Posts Tagged ‘helen sigeland’

Magnificent opening of the IBBY Congress

September 11, 2014

Jella Lepman, founder of IBBY.


Wally De Doncker

The grand opening of IBBY’s 34th World Congress in Mexico City began with the Director and author Wally De Doncker giving an honorable speech about IBBY’s founder Jella Lepman, who was convinced that books can build bridges of peace and understanding between people and countries. The opening continued with more speeches, dinner and finally, after jubilant applauses, acceptance speech of the the laureates of the Hans Christian Andersen Award, illustrator Roger Mello from Brazil, and author Nahoko Uehashi from Japan. The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award is represented by Director Helen Sigeland and jurymember Annika Edlund.



ALMA to the IBBY Congress in Mexico City

August 25, 2014

Cartel 2014 lema y logos agrandados_junio.2012
The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award will participate in the international IBBY Congress in Mexico City September 10-13. The Congress gathers more than 130 speakers from 50 different countries; including David Almond, Daniel Goldin, Monika Zak, María Teresa Andruetto, Agustín Fernández Paz and Alicia Molina.

– International reading promoters will be meet at the Congress in Mexico City, says Director Helen Sigeland. Participation is part of our effort to spread knowledge of the award and the laureates, and to establish valuable contacts.

IBBY The International Board on Books for Young People is a non-profit organization that represents an international network of people from all over the world who are committed to bringing books and children together. Today, it is composed of seventy seven National Sections.

Release of list of Nominated Candidates for 2014 on October 10

October 3, 2013
Photo: Frankfurt Book Fair (2012)

Photo: Frankfurt Book Fair (2012)

The list of nominated candidates for the 2014 Award will be announced on October 10. Jury Chairman Larry Lempert presents the list at the international Book Fair in Frankfurt. The program begins at 4:00 pm with a welcome speech by Gabi Rauch-Kneer, Vice President of the Frankfurt Book Fair. Then the works of this year’s laureate Isol is presented. ALMA Director Helen Sigeland will talk about the upcoming events of ALMA Before Larry Lempert makes the announcement at 4:40.A digital list in alphabetical order and interview with Larry Lempert will be available on our web after the announcement!

Save the date for March 26th

January 30, 2013

Now it´s time to note the date for this year’s announcement: March 26 at 1:00 pm! Then one (or several) of the 207 nominated candidates will be revealed as the 2013 recipient. The announcement will be broadcast live on our web and streamed to the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, which is the world’s most important international event dedicated to children’s literature.

The announcement will take place in Vimmerby, a small town on the countryside in the southern parts of Sweden. Announcing the recipient at Näs is symbolic, of course. Astrid Lindgren was born here more than 100 years ago. Her childhood at Näs has been described as very happy, she often played games with her three siblings in the playground on the Näs property. The cultural centre Astrid Lindgren’s Näs is situated next to Astrid’s childhood home, and here the chairman of the jury, Larry Lempert, will reveal the recipient or recipients name after the final jury meeting in the morning of the 26th.

At the same time, a press conference takes place at the Illlustrator’s café at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, where the announcement from Vimmerby is broadcast on a screen. The audience consist of international trade representatives, literature experts, reading promoters, authors, illustrators, journalists etc etc. The tension is usually excruciating minutes before the announcement. Could it be that the recipient or a publisher is actually sitting in the audience?

Astrid Lindgren at the stairs of her childhood home at Näs.

Astrid Lindgren at the stairs of her childhood home at Näs.

Kitty Crowther (2010 recipient) at the same stairs, during the 2010 award week. Photo: Stefan Tell.

Kitty Crowther (2010 recipient) at Näs, during the 2010 award week. Photo: Stefan Tell.

Same stairs again, this time with Guus Kuijer (2012 recipient), Maria Tunek (left), librarian at Näs,  and Corrie Kuijer. Visiting Näs was part of the 2012 award week programme. Photo: Stefan Tell.

Näs again, this time with Guus Kuijer (2012 recipient), Maria Tunek (left), librarian at Näs, and Corrie Kuijer. Visiting Näs was part of the 2012 award week programme. Photo: Stefan Tell.

Larry Lempert at the announcement at Näs 2011. Photo: Emma Jansson

Larry Lempert at the announcement at Näs 2011. Photo: Emma Jansson

The announcement at Illustrator’s café 2012. Photo: Stefan Tell

The announcement at Illustrator’s café 2012. Photo: Stefan Tell

Guus Kuijer’s publisher Bärbel Dorweiler was sitting in the audience! She is congratulated by ALMA director Helen Sigeland. Photo: Stefan Tell.

Guus Kuijer’s publisher Bärbel Dorweiler was sitting in the audience! She was congratulated by ALMA director Helen Sigeland. Photo: Stefan Tell.

Get under the surface of the recipients’ works

January 11, 2013


Today, we launch reading guides for twelve works by ten previous recipients. The reading guides contain an introduction of the author, description of the contents, a suggested interpretation and topics for discussions. They can be a really good way to get under the surface of our recipient’s books. Many thought-provoking questions are put forward, such as Does the reader feel sympathy with the man in the story, and if so why? (The arrival) Why is it so important for Gilly to do well at school and come top in all the tests? (The Great Gilly Hopkins) There are different kinds of friendship – one is the kind between an adult/old person and a child/young person. How does such a friendship differ from one between people of the same age? (My Friend the Painter).

Award director Helen Sigeland comments the launch in this morning’s press release:

– The Astrid Lindgren Memorial is not just an award focusing on a specific writer, illustrator or organisation when the award is presented, it is an ongoing reading promotion project. We are promoting the best books in the world for young people in as many ways as possible. Hopefully these reading guides will inspire teachers and librarians to include these books in curriculums, reading clubs and workshops. And maybe they can give publishing houses ideas for translations!

The guides are based on the following books: Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, Maikäfer, flieg! (Fly Away Home) by Christine Nöstlinger, O Meu Amigo Pintor (My Friend the Painter) by Lygia Bojunga, Northen Lights by Philip Pullman, Basu ni Notte by Ryôji Arai, The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson, The Ghost’s Child by Sonya Hartnett, The Devil Latch by Sonya Hartnett, Alors? by Kitty Crowther, Lénfant Racine by Kitty Crowther, The Arrival by Shaun Tan and Het Boek Van Alle Dingen(The Book of Everything) by Guus Kuijer.

The reading guides are written by members of the jury who are experts in children’s and young adult literature.

Link to Reading Guides here.

Why not read a really good book?

December 21, 2012

We suspect that many of you blog readers might have some lazy vacation days in front of you now. Why not read a really good book? Here are some suggestions from the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award.

Mats Berggren. Photo: Stefan Tell.

Mats Berggren

Mats Berggren, member of the jury:

I´ll put your letters under the mattress – A correspondence 1971 – 2002 (our transl.) by Astrid Lindgren and Sara Schwardt (Salikon 2012). The best book I´ve read this fall. I was expecting some Astrid Lindgren curiosities, but this is something much more. Sara’s drama, which emerges through the letters, is captivating, I read the entire book at one sitting to find out how it went. She writes well, she is after all only 12 years old when the book begins. There is a directness in the teenage heart that makes me think of Barbro Lindgren’s books. Astrid is very skilled at being personal enough to get Sara to open herself. A the same time you get clues about Astrid herself – she complains about how hard it is to write, it took an entire spring to finish the last two chapters of the Brothers Lionheart.

Elina Druker. Photo: Stefan Tell.

Elina Druker


Elina Druker, member of the jury:

I´d like to recommend Kitty Crowther’s Le Petit Homme et Dieu (Pastel 2010,The Little Man and God , our transl., not yet published in English), a picture book about a little man who meets a strange creature in the forest, a creature that turns out to be God. The book, which is skillfully translated by Lennart Hellsing, is a fun but also staggering story that raises news thoughts and questions, and is perfect for both younger and older readers.

Helen Sigeland.

Helen Sigeland

Helen Sigeland, Director:

The Children of the King by Sonya Hartnett (Penguin Australia 2012) is set in World War II England. Two children, Cecily and Jeremy, are sent to live in the country to escape the bombing in London. The two siblings and ten-year-old May soon find mysterious ruins and learn about a terrible legend involving two missing children relating to Richard III. This is a wonderful thrilling novel about power and effect of war for (young) adults. Read it!

Annika Edlund.

Annika Edlund

Annika Edlund, member of the jury:

I can recommend the book Florian Knol by Guus Kuijer (Querido 2006). Florian is an ordinary boy with an unusually large and red hair. A small sparrow sits on his head and Florian names the sparrow Nico. Katya from his school, who is a grade above him, explains that she is in love with him, and that makes Florian’s tummy tickle. At the same time he’s thinking about whether he´s really ready for love, or if he is mature enough to take care of an old person…
… because in the neighboring house old Mrs Raaphorst lives, and she has forgot her key. That´s in itself not that serious, but Florian is perplexed as she talks about a fork when she apparently means a key. There is something very confusing about this. Together with Katya, he decides to help the old lady, whom they call granny.

The book of Florian Knol is a wonderful story about understanding, forgetfulness and love, written by this year’s award recipient, Guus Kuijer. The book was published in 2006 in Dutch, and this year in Swedish. I was delighted and had such a good feeling in my whole body while reading this book. It´s a philosophical and loving book for everyone.

(All images above are taken by photographer Stefan Tell.)

Helen Sigeland receives honor from the Swedish Academy

December 20, 2012


Today, Helen Sigeland, Director of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, was honored by the Swedish Academy for her many years of introducing Swedish culture abroad. The announcement was made at the Academy’s Grand Hall in Stockholm.

Congratulations Helen! How does it feel to receive a recognition like this?

Overwhelming, this was nothing I ever expected. I’m grateful and very honored of course. And surprised!

You have long experience in working with literature issues at an international level, both at the Swedish Arts Council and the Swedish Institute. What have been most rewarding during these years?

Hard to say but the contacts with professionals from all over the world have been very rewarding, writers, publishers and of course the translators! Without these we would not have any Swedish books published abroad.

What are the main challenges working with introducing any literature internationally today, do you think?

You have to have someone to cooperate with in the country in question and sometimes it takes time to find the right partners. Shortage of translators in some language areas can also be a problem. This is why teaching of Swedish abroad is so important.

The ceremony was attended by Swedish Royal family and broadcast live by Swedish Television (Kunskapskanalen).

The Swedish Academy is an independent cultural institution, founded in 1786 by King Gustav III in order to advance the Swedish language and Swedish literature. The Academy has also awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature since 1901. Yesterday, the Academy’s Permanent Secretary Peter Englund, gave the following description of the ceremony in his blog (our transl.):

Tomorrow it takes place, again, what has been called the oldest, yet played theater piece: the formal meeting of the Swedish Academy. The external form has not changed since 1786. The place is still the Academy’s Grand Hall, the choreography, table settings and placements follow Gustav III’s instruction to the letter, the chairs are actually the same – it is only the fabric that is new.







A Taste of Sweden in Bologna 2013

November 9, 2012

Yesterday, the Swedish embassy in Rome hosted a meeting presenting the Swedish plans for the Bologna Children’s Book Fair 2013. In focus were Children’s right to culture which is the theme for the Swedish participation (and book fair visitors will find this visible in all presentations and events).

Italian publishers and journalists were invited to get a glimpse of the program being prepared by the Swedish Arts Council. Susanne Bergström Larsson and Eva Ottosson informed about the illustration exhibition, the national stand for exhibitors, presentations of authors and seminars for teachers and librarians. Daniel Gustafsson Pech, representing The Swedish Institute described the plans for activities in Bologna city.

Representatives from Swedish publishing houses were present to inform about their new titles and Åsa Warnqvist from the Swedish Institute of Children’s Books gave a much appreciated lecture on trends in current Swedish literature for children and young adults.

Helen Sigeland, Director of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, concluded the session by reminding that the name or names of the 2013 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award recipient (s) will be revealed at the illustrator’s cafe Tuesday March 26 at 1 pm.

The plans were met by enthusiasm and curiosity and it is a good guess that the Swedish events will be well attended!

Guadalajara International Book Fair coming up

October 29, 2012

Four weeks to go until the opening of the Guadalajara International Book Fair (FIL) in Mexico on November 24. This is the most important publishing gathering in Ibero-America, and the second largest book fair in the world after the Frankfurt Book Fair. ALMA will participate as usual, and it is award Director Helen Sigeland’s first visit to Guadalajara:

–The Guadalajara International Book Fair is an important forum of us in our efforts to increase awareness of ALMA worldwide. We have very good experiences of our relationship with the book fair, and I am very much looking forward to making new contacts, sharing experiences and getting more knowledge on literature from this part of the world. And of course to experience the amazing book fair itself!

ALMA is also represented by Mats Berggren, author and member of the jury, who is invited to lecture on reading promotion and previous ALMA recipients.

The book fair is open between November 24 and December 2, and applies to both the general public and professionals. Last year, publishing houses from 43 countries exhibited at the fair and the number of visitors exceeded 659 000. More information here.

The FIL Press Conference announcing the 2012 program.Photo: Guadalajara Book Fair.

Preparing for Gothenburg

September 24, 2012

Heads up for Göteborg Book Fair! Starting on Thursday with heaps of so many interesting topics on children’s and young adult literature.  Why not visit us in Swedish Arts Council’s stand nr C03:02?

On Thursday September 27 at 2:00 pm, paediatrician and former member of the ALMA jury Lars H Gustafsson discusses children’s rights and Astrid Lindgren’s speech Never Violence! with Kjell Åke Hansson, Managing Director of cultural centre Astrid Lindgren’s Näs.

On Friday September 28 at 11:30 am, journalist Gunilla Kindstrand discusses Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award during 10 years with jury chairman Larry Lempert. This seminar is a retrospect of the award and the previous award recipients. At 5:30 pm Larry Lempert and Helen Sigeland, director of award office, give a presentation the 2012 recipient Guus Kuijer.

Looking forward to meet you!