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Speech by Minister for Culture Amanda Lind at the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA)
Stockholm, Sweden 2020-03-31.
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We live in times that are uncertain and in many ways scary. How can we explain to our children what is happening, when we barely understand it ourselves? When measures to protect people risk increasing the distances between us, how can children and young adults find hope – for today and for the future?
Astrid Lindgren was not afraid of showing children the not-so-sunny aspects of life. She trusted the children – and the grown-ups around them – to find ways to cope with complexity and worries. Sometimes with a sense of humor, sometimes more seriously and profoundly, such as in The Brothers Lionheart, where there are great sorrows, but also great hope.
You may know that Pippi Longstocking was invented by Astrid Lindgren when she was asked by her daughter, sick in pneumonia, to tell her a story about a girl bearing that name. A way to escape the worries, or perhaps just the boredom. But Pippi turned out to be so much more. She has been – and continues to be – a role model for girls and boys around the whole world. She shows that being strong and independent does not exclude being human and vulnerable.
In these times, where the importance of empathy between us is clearer than ever, reading is a way of reducing distances and crossing borders.
Many children today have to stay at home, not knowing when they´re allowed to go out and see their friends again. But literature can be a way to explore this world from home – or even find new worlds, that can give comfort, or simply something else to think about. This is specially important in times like these.
The power of literature makes it evident why reading promotion is one of my most important priorities as the Swedish Minister for Culture, and why the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award is so important.
Founded by the Swedish Government in 2002, it is the largest international children's and young adult literature award in the world. And now, you are about to find out who will be the 2020 laureate.
Therefore, I would now like to hand over the word to jury, and for all of you watching – take care, wherever you are, and thank you all for your invaluable work to help children and young adults find new worlds as well as hope in this one!
ALMA Award Winner 2020
Baek Heena is the 2020 laureate. Read more!