Sanna Kauppila (Finland, UWC AC 2006-2008)
On Thursday last week exactly 100 years had passed since the birth of Astrid Anna Emilia Lindgren. Here is an overview of her life as a successful and appreciated author.
Especially in Nordic countries, Astrid Lindgren’s name is associated with the most wonderful, fantastic and touching children stories such as Pippi Longstocking, Emil of Maple Hills, The Brother’s Lionheart and Ronia the Robber’s Daughter. She was a Swedish author whose titles have been translated into 91 different languages, published in more than 100 countries, and made into movies and TV programmes.
Lindgren had a long and successful career as an author. She started as a typist and stenographer in the 1920s, but it took a while for her to take a leap into the world of fiction. In 1945 she made her breakthrough with the children’s book Pippi Longstocking. She created this character – an orange-haired, unusually powerful girl who lives in a huge villa with only a monkey and a horse – while telling bedtime stories for her daughter. It became a favourite character for Lindgren herself but also for many others globally who read and know her works.
After her debut Lindgren almost immediately became a renowned writer, and gained international publicity, alongside various awards and literary prices, including the Hans Christian Andersen Award in 1958; the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award for Pippi Longstocking in 1973; the International Book Award from UNESCO in 1993; and many others. She also received honorary doctorates from universities.
Astrid Lindgren did not only write for children but was also known for her support of both children’s and animals’ rights, and for her opposition to corporal punishment. In 1993, she received the Right Livelihood Award – also known as the Alternative Nobel Prize. On her 90th birthday she was even pronounced Swede of the Year by a radio show.
Even nowadays her career and works are highly admired. After her death in 2002 at the age of 94 Sweden’s government instituted the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award that is the world’s largest monetary award for children’s and youth literature, with a prize of almost £400,000.
Astrid Lindgren has made a significant impact on many children’s lives, and even as a teenager, you can still remember all her warm stories, that are still definitely worth reading.
– United World College Student Magazine –