Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award

Astrid Lindgren renewed children’s literature and combined artistic integrity with commitment to the rights of children. When she passed away in 2002, the Swedish Government founded The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA) in her honour.

The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award is the world’s largest prize for children’s and young adult literature. The prize totals SEK 5 million and is awarded annually to a single recipient or to several. The prize aims to strengthen and increase interest in children’s and young adult literature globally and to strengthen children’s rights at global level. Authors, illustrators, oral storytellers and those active in reading promotion may be rewarded.

The award is given in recognition of a life-time achievement. Only living persons may receive it. An expert jury names prize-winners who are nominated by institutions and organisations worldwide. The 12 jury members include authors, literary critics and experts, illustrators and librarians. One member represents Astrid Lindgren’s family. The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award is administered by the Swedish Arts Council.

2017

Wolf Erlbruch

Austria

Wolf Erlbruch makes existential questions accessible and manageable for readers of all ages. With humour and warmth deeply rooted in humanist ideals, his work presents the universe on our scale. He is a master of the illustrator’s art who honours tradition whilst opening new creative doors. Wolf Erlbruch is a careful and caring visionary.

2016

Meg Rosoff

USA

Author Meg Rosoff was born in in Boston, United States in 1956. She has lived and worked in London for many years. The jury’s citation reads: “Meg Rosoff’s young adult novels speak to the emotions as well as the intellect. In sparkling prose, she writes about the search for meaning and identity in a peculiar and bizarre world. Her brave and humorous stories are one-of-a-kind. She leaves no reader unmoved”.

2015

PRAESA

South Africa

ased in Cape Town, PRAESA, Project for the Study of Alternative Education in South Africa, is an organisation that has worked to promote reading and literature for children and young people in South Africa since 1992. The Jury’s Citation reads:

With the joy of reading as its compass point, PRAESA opens new routes into the world of books and literature for young readers in South Africa. Through innovative reading and storytelling projects, PRAESA brings people together and brings literature in multiple languages alive. PRAESA´s outstanding work shows the crucial role of books and stories in creating rich lives for children and young people.

2014

Barbro Lindgren

Sweden

Barbro Lindgren, born in 1937, is a Swedish author of innovative and multifaceted works for children of all ages. Her body of work includes picture books, poetry, plays, and books for young adults. Since her debut as an author in 1965, she has published over a hundred titles, and her work has been translated into more than thirty languages. The Jury’s Citation reads: Barbro Lindgren is a literary pioneer. Using adventurous language and rich psychological nuance, she has re-invented not only the picture book for the very young but also the absurd prose story, the existential children’s poem, and realistic fiction for young adults. With perfect pitch, she presents to us both playful shenanigans and moments of bright joy, and the inscrutable nature of life and the nearness of death.

2013

Isol

Argentina

Isol creates picturebooks from the eye level of the child. Her pictures vibrate with energy and explosive emotions. With a restrained palette and ever-innovative pictorial solutions, she shifts ingrained perspectives and pushes the boundaries of the picturebook medium. Taking children’s clear view of the world as her starting point, she addresses their questions with forceful artistic expression and offers open answers. With liberating humour and levity, she also deals with the darker aspects of existence.

2012

Guus Kuijer

Netherlands

With an unprejudiced gaze and a sharp intellect, Guus Kuijer portrays both the problems facing contemporary society and life’s big questions. Respect for children is as self-evident in his works as his rejection of intolerance and oppression. Kuijer combines serious subject matter and razor-sharp realism with warmth, subtle humour and visionary flights of fancy. His simple, clear and precise style accommodates both deep philosophical insight and graceful poetic expression.

2011

Shaun Tan

Australia

Shaun Tan is a masterly visual storyteller, pointing the way ahead to new possibilities for picture books. His pictorial worlds constitute a separate universe where nothing is self-evident and anything is possible. Memories of childhood and adolescence are fixed reference points, but the pictorial narrative is universal and touches everyone, regardless of age.

Behind a wealth of minutely detailed pictures, where civilization is criticized and history depicted through symbolism, there is a palpable warmth. People are always present, and Shaun Tan portrays both our searching and our alienation. He combines brilliant, magical narrative skill with deep humanism.

2010

Kitty Crowther

Belgium

Kitty Crowther is the master of line but also of atmosphere. She maintains the tradition of the picture book while transforming and renewing it. In her world, the door between imagination and reality is wide open. She addresses the reader gently and personally, but with profound effect. In her deeply felt empathy with people in difficulty, she shows ways in which weakness can be turned into strength. Humanism and sympathy permeate and unify her artistry.

2009

Tamer Institute for Community Education

With perseverance, audacity and resourcefulness, the Tamer Institute has, for two decades, stimulated Palestinian children’s and young adults’ love of reading – and their creativity. Under difficult circumstances, the Institute carries out reading promotion of an unusual breadth and versatility. In the spirit of Astrid Lindgren, the Tamer Institute acknowledges the power of words and the strength of books, stories and imagination as important keys to self-esteem, tolerance and the courage to face life.

2008

Sonya Hartnett

Australia

Sonya Hartnett is one of the major forces for renewal in modern young adult fiction. With psychological depth and a concealed yet palpable anger, she depicts the circumstances of young people without avoiding the darker sides of life. She does so with linguistic virtuosity and a brilliant narrative technique; her works are a source of strength.

2007

Banco del Libro

In a true pioneering spirit, with ingenuity and a sheer determination, the Banco del Libro has constantly sought new ways of disseminating books and promoting reading among children in Venezuela. Enthusiasm, professionalism, closeness to the children and a refreshing lack of bureaucracy are the hallmarks of the Banco del Libro’s work, whether in shanty towns, mountain villages, universities or out in cyberspace.

2006

Katherine Paterson

USA

Katherine Paterson is a brilliant psychologist who gets right under the skin of the vulnerable young people she creates, whether in historical or exotic settings, or in the grim reality of the USA today. With a deft aesthetic touch she avoids simple solutions, building instead on the inner strength and courage of her main characters.

2005

Ryôji Arai

Japan

Ryôji Arai is an illustrator with a style all of his own: bold, mischievous and unpredictable. His picturebooks glow with warmth, playful good humour and an audacious spontaneity that appeals to children and adults alike. In adventure after adventure, colour flows through his hands in an almost musical way. As a medium for conveying stories to children, his art is at once genuine and truly poetic, encouraging children to paint and to tell their own stories.

2005

Philip Pullman

Great Britain

Philip Pullman is a master storyteller in a number of genres – from historical novels and fantasy to social realism and highly amusing parodies. With inventiveness, linguistic brilliance and psychological insight he creates and explores his own worlds without losing focus on here and now. Through his strong characters he stands firmly on the side of young people, ruthlessly questioning authority and proclaiming humanism and the power of love whilst maintaining an optimistic belief in the child even in the darkest of situations.

2004

Lygia Bojunga

Brazil

Lygia Bojunga dissolves the boundaries between fantasy and reality with all the exhilarating ease of a child at play. In her dramatic and word of mouth-style narratives the reader is always enabled to enter directly into the dreams and fantasies that her principal characters draw on for survival. In a deeply original way she fuses playfulness, poetic beauty and absurd humour with social critique, a love of freedom and a strong empathy with the vulnerable child.

2003

Maurice Sendak

USA

Maurice Sendak is the modern picture-book’s portal figure. He is unparalleled in developing the picture-book’s unique possibilities of narrating – to the joy of constant new picture-book illustrators. Furthermore, he is one of the most courageous researchers of the most secret recesses of childhood – to the delight of constant new readers.

2003

Christine Nöstlinger

Austria

Christine Nöstlinger is a reliably bad child-rearing influence of the same calibre as Astrid Lindgren. Her diversified and highly committed writings are characterized by disrespectful humour, clear-sighted solemnity and inconspicuous warmth. She is a staunch supporter of children and those living on the margin of society.