Astrid Lindgren

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Astrid Lindgren
Lindgren c. 1960
Lindgren c. 1960
BornAstrid Anna Emilia Ericsson
(1907-11-14)14 November 1907
Vimmerby, Kalmar, Sweden
Died(2002-01-28)28 January 2002 (aged 94)
Stockholm, Sweden
Resting placeVimmerby, Kalmar
Notable awards

Astrid Anna Emilia Lindgren (Swedish: [ˈǎsːtrɪd ˈlɪ̌nːɡreːn] ; née Ericsson; 14 November 1907 – 28 January 2002) was a Swedish writer of fiction and screenplays. She is best known for several children's book series, featuring Pippi Longstocking, Emil of Lönneberga, Karlsson-on-the-Roof, and the Six Bullerby Children (Children of Noisy Village in the US), and for the children's fantasy novels Mio, My Son, Ronia the Robber's Daughter, and The Brothers Lionheart. Lindgren worked on the Children's Literature Editorial Board at the Rabén & Sjögren publishing house in Stockholm and wrote more than 30 books for children. In 2017, she was calculated to be the world's 18th most translated author. Lindgren had by 2010 sold roughly 167 million books worldwide. In 1994, she was awarded the Right Livelihood Award for "her unique authorship dedicated to the rights of children and respect for their individuality." Her opposition to corporal punishment of children resulted in the world's first law on the matter in 1979, while her campaigning for animal welfare led to a new law, Lex Lindgren, in time for her 80th birthday.


Lindgren in 1924

Astrid Lindgren was born on 14 November 1907. She grew up in Näs, near Vimmerby, Småland, Sweden.[1] She was the daughter of Samuel August Ericsson and Hanna Jonsson .[1] Lindgren had two sisters, Stina [sv] and Ingegerd [sv], and a brother, Gunnar Ericsson [sv], who became a member of the Swedish parliament.[2]

Upon finishing school, Lindgren took a job with the local newspaper, Vimmerby Tidning, in Vimmerby.[1] She had a relationship with the chief editor and became pregnant, causing a local scandal.[1] She moved to the capital city of Stockholm and learnt the skills of a secretary.[1] There she gave birth to her only son, Lars, who was fostered for four years and then returned to her.[1] He died in 1986.[3]

Starting in 1928, Lindgren worked as a secretary at Sweden's Royal Automobile Club (Kungliga Automobil Klubben).[1] In 1931, she married her boss, Sture Lindgren (1898–1952). In 1934, Lindgren gave birth to her second child, Karin.[1]

Lindgren died in her home in central Stockholm on 28 January 2002 at the age of 94.[4][5] Her funeral took place in the Storkyrkan in Gamla stan. Among those attending were King Carl XVI Gustaf with Queen Silvia and others of the royal family, and Prime Minister Göran Persson. The ceremony was described in Dagens Nyheter as "the closest you can get to a state funeral."[6]


As the children were sitting there eating pears, a girl came walking along the road from town. When she saw the children she stopped and asked, "Have you seen my papa go by?"
"M-m-m," said Pippi. "How did he look? Did he have blue eyes?"
"Yes," said the girl.
"Medium large, not too tall and not too short?"
"Yes," said the girl.
"Black hat and black shoes?"
"Yes, exactly," said the girl eagerly.
"No, that one we haven't seen," said Pippi decidedly.

Astrid Lindgren, Pippi Longstocking (Pippi Långstrump, 1945)

Lindgren worked as a journalist and secretary before becoming a full-time author.[7] She served as a secretary for the 1933 Swedish Summer Grand Prix. In the early 1940s, she worked as a secretary for criminalist Harry Söderman; the Norsk biografisk leksikon cites this experience as an inspiration for her fictional detective Bill Bergson.[8]

In 1944, Lindgren won second prize in a competition held by the book publishing company Rabén & Sjögren, with the novel Britt-Marie lättar sitt hjärta (The Confidences of Britt-Marie).[9] In 1945 she won first prize in the same competition with the chapter book Pippi Långstrump (Pippi Longstocking),[10] which had been rejected by the book publishing company Bonniers. (Rabén & Sjögren published it with illustrations by Ingrid Vang Nyman, the latter's debut in Sweden.) Since then it has become one of the most beloved children's books in the world[11][12] and has been translated into at least 100 languages.[13][14] While Lindgren almost immediately became a much-appreciated writer, the irreverent attitude towards adult authority that distinguishes many of her characters has occasionally drawn the ire of conservatives.[15][16]

She travelled to America and wrote what became the 1950 book Kati in America as a series of short pieces for the Swedish women's magazine Damernas Värld.[1] In 1956, the inaugural year of the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis, the German-language edition of Mio, min Mio (Mio, My Son) won the Children's Book Award.[17][18][a]

In 1958, Lindgren received the second Hans Christian Andersen Medal for Rasmus på luffen (Rasmus and the Vagabond), a 1956 novel developed from her screenplay and filmed in 1955. The biennial International Board on Books for Young People, now considered the highest lifetime recognition available to creators of children's books, soon came to be called the Little Nobel Prize.[20][21] In her career, she wrote more than 30 books for children.[22] In 2017, she was calculated to be the world's 18th most translated author.[23] By 2010, she had sold roughly 167 million books worldwide.[24]


Lindgren receiving the Right Livelihood Award in the Swedish parliament, 1994

In 1976, a scandal arose in Sweden when it was publicised that Lindgren's marginal tax rate had risen to 102 per cent. This was to be known as the "Pomperipossa effect", from a story she published in Expressen on 3 March 1976,[25] titled Pomperipossa in Monismania, attacking the government and its taxation policies.[26] It was a satirical allegory in response to the marginal tax rate Lindgren had incurred in 1976,[27] which required self-employed individuals to pay both regular income tax and employers' deductions.[27] In a stormy tax debate, she attracted criticism from Social Democrats and others. She responded by raising the issue of the lack of women involved in the Social Democrats' campaign.[28] In that year's general election, the Social Democratic government was voted out for the first time in 44 years, and the Lindgren tax debate was one of several controversies that may have contributed to the result. Another controversy involved Ingmar Bergman's farewell letter to Sweden after charges had been made against him of tax evasion.[26] Lindgren nevertheless remained a Social Democrat for the rest of her life.[29]

In 1978, when she received the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, Lindgren spoke against corporal punishment of children in a speech entitled Never Violence! After that, she teamed up with scientists, journalists and politicians to promote non-violent upbringing. In 1979, a law was introduced in Sweden prohibiting violence against children in response to her demands.[30] Until then there was no such law anywhere in the world.[31]

From 1985 to 1989, Lindgren, with veterinarian Kristina Forslund, wrote articles concerning animal protection and mass production in the Swedish newspapers Expressen and Dagens Nyheter. They wanted to launch an awareness campaign to promote better animal treatment in factory farming. Eventually, their activities led to a new law which was called Lex Lindgren was presented to Lindgren on her 80th birthday. During that time it was the strictest law concerning animal welfare in the world.[32] However, Lindgren and Forslund were unsatisfied with it. Not enough had been done and only minor changes occurred. The articles Forslund and Lindgren wrote were later published in the book Min ko vill ha roligt (My cow wants to have fun).[33]

Lindgren was well known both for her support for children's and animal rights and for her opposition to corporal punishment and the EU.[34] In 1994, she received the Right Livelihood Award, "For her commitment to justice, non-violence and understanding of minorities as well as her love and caring for nature."[35] She was a member of the freedom of speech-promoting, anti-imperialist organization Folket i Bild/Kulturfront.[36]

Honours and memorials[edit]

Lindgren represented in the Villa Villekulla exhibit at Kneippbyn in Visby, 2011

In 1967, the publisher Rabén & Sjögren established an annual literary prize, the Astrid Lindgren Prize, to mark her 60th birthday.[37] The prize—40,000 Swedish kronor—is awarded to a Swedish-language children's writer every year on Lindgren's birthday in November.[38] In 1995, she was awarded the Illis quorum gold medal by the Swedish government.[39] On her 90th birthday, she was pronounced International Swede of the Year 1997.[40] In its entry on Scandinavian fantasy, The Encyclopedia of Fantasy named Lindgren the foremost Swedish contributor to modern children's fantasy.[41] Its entry on Lindgren stated that "Her niche in children's fantasy remains both secure and exalted. Her stories and images can never be forgotten."[42]

Following Lindgren's death, the government of Sweden instituted the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award in her memory. The award is the world's largest monetary award for children's and youth literature, in the amount of five million Swedish kronor.[43][44] The collection of Lindgren's original manuscripts in the Royal Library in Stockholm was placed on UNESCO's Memory of the World Register in 2005.[45] On 6 April 2011, Sweden's central bank Sveriges Riksbank announced that Lindgren's portrait would feature on the 20 kronor banknote, beginning in 2014–2015.[46] The banknote had before that featured the Swedish author Selma Lagerlöf.[47] In 2018, Pernille Fischer Christensen directed the film Becoming Astrid (Swedish: Unga Astrid), a biographical drama about Lindgren's early life.[48]

Asteroid Lindgren[edit]

Asteroid 3204 Lindgren, discovered in 1978 by Soviet astronomer Nikolai Chernykh, was named after her.[49] The name of the Swedish microsatellite Astrid 1, launched on 24 January 1995, was originally selected only as a common Swedish female name, but within a short time it was decided to name the payload instruments after characters in Lindgren's books: PIPPI (Prelude in Planetary Particle Imaging), EMIL (Electron Measurements – In-situ and Lightweight), and MIO (Miniature Imaging Optics).[50]

Astrid's Wellspring[edit]

In memory of Lindgren, a memorial sculpture was created next to her childhood home, named Källa Astrid ("Astrid's Wellspring" in English). It is situated at the spot where Lindgren first heard fairy tales. The sculpture consists of an artistic representation of a young person's head (1.37 m high), flattened on top, in the corner of a square pond, and, just above the water, a ring of rosehip thorns.[51]

Lindgren's childhood home is near the statue and open to the public.[52] Just 100 metres (330 ft) from Astrid's Wellspring is a museum in her memory. The author is buried in Vimmerby,[53] the Astrid Lindgren's World theme park is located.[54] The children's museum Junibacken, in Stockholm, was opened in June 1996 with the main theme of the permanent exhibition being devoted to Lindgren; at the heart of the museum is a theme train ride through the world of Lindgren's novels.[55]


The Lindgren character Pippi Longstocking played by Inger Nilsson in 1972


Lindgren is best known for her children's book series featuring Pippi Longstocking, Emil of Lönneberga, Karlsson-on-the-Roof, and the Six Bullerby Children, and for the children's fantasy novels Mio, My Son, Ronia the Robber's Daughter, and The Brothers Lionheart.[56]


By 2012, Lindgren's books had been translated into 95 different languages or variants. The first chapter of Ronja the Robber's Daughter has in addition been translated into Latin. By 1997, some 3,000 editions of her books had been issued internationally.[57] By the time of her death, her books had sold a total of 80 million copies.[3] By 2010 that had risen to around 167 million books worldwide.[24]


The adaptation of Lindgren's books for film started with Rolf Husberg's 1947 Bill Bergson, Master Detective.[58] This was followed in 1949 by Per Gunvall's adaptation of Pippi Longstocking,[59] and then by many others.[60]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sixteen books written by Lindgren made the Children's Book and Picture Book longlist between 1956 and 1975, but only Mio, My Son won a prize in its category.[19]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Westin, Boel; Grosjean, Alexia (trans.) (8 March 2018). "Astrid Anna Emilia Lindgren". Stockholm: Svenskt kvinnobiografiskt lexikon. Retrieved 9 June 2023.
  2. ^ "Astrid's siblings". Astrid Lindgren Company. Archived from the original on 10 June 2023. Retrieved 10 June 2023.
  3. ^ a b Jones, Nicolette (29 January 2002). "Obituary: Astrid Lindgren". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 June 2023.
  4. ^ Lentz Iii, Harris M. (9 April 2003). Obituaries in the Performing Arts, 2002: Film, television, Radio, Theatre, Dance, Music, Cartoons and Pop Culture. McFarland, Incorporated, Publishers. ISBN 978-0-7864-1464-2.
  5. ^ Pearson, Richard (29 January 2002). "Astrid Lindgren Dies at 94". The Washington Post.
  6. ^ Hagerfors, Anna-Maria (8 March 2002). "Astrids sista farväl". Dagens Nyheter.
  7. ^ Jensen, Jorn Rossing (24 November 2014). "The Swedish secretary and journalist who sold 144 million books worldwide". Cineuropa – the best of european cinema. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
  8. ^ Jørgensen, Jørn-Kr. "Harry Söderman". In Helle, Knut (ed.). Norsk biografisk leksikon (in Norwegian). Oslo: Kunnskapsforlaget. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
  9. ^ Britt-Mari lättar sitt hjärta (in Swedish). Stockholm: Rabén & Sjögren. 28 May 2018. ISBN 9789129714098. Retrieved 23 June 2023.
  10. ^ "Astrid Lindgren". The Right Livelihood Award. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
  11. ^ Fox, Margalit (29 January 2002). "Astrid Lindgren, Author of Children's Books, Dies at 94". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2 January 2019.
  12. ^ Björk, Ulf Jonas (2012). "Pelle and Pippi at Home and Abroad: Swedishness as an Issue in Two Animated Films for Children". Scandinavian Studies. 84 (4): 485–504. doi:10.2307/41955691. JSTOR 41955691.
  13. ^ Henriksson, Simon (12 May 2017). "Milstolpe för Astrid Lindgrens böcker – översatts till 100 språk" [Milestone for Astrid Lindgren's Books – Translated to 100 Languages]. Dagens Vimmerby (in Swedish). Retrieved 29 June 2023. Under våren utkom Pippi Långstrump på oriya, ett språk som talas i en del av Indien. Det innebär att språkgränsen 100 passerades.
  14. ^ Forslund, Anna (12 May 2017). "Astrid Lindgren now translated into 100 languages!". MyNewsDesk. Retrieved 9 September 2020.
  15. ^ Meri, Tiina (4 June 2013). "Pippi Longstocking – Rebel Role Model". Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  16. ^ "Astrid Lindgren: The Woman Behind Pippi Longstocking review". The Irish Times. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
  17. ^ "Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis" Archived 29 July 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Arbeitskreis für Jugendliteratur e.V. (DJLP).
    "German Children's Literature Award"[permanent dead link]. English Key Facts. Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis. Retrieved 2013-08-05.
  18. ^ Preisjahr "1956"[permanent dead link]. Database search report. DJLP. Retrieved 5 August 2013. See "Kategorie: Prämie". The Happy Lion by Louise Fatio and Roger Duvoisin won the main Children's Book award (Kategorie: Kinderbuch).
  19. ^ Personen "Lindgren, Astrid"[permanent dead link]. Database search report. DJLP. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
  20. ^ "Hans Christian Andersen Awards". International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY). Retrieved 5 August 2013.
  21. ^ "Astrid Lindgren" (pp. 24–25, by Eva Glistrup).
      "Half a Century of the Hans Christian Andersen Awards" (pp. 14–21). Eva Glistrup.
    The Hans Christian Andersen Awards, 1956–2002. IBBY. Gyldendal. 2002. Hosted by Austrian Literature Online. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
  22. ^ Andersen, Jens (27 February 2018). Astrid Lindgren: The Woman Behind Pippi Longstocking. Yale: Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-23513-5.
  23. ^ "UNESCO's statistics on whole Index Translationum database". UNESCO. Archived from the original on 28 February 2012. Retrieved 22 February 2014.
  24. ^ a b FAQ at Astrid Lindgren official site Archived 11 August 2010 at the Wayback Machine (in Swedish).
  25. ^ "Astrid Lindgren timeline, 1974–76". Archived from the original on 19 November 2008. Retrieved 22 February 2014.
  26. ^ a b Stougaard-Nielsen, Jakob (2017). Scandinavian Crime Fiction. London: Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 77. ISBN 978-1-4725-2275-7.
  27. ^ a b Biro, Jan (2009). The Swedish God. Los Angeles: Homulus Foundation. p. 55. ISBN 978-0-9842103-0-5.
  28. ^ Andersen, Jens (2018). Astrid Lindgren: The Woman Behind Pippi Longstocking. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-22610-2.
  29. ^ Barkman, Clas (16 May 2010). "Brev från Astrid Lindgren visar hennes stöd för S". Dagens Nyheter. Archived from the original on 18 October 2012. Retrieved 22 February 2014.
  30. ^ Pfeiffer, Christian (22 October 2018). "Astrid Lindgrens große Provokation" [Astrid Lindgren's Great Provocation]. Süddeutsche Zeitung (in German).
  31. ^ "Nachrichten für Kinder: Astrid Lindgrens Vision – niemals Gewalt!". 22 October 2018.
  32. ^ Eberhorn, Johannes (30 July 2021). "Das Tierschutzgesetz "Lex Lindgren"" [Animal Protection Law "Lex Lindgren"]. Planet Wissen (in German).
  33. ^ Berger, Andreas (4 July 2018). "Was das Schwein Augusta gegen die Herren der Gewinnerzielung sagt" [What the pig Augusta says against the lords of profit making]. Braunschweiger Zeitung (in German).
  34. ^ "Astrid Lindgren spoke, people listened". 4 June 2013.
  35. ^ "Astrid Lindgren". Right Livelihood. Archived from the original on 17 June 2021. Retrieved 8 June 2023.
  36. ^ Hummelgren, Maria Björk (7 January 2015). "Vad skulle Astrid ha gjort?". Retrieved 25 May 2022.
  37. ^ "Congratulations Katarina von Bredow!". Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. 14 November 2013. Archived from the original on 26 July 2020. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
  38. ^ Lindgren, Astrid (14 April 2009). "ALMA – ALMA". Retrieved 3 May 2020.
  39. ^ "Regeringens belöningsmedaljer och regeringens utmärkelse: Professors namn". Regeringskansliet (in Swedish). January 2006. Archived from the original on 2 November 2021. Retrieved 18 May 2022.
  40. ^ "Old Age and Death". Astrid Lindgren Company. Archived from the original on 9 June 2023. Retrieved 9 June 2023.
  41. ^ John-Henri, Holmberg (1997), "Scandinavia", in Clute, John; Grant, John (eds.), The Encyclopedia of Fantasy, New York: St. Martin's Griffin, p. 841
  42. ^ Holmberg, John-Henri (1997). "Lindgren, Astrid (Anna Emilia)". In Clute, John; Grant, John (eds.). The Encyclopedia of Fantasy. New York: St. Martin's Griffin. p. 582.
  43. ^ "International Activities" Archived 7 November 2017 at the Wayback Machine. Swedish Arts Council. Retrieved 12 June 2013.
  44. ^ Flood, Alison (20 March 2012). "Dutch author Guus Kuijer wins Astrid Lindgren memorial award" Archived 12 August 2022 at the Wayback Machine. The Guardian. Quote: "... the world's richest children's books prize, the Astrid Lindgren memorial award."
  45. ^ "List of Registered Heritage: Astrid Lindgren Archives". UNESCO.
  46. ^ "Sveriges Riksbank". Sveriges Riksbank. 30 September 2011. Archived from the original on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 22 February 2014.
  47. ^ "Tidplan nya sedlar och mynt" [Timescale for new notes and coins]. Riksbank (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 11 October 2016. Retrieved 1 August 2015.
  48. ^ Peterson, Jens (21 February 2018). ""Unga Astrid" – en gripande film om Astrid Lindgren" ['Becoming Astrid' – a gripping film about Astrid Lindgren]. Aftonbladet (in Swedish). Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  49. ^ Schmadel, Lutz D. (2013). Dictionary of Minor Planet Names. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer. p. 418. ISBN 978-3-6620-6615-7.
  50. ^ "Satelliter finansierade av Rymdstyrelsen". Swedish National Space Board (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 7 July 2014.
  51. ^ "Källa Astrid" på Astrids källa "Astrid's Wellspring [source of inspiration] in Astrid's Wellspring" Archived 28 August 2010 at the Wayback Machine. Kinda-Posten(in Swedish). Archived 12 November 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  52. ^ "Vălkommen Till Astrid Lindgrens Năs" [Welcome to Astrid Lindgren's Năs [her childhood home]]. (in Swedish). Retrieved 22 February 2014.
  53. ^ "In the footsteps of Astrid Lindgren". City of Vimmerby. 27 September 2021. Retrieved 8 June 2023.
  54. ^ "Astrid Lindgrens World". Archived from the original on 21 December 2019. Retrieved 1 December 2019.
  55. ^ "Junibacken". Museums of the World. Retrieved 8 June 2023.
  56. ^ Sundmark, Björn. "Astrid Lindgren and Being Swedish" (PDF). Malmö: Malmö University. Retrieved 11 June 2023.
  57. ^ Steffensen, Anette Øster (24 September 2003). "Two Versions of the Same Narrative– Astrid Lindgren's Mio, min Mio in Swedish and Danish". Meta. 48 (1–2): 104–114. doi:10.7202/006960ar.
  58. ^ "Die Astrid Lindgren-Verfilmungen Teil 2". Archived from the original on 23 June 2023. Retrieved 23 June 2023.
  59. ^ "Märkliga svenska filmer: Astrid stoppade fiaskofilmen om Pippi, 1949".[permanent dead link]
  60. ^ Sjöberg, Daniel (14 August 2018). "6 classic Astrid Lindgren films every child in Sweden should see". Allmogens. Retrieved 11 June 2023.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]