Posts Tagged ‘Rabén & Sjögren’

Astrid Lindgren was born 107 years ago today

November 14, 2014
Astrid together with her brother Gunnar in 1909. The Astrid Lindgren collections.

Astrid together with her brother Gunnar in 1909. The Astrid Lindgren Collections.

Astrid Lindgren was born on November 14, 1907 in the Näs homestead near Vimmerby, in the county of Småland. She grew up at Näs, and this is the place where her writing begun and that also inspired to both her stories and the characters in them.

60 years later, on her 60th birthday, publisher Rabén and Sjögren initiated the Astrid Lindgren prize in 1967. It is awarded every year for meritous authorship within the realm of Swedish literature for children and young adults, and will be announced this afternoon.

Ps. Her childhood home can still be visited by the public. Visitor’s centre Astrid Lindgren’s Näs also exhibit the story on Astrid Lindgren’s life along with an extensive public program.

Astrid Lindgrens on the stairs of her childhood home at Näs, Vimmerby.

Astrid Lindgrens on the stairs of her childhood home at Näs, Vimmerby.

I was genuinely surprised and just so incredibly happy says Publishing Director Ann Sköld Nilsson

May 16, 2014


Ann Sköld Nilsson after the annoncement at the Illustrator's café, Bologna Children's Book Fair. Photo: Award Office

Ann Sköld Nilsson after the annoncement at the Illustrator’s café, Bologna Children’s Book Fair. Photo: Award Office

Ann Sköld Nilsson is Publishing Director at Rabén&Sjögren in Sweden, one of Barbro Lindgren’s publishers.

You were present at the press conference in Bologna on March 25. How did you feel when Barbro Lindgren was announced as this year’s laureate ?

It was unexpected, and even though it felt so obvious later, I was genuinely surprised and just so incredibly happy.

What kind of reactions have you received?

Fantastic reactions from all sides. The entire industry and the world are excited about the choice of the laureate when it was so well deserved.

Has the announcement had any impact on your work?

We have worked a lot with publishing the works of Barbro, which means we have many books in new editions, but this gives us the opportunity to publish more titles when there is growing interest from both retailers and readers.

Why do you think Barbro Lindgren’s works are so appreciated internationally?

Because it’s a great authorship with an unusual breadth and a peculiar combination of playfulness, humor, huge emotions and profound gravity. What she writes touches people.

Do you have any personal favorites among Barbro Lindgren’s books?

Several – Andrei’s search, Loranga and the Benny books.

Ann Sköld Nilsson has just received flowers, in the background jury member Mats Berggren presenting this year's laureate Barbro Lindgren. Photo: Award Office

Ann Sköld Nilsson has just received flowers, in the background jury member Mats Berggren presenting this year’s laureate Barbro Lindgren. Photo: Award Office

Astrid Lindgren’s response to Barbro Lindgren

April 11, 2014

Barbro Lindgren started to write at an early age. In the 1960s she sent her debut manuscript to publishing house Rabén & Sjögren, who’s editor responded with quite a long letter. The editor in question was no other than Astrid Lindgren, who worked as a publishing editor for almost 25 years. In Barbro’s own words, she learned from this letter the most important things about writing for children. The letter was written on 20th December 1964 and is published on

Dear Barbro Lindgren,

Mats is a nice little kid and easy to like. That goes for the author as well, who knows so much about children. But she doesn’t know quite as much about how to build up and maintain the interest in a manuscript. The same problem has been the failing of many other manuscripts – the author makes it too easy for herself and jumps from one episode to the next without getting the most out of any of them. All too many do it that way because it’s an easy way to write books.

But in your case, one gets the feeling that if you were to really put some effort into it, you could rework the book and deliver something with the right kind of appeal. How that is to be done, yes, I wish I could explain what I mean, so you’d believe me! I can only give you a few guidelines. First of all, not so many episodes and not so many characters that you barely get a sniff at. Each chapter ought to be more or less a free-standing novel with a solid core to it. Pretend that you have been given an assignment of writing a full and detailed account of how Mats once ran away to his grandmother, or so he thought… That would turn into the type of novel I’m talking about. The same thing with when Lill-Fia was going to be sold. Pretend that your task is to write about that – and only that – continuing until you feel the tension has been building up in the right way and that it holds you till the end. Then you will have another fine novel which becomes a chapter in the book about Mats.

I suggest you scrap the chapter called, “At the theatre” because it would only amuse grown-up people who know what theatre is. But since you are writing for children, you must refrain from using the type of humour which only adults can understand. Surround Mats with a little group of characters who make us feel we know them all, just as well as he does. Lillpelle, Limpan and a couple more would suffice. Uncle Jensen or Mr and Mrs Linder and Klas-Herman – to name just a few – leave us cold, because we are never really given a chance to get to know them.

If I were you, I would never let Mats run away to grandma and grandpa in this book. I would rather let him plod around in his home surroundings at Vanadisvägen in the company of Lillpelle and Limpan. He doesn’t have to have any remarkable experiences, but what he does experience has to be built up properly.

You wriggle out of the difficulty by suddenly transferring Mats to a different environment and you fill out the pages with dialogue – which is highly delightful and amusing sometimes, but other times seems just to be there to fill up the page, so you can move on to the next chapter. Well, these are just some ideas.

Have you noticed that we have a competition going on at the moment? Why don’t you write six, seven or eight novels – little pearls about Mats – and enter the manuscript in our competition! One more example: The baby bird. There, you take a hop, skip and a jump over something that could have become a splendidly exciting little story. Couldn’t he, together with Limpan, find the bird in Vanadislunden instead of out in the country in the company of the heartily uninspiring Klas-Herman? ….or what do you say?

I hope I haven’t robbed you of all your courage now, because that was not my intention. Perhaps I will get to see your manuscript again.
I hope so.

With kind regards
Astrid Lindgren

Astrid Lindgren

Astrid Lindgren


Barbro Lindgren at the age of 15. From her book Bladen brinner (Pages on fire, 1971-73, ill. Olof Landström/ Barbro Lindgren), published by publising house Karneval.

Barbro Lindgren at the age of 15. From her book Bladen brinner (Pages on fire, 1971-73, ill. Olof Landström/ Barbro Lindgren), published by publishing house Karneval.

Barbro Lindgren’s first children’s book, Mattias sommar (Mattias’ Summer), appeared in 1965. She illustrated it herself.

Congratulations Gunilla Bergström!

November 2, 2011


Photo: Jörn H Moen

Swedish illustrator and author Gunilla Bergström has been awarded the Emil Prize (“Emilpriset till Astrid Lindgrens minne”). From the jury citation: “With fervor and humor and a distinctive pictorial language, she has created characters such as Alfie Atkins, Milla and Bill and Bolla and displays them through a deep understanding of the child’s individuality.”

The award is administrated by the Academy of Småland (“Smålands akademi”), and rewards efforts for children’s culture in the spirit of Astrid Lindgren.  The award amount is 30 000 SEK (approx. 3100 EUR).

Gunilla Bergström (born 1942) is one of Sweden’s most wellknown and beloved children’s book author and illustrator. Her works have been translated into more than 30 languages.

Among the previous recipients of the Emil Prize are: Pija Lindenbaum (2010), Eva Eriksson (2008), Christina Björk (2007) and Barbro Lindgren (1999).

Congratulations Moni Nilsson!

November 15, 2010
The author Moni Nilsson received the Astrid Lindgren Prize today!
Moni Nilsson is one of Sweden’s most prolific writers and a true champion of children’s culture. Her many books for young readers, especially the five books about Tsatsiki, have found fans not only in Sweden, but around the world. Semlan och Gordon – Kärlek, Kyssar och Rekord (Natur & Kultur) is her latest book.
The jury’s citation reads:  … Many young people have become readers through her compelling stories and unforgettable gallery of characters such as Tsatsiki, Salmiak, Morsan, Spock, Selma, Oella and Herm.

The Astrid Lindgren Prize (not to be confused with the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award) is awarded yearly by publisher Rabén & Sjögren to a Swedish writer on the birthday of Astrid Lindgren. The Prize was instituted on Astrid Lindgren’s 60th birthday, which makes today’s ceremony the 42nd. The award total is 50 000 SEK and the jury consists of Karin Nyman, Marianne Eriksson, Gunilla Halkjaer Olofsson and Ann Sköld Nilsson.
Moni Nilsson was very happy to receive the prize, as can be seen below!

It’s important to be bored

November 14, 2010

Right now an illustration by this year’s Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award recipient Kitty Crowther, adorns hundreds of thousands of milk cartons in Sweden!

The dairy company ARLA, have made it their distinguishing-mark to use one side of their cartons for text and illustration not necessarily about dairy – instead they want to stimulate children’s creativity at the breakfast table.

The illustration featured on the cartons is from the book Le grand desordre, published by Seuil.

The text on the carton reads: “It is important to be bored once in a while, says this year’s winner of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. It’s when not so much is happening that ideas come to you, characters grow and stories evolve.“

On this page, children can read more about what Kitty Crowther says about the picture, as well as participate in a storytelling competition.

Emilienne, the girl sitting in the green armchair, has trouble organizing her things. I actually wrote this story to a friend of mine, who – just like me – doesn’t particularly enjoy cleaning up.

When working on the book I was thinking about how we judge each other by how messy we are. The small black creatures come from the messy world. I quite like them.

I enjoy the thought that we can see more than we might first think. Sit quietly and still. Once you’re completely bored, the small black creatures will appear…

Children inspired by the picture and text on the carton are encouraged to send in their own illustrations and stories to ARLA. The best entries win books from Rabén & Sjögren. Among them are two books by Kitty Crowther, all including an unique illustration, signed by the artist herself!

A day in the life of an ALMA-winner

September 26, 2010

Kitty Crowther started her second day at the Gothenburg Book Fair with a workshop at Queen Silvia’s hospital for children.

Together with Kitty Crowther, the children made very special self-portraits. First, the children made portraits using chinese ink. This image was swiftly copied to overhead film. Next, the children each made a second drawing, using colored pencils, onto which the self-portraits were superimposed. Sounds confusing? Not to the children. Here is one of the results!

Back at the fair, Kitty had a quick chat with Johanna Lindbäck on the stage at the stand of Rabén & Sjögren. The talk, which was about the familiar little insects Poka & Mine was followed by a signing.

After the live wall-painting, Kitty Crowher met with Swedish Television’s Babel. In  this interview, she describes her work as being a film director who doesn’t know how the movie will end. She also talks about the responsibility she feels towards the characters she creates and about the just completed wall-painting.

Finally, at the end of the day, Kitty Crowther was invited to the stand of the Swedish society for nature preservation (Naturskyddsföreningen), where she was interviewed about her connection to nature. Kitty revealed that she has a dream project of making a personal encyclopedia of plants and animals and their relationships to stories. That’s something to look forward to!

The day ended with the city of Gothenburg’s reception at Börsen, followed by the party organized by VI

The first look

September 23, 2010

The Award Office had the chance to document the special moment when Kitty Crowther received the very first copy of Le petit homme et Dieu from the printers.

Odile Josselin, publisher at Pastel, surprised Kitty Crowther with the book at a dinner with Swedish publisher Rabén & Sjögren in Gothenburg.

And it looks fantastic! The story is sublime, the colors are vibrant and on top of it all it is printed on exclusive Munken by Arctic Paper. The orange color which plays an important role in the book is literally fluorescent.

Kitty Crowther will talk about the book for the first time in a seminar together with jury member Ulla Rhedin and writer Johanna Lindbäck at the Gothenburg Book Fair. Today at 3 pm in K3.

Kitty Crowther taking a first look together with Birgitta Westin, Rabén & Sjögren: