Astrid Lindgren was born in 1907. She is often considered Sweden's most famous writer of childrens' fiction. Her books often revolve around a happy playful child, but with moments of danger, just the right combination to keep the reader - the younger ones, at least - on the edge.

Her fame began for real in 1945 when her now world famous story about Pippi Longstocking was published, and it became a tremendous success and has been translated to several languages.

Update: She passed away today, January 28, 2002, but she will live on in the heart of children all over the world for years to come. Rest in peace, Astrid, and thanks for all the good times.

A small selection of her best known books:

Many of her stories have also been made into movies and television series.
Astrid Lindgren died silently this morning (January 28, 2002), at the respectable age of 94. Her daughter, Karin Nyman, revealed to the news agency TT that Astrid Lindgren has been suffering from a viral infection the last month, which sapped more and more of her strength. Astrid Lindgren claimed not to be afraid of death. In an interview, she jokingly said "I don't mind dying, but not right now. I have to wash the house first."

Source: Aftenposten (www.aftenposten.no)

"We have lost a very important person. Astrid Lindgren has let generations of children recognize themselves in her books. With fantasy and a bit of attitude you can go a long way." - Swedish Prime Minister Göran Persson.
"I think that Astrid Lindgren will become equated with what we think of as the Swedish national identity, so humble and ready to struggle. I miss her greatly." - Minister of Culture Marita Ulvskog.
"One of Sweden's absolutely foremost cultural personalities has passed away. Her characters are immortal, as is the memory of the absolute empress of literature for children." - Alf Svensson, head of Kristdemokraterna, the Christian Democratic party in Sweden.
"No one has affected the values from generation to generation like Astrid Lindgren. She was a uniquely funny, bold and a wonderful person in many ways." - Author and friend P-O Enquist.
"She has meant so much to me. We worked together for over 40 years. It was amazing to work with her. She left a great deal of freedom for me to work as I pleased." - Ilon Wikland, illustrator.
"An animal rights advocate has left us. She was incredibly important to the protection of animal rights in Sweden." - Birgitta Carlsson, former chairman of Förbundet djurens rätt, the Animal Rights Association.
"The only conclusion one can reach is that a person of great importance to the publishing house has passed away." - Suzanne Öhman-Sundén at Rabén & Sjögren, the publishing house of all of Lindgren's books.
"Astrid Lindgren's books created a revolution. With her came a new genre, where the pranks and adventures of children were accepted." - Francoise Bigot-Orfini, Lindgren's French publisher Hachette.
"Astrid Lindgren's death is a great loss to the Swedes and to all the children of the world." - Boris Pankin, former Soviet-Russian ambassador in Stockholm.
"Thanks to her, Sweden became a world power in the area of literature for children." - Horace Engdahl, chairman of Svenska Akademien, the Swedish Academy (where she, for some reason, was not a member, and which, for some reason, never awarded her the Nobel Prize for literature).
"For me and my family, every meeting with Astrid Lindgren, in reality as well as in the world of the tales, has been a festive moment. All of us wish to thank Astrid Lindgren for her comprehensive and valuable works." - Swedish King Carl XVI Gustav.
"It is a loss for the children of the world. The substance of her literary works made the world a richer and more motley place." - German President Johannes Rau.

Translation of quotes from SVT Text, the teletext service of the Swedish Television SVT, www.svt.se/texttv.

Astrid Lindgren - A short biography

A classical example of noding my homework - this is an assignment I wrote about five years ago. Translated from Norwegian and updated for your reading pleasure.

Childhood

Astrid Ericsson was born November 14th 1907, just outside the small town of Vimmerby in Småland, Sweden. She grew up there with three siblings - an older brother and two younger sisters.

While growing up on the farm, one of the farm helpers' daughters spent a lot of time reading with Astrid. This awakened her interest in literature. They read a varied lot of books together, everything from Robinson Crusoe to the Bible

Lindgren early showed signs of just wanting to read and write, something that the teachers at her school (ironically enough) didn't like too much. Luckily, she largely ignored them, and read and wrote as much as she could anyway.

Youth

Lindgren had a rather rough youth. She saw people falling in love all around her, but she didn't. As a sort of a compensation, she became difficult to handle, and became part of a noisy and rude group of girls.

Lindgren's youth got a sudden stop when she was expecting a baby at only 18 years old. At that time, it was a complete outrage to have a child when you are that young, but Lindgren didn't want to marry the child's father.

Instead, she ran off to Stockholm with Lars (her child), and started working as a secretary. She had to give up her child to foster care while she tried to get her life together, as being a single mother was by no means easy at that time.

After three years Lindgren couldn't take it anymore, and went to take her child back. She looked after him as best she could. When she was 23 years old, she found the man she wanted to marry, Sture Lindgren. They got married in 1931, and Astrid stopped working. She had another child, Karin, and decided to spend her time with the children instead.

In 1941 the four of them moved to a Stockholm apartment, where Astrid has lived ever since.

The writer Astrid Lindgren

After the family moved to Stockholm, the first signs of Astrid's writing skills started showing.

Lindgren's first character was Pippi Langstrømpe (Pippi Longstocking), who became part of this world after her daughter Karin was ill one day. Karin was sick, and was asking for stories. One day she asked her mother ""Tell me about Pippi Longstocking!". Astrid did, and a few years later, the first Pippi story was published.

At first, the publishers didn't want the story about Pippi, as they thought she was too crazy and odd. Boy, were they to regret that decision.

Throughout the years after her initial publication, Astrid was often bothered with depressions and melancholy. Writing became a therapy - a way of coping with her youth, the past and current worries. As she said herself: When I was writing, my worries couldn't reach me. So I wrote.

In 1946, Lindgren was hired by a small publisher - the same publisher that had published her first books - to do some office work. She progressed to become an editor of childrens books, a position she kept for 23 years.

In the years from 1947 and onwards, Lindgren kept getting awards and grants that helped her to keep writing, and to keep up her confidence in her own work.

Astrid Lindgren lived in Paris in the middle of the 1950s. While she was there, she wrote several books about Kati. During this time, Sture Lindgren died. The same year, her son married, and in 1958, Karin married. Her family disintegrating like this became a strong affection in Lindgren's life.

In 1961 Astrid's mother died, followed eight years later by her father. The deaths sparked a desire to work out her past. She started writing the love story of her parents, in a style and form that made the same story her own autobiography. The story was based on old love letters and observations she noted in her diaries.

After her death, many have voiced the opinion that Lindgren ought to get the Nobel Prize in literature posthumously. I couldn't agree more.

About Lindgren's Writing

About her style

While being wildly entertaining, Lindgren's style has also been a strong pedagogic guideline for many parents through the years.

The strong female characters in the books (especially Pippi, of course) have raised a generation of children on feminism and equal rights thoughts.

In several of her stories, most notably The Brothers Lionheart, she writes about children in distress - in their fight against their difficult circumstances and adversaries. The Lionheart book is probably one of the most political children's books I have ever read, cleverly disguised in a beautiful children's tale. If you haven't read this book - no matter what age you are - do read it.

Her writing has not exclusively been children's literature - she has written poetry and also wrote the songs to all the Pippi and Emil i Lønneberget movies.

her books (Norwegian titles. I couldn't find a complete list of the Swedish ones, unfortunately. If anyone has one or can direct me to one, please do!)

  • Juleferie er et godt påfunn, sa Marikken 1994
  • Da Lisabet stakk en ert i nesa 1993
  • Ida og Emil fra Lønneberget 1990
  • Ikkeno' knussel, sa Emil i Lønneberget 1984
  • Ronja Røverdatter 1981
  • Pippi Langstrømpe har juletrefest 1979
  • Marikken och Junibakkens Pims 1976
  • Tilbake til Bakkebygrenda 1976
  • Samuel August fra Sevedstorp og Hanna i Hult 1976
  • Brødrene Løvehjerte 1973
  • Emil i Lønneberget gir seg ikke 1970
  • Karlsson på taket spøker igjen 1968
  • Nye spell av Emil i Lønneberget 1966
  • Vi på Saltkråkan 1964
  • Lotta fra Bråkmakergata 1964
  • Emil i Lønneberget 1963
  • Karlsson på taket flyr igjen 1962
  • Marikken 1960
  • Sunnaneng 1959
  • Barna fra Bråkmakergata 1958
  • Rasmus, Pontus og Trille 1957
  • Rasmus på loffen 1956
  • Lillebror og Karlsson på taket 1955
  • Kati i Paris 1955
  • Mio, min Mio 1954
  • Mesterdetektiven Blomkvist og lille Rasmus 1953
  • Kati i Italia 1954
  • Ingen steder som Bakkebygrenda 1952
  • Mesterdetektiven Blomkvist lever farlig 1951
  • Kati i Amerika 1953
  • Kajsa Krabat 1950
  • Per Pusling 1949
  • Mye moro i Bakkebygrenda 1949
  • Pippi Langstrømpe går til sjøs 1948
  • Alle vi barna i Bakkebygrenda 1948
  • Pippi Langstrømpe går ombord 1947
  • Mesterdetektiven Blomkvist 1946
  • Pippi Langstrømpe 1944
  • Britt-Mari letter sitt hjerte 1944

for more information, have a go at www.astridlindgren.se! :)

Astrid Lindgren died the 28th of January 2002. Her books will not.

-30-

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