature within their language area.

The award, which amounts to 5 million Swedish kronor (approx. 560 000 EUR), is given to one or more authors, illustrators or reading promoters working in the spirit of Astrid Lindgren and whose work is characterized by the highest artistic quality.

The announcement will be broadcast live on High quality videos for Television Broadcast will be available on

The previous recipients of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award are: Guus Kuijer (2012), Shaun Tan (2011), Kitty Crowther (2010), Tamer Institute (2009), Sonya Hartnett (2008), Banco del Libro (2007), Katherine Paterson (2006), Philip Pullman (2005), Ryôji Arai (2005), Lygia Bojunga (2004), Christine Nöstlinger (2003) and Maurice Sendak (2003).

Kerstin Brunnberg, chairman of the Swedish Arts Councel being interviewed by Swedish National Radio during the 2011 announcement. Photo: Emma Jansson

Kerstin Brunnberg, chairman of the Swedish Arts Council being interviewed by Swedish National Radio during the 2011 announcement. Photo: Emma Jansson

Guus Kuijer in Vimmerby

May 27, 2012

At Astrid Lindgren’s Näs in Vimmerby. Photo: Emma Jansson.

Guus Kuijer made a two day visit to Vimmerby last week. He gave a lecture at the biannual Astrid Lindgren conference focusing on children’s right to be respected for what they are. Commenting on children’s literature he concluded -”Let’s strive for quality and not popularity”.

Visiting the permanent exhibition “The whole world’s Astrid Lindgren” at Näs, where the life and work of Astrid Lindgren is presented. Photo: Emma Jansson.

Astrid Lindgren’s relatives gave a much appreciated guided tour of the house where Astrid Lindgren spent her childhood. This and the museum of Astrid Lindgren’s life and works made a great impact on the writer who was also much impressed of her influence in public debate.   

Photo: Emma Jansson.

Guus Kuijer also had time for a walk in the park The World of Astrid Lindgren where visitors can experience characters from Astrid Lindgren’s books.

Guus Kuijer to Stockholm

May 16, 2012

The ALMA award week is coming up! Guus Kuijer arrives in Stockholm on Tuesday May 22, and a whole week of events surroundig the award ceremony starts, including appearances at Kulturhuset (house of culture) and Riksdagsbiblioteket (the parliamentary library).

“There’s plenty of variety on the programme. I’m really looking forward to hearing Guus Kuijer talk about his writings at Kulturhuset,” said Helen Sigeland, director of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. “The conversation with Lars H. Gustafsson at Riksdagsbiblioteket will be fascinating, too, and Dutch speakers will have an exclusive opportunity to enjoy an evening of readings.”

Award week programme
22 May: Lecture at Kulturhuset (house of culture) in Stockholm. Guus Kuijer talks about his writings. Open to the public, admission free.
23 May: Guus Kuijer in conversation with Lars H. Gustafsson, paediatrician and ALMA jury member, at Riksdagsbiblioteket. Open to the public, no registration required.
24 May: Reading at Internationella biblioteket (the international library) in Stockholm (in Dutch).
25 May: Lecture at the Astrid Lindgren conference in Vimmerby.
26 May: Visit to Astrid Lindgren’s Näs and Lindgren’s childhood home in Vimmerby.
28 May: Award ceremony at Stockholm Concert Hall. HRH Crown Princess Victoria will present the award in the presence of Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth, Minister for Culture.

Kulturhuset is also paying tribute to Kuijer by organising workshops for children and young people, and Skansen, the open-air museum in Stockholm, will arrange an event of celebrating children’s books.