Astrid Anna Emilia Lindgren (born Ericsson) (Swedish: [ˈastrɪd ˈlɪŋɡreːn] ( listen); 14 November 1907 – 28 January 2002) was a Swedish writer of fiction and screenplays. She is best known for children’s book series featuring Pippi Longstocking, Karlsson-on-the-Roof, and the Six Bullerby Children (Children of Noisy Village in the US). As of May 2013, she is the world’s 18th most translated author and has sold roughly 144 million books worldwide.
Astrid Lindgren in 1924
Astrid Lindgren grew up in Näs, near Vimmerby, Småland and many of her books are based on her family and childhood memories and landscapes.
Lindgren was the daughter of Samuel August Ericsson and Hanna Jonsson. She had two sisters, Stina and Ingegerd and a brother, Gunnar Ericsson, who eventually became a member of the Swedish parliament.
Upon finishing school, Lindgren took a job with the a local newspaper in Vimmerby. She had a relationship with a the chief editor, who eventually proposed marriage in 1926 after she became pregnant. She declined and moved to Stockholm, learning to become a typist and stenographer (she would later write most of her drafts in stenography). In due time, she gave birth to her son, Lars, in Copenhagen and left him in the care of a foster family.
Although poorly paid, she saved whatever she could and travelled as often as possible to Copenhagen to be with Lars, often just over a weekend, spending most of her time on the train back and forth. Eventually, she managed to bring Lars home, leaving him in the care of her parents until she could afford to raise him in Stockholm.
In 1931, she married her boss, Sture Lindgren (1898–1952). Three years later, in 1934, Lindgren gave birth to her second child, Karin, who became a translator. The character Pippi Longstocking was invented for her daughter to amuse her while she was ill and bed-ridden. Lindgren later related that Karin had suddenly said to her, “Tell me a story about Pippi Longstocking,” and the tale was created in response to that remark.
The family moved in 1941 to an apartment on Dalagatan, with a view over Vasaparken, where Lindgren lived until her death in 2002, at the age of 94.
Lindgren was almost blind a few years before her death.
Lindgren worked as a journalist and secretary before becoming a full-time author. She served as a secretary for the 1933 Swedish Summer Grand Prix.
In 1944 Lindgren won second prize in a competition held by Rabén & Sjögren, a new publishing house, with the novel Britt-Marie lättar sitt hjärta (Britt-Marie unburdens her heart). A year later she won first prize in the same competition with the chapter book Pippi Långstrump (Pippi Longstocking), which had been rejected by 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 and has been translated into 60 languages. While Lindgren almost immediately became a much appreciated writer, the irreverent attitude towards adult authority that is a distinguishing characteristic of many of her characters has occasionally drawn the ire of some conservatives.[clarification needed]
The women’s magazine Damernas Värld sent Lindgren to the USA in 1948 to write short essays. Upon arrival she is said to have been upset by the discrimination against black Americans. A few years later she published the book Kati in America, a collection of short essays inspired by the trip.
In 1956, the inaugural year of the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis, the German-language edition of Mio, min Mio (Mio, My Son) was recognised by one of six special awards. (Sixteen books written by Astrid Lindgren made the Children’s Book and Picture Book longlist, 1956–1975, but none won these main prizes.)
In 1958, Lindgren received the second Hans Christian Andersen Medal for the Rasmus på luffen (Rasmus and the Vagabond), a 1956 novel developed from her screenplay 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. Prior to 1962 it cited a single book published during the preceding two years.
On her 90th birthday, she was pronounced Swede of the Year by a radio show.
In its entry on Scandinavian fantasy, The Encyclopedia of Fantasy named Lindgren the foremost Swedish contributor to modern children’s fantasy. Its entry on Lindgren summed up her work in glowing terms: “her niche in children’s fantasy remains both secure and exalted. Her stories and images can never be forgotten.”
Astrid Lindgren, in 1994, receives the Right Livelihood Award in the Swedish parliament.
In 1976, a scandal arose in Sweden when Lindgren’s marginal tax rate was publicised to have risen to 102%. This was to be known as the “Pomperipossa effect” from a story she published in Expressen on 3 March 1976. The publication led to a stormy tax debate. In the parliamentary election later in the same year the Social Democrat 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 this result.
Astrid, however, remained a Social Democrat for the rest of her life.
Astrid Lindgren was well known both for her support for children’s and animal rights, and for her opposition to corporal punishment. 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.”
Honors and memorials
A reproduction of Astrid Lindgren at Kneippbyn in Visby
In 1967, Rabén & Sjögren established an annual literary prize, the Astrid Lindgren Prize, in connection with her 60th birthday. The prize, SEK 40,000, is awarded to a Swedish language children’s author, every year on her birthday in November.
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 SEK.
The collection of Astrid Lindgren’s original manuscripts in Kungliga Biblioteket (the Royal Library), Stockholm, was placed on UNESCO’s World heritage list in 2005.
On 6 April 2011, the Bank of Sweden announced that Lindgren’s portrait will feature on the 20 kronor banknote, beginning in 2014–15. In the run-up to the announcement of the persons who would feature on the new banknotes, Lindgren’s name had been the one most often put forward in the public debate.
A minor planet, 3204 Lindgren, discovered in 1978 by Soviet astronomer Nikolai Stepanovich Chernykh, was named after her. 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 instruments after characters in Astrid Lindgren’s books: PIPPI (Prelude in Planetary Particle Imaging), EMIL (Electron Measurements – In-situ and Lightweight), and MIO (Miniature Imaging Optics). Astrid said that maybe people should call her Asteroid Lindgren instead.
Källa Astrid/”Astrid’s Wellspring” by Berit Lindfeldt
In memory of Astrid Lindgren, a memorial sculpture was created next to her childhood home, named “Källa Astrid” (“Astrid’s Wellspring” in English). It is situated at the same place where Astrid Lindgren first heard fairy tales.
It consists of an artistic representation of a young person’s head (1.37m high), flattened on top, in the corner of a square pond, and, just above the water, a ring of rosehip thorn (with a single rosehip bud attached to it). The sculpture was initially slightly different in design and intended to be part of a fountain set in the city center, but the people of Vimmerby vehemently opposed the idea. Astrid Lindgren furthermore had stated that she never wanted to be represented as a statue. (However, there is a statue of Lindgren in the city center.) The memorial was sponsored by the culture council of Vimmerby.
The Astrid Lindgren Museum
The grave of Astrid Lindgren
Lindgren’s childhood home is near the statue and open to the public. Just 100 metres from “Astrid’s Wellspring” is a museum in her memory. The author is buried in Vimmerby where the Astrid Lindgrens World theme park is also located. The children’s museum Junibacken, Stockholm, was opened in June 1996, with the main theme of the permanent exhibition being devoted to Astrid Lindgren: the heart of the museum is a theme train ride through the world of Astrid Lindgren’s novels.
Pippi Longstocking series (Pippi Långstrump)
Karlsson-on-the-Roof series (Karlsson på taket)
Emil of Lönneberga (Emil i Lönneberga)
Bill Bergson series (Mästerdetektiven Blomkvist)
Ronia the Robber’s Daughter (Ronja rövardotter)
Seacrow Island (Vi på Saltkråkan)
The Six Bullerby Children / The Children of Noisy Village (Barnen i Bullerbyn)
Mio, My Son (also known as Mio, My Mio) (Mio, min Mio)
The Brothers Lionheart (Bröderna Lejonhjärta)
Other books translated into English
A Calf for Christmas
Brenda Helps Grandmother
The Children of Noisy Village
The Children on Troublemaker Street
Christmas in Noisy Village
Christmas in the Stable
The Day Adam Got Mad
Dirk Lives in Holland
The Dragon With Red Eyes
Gerda Lives in Norway
Emil and the Bad Tooth
Emil and His Clever Pig
Emil Gets into Mischief
Emil in the Soup Tureen
Emil’s Little Sister
Emil’s Sticky Problem
The Ghost of Skinny Jack
Happy Times in Noisy Village
I Don’t Want to Go to Bed
I Want a Brother or Sister
I Want to Go to School Too
Kati in America
Kati in Italy
Kati in Paris
Lotta’s Christmas Surprise
Lotta’s Easter Surprise
Lotta Leaves Home
Lotta on Troublemaker Street
Markos Lives in Yugoslavia
Marje to the Rescue
Matti Lives in Finland
Most Beloved Sister
My Nightingale Is Singing
My Swedish Cousins
My Very Own Sister
Nariko-San, Girl of Japan
Noby Lives in Thailand
Rasmus and the Vagabond; also Rasmus and the Tramp —Rasmus på luffen, 1956, filmed in 1955 and 1981 (below)
The Red Bird
The Runaway Sleigh Ride
Scrap and the Pirates
Sea Crow Island
Siva Lives on Kilimanjaro
Simon Small Moves In
Springtime in Noisy Village
That’s Not My Baby
The Tomten and the Fox
The World’s Best Karlson
This is a chronological list of feature films based on stories by Astrid Lindgren. There are live action films as well as animated features. Most of the films were made in Sweden, the second largest producer was Russia. Some of the films were made in transnational collaboration.
Mästerdetektiven Blomkvist (1947) – director: Rolf Husberg
Pippi Långstrump (1949) – director: Per Gunwall
Mästerdetektiven och Rasmus (1953) – director: Rolf Husberg
Luffaren och Rasmus (1955) – director: Rolf Husberg
Rasmus, Pontus och Toker (1956) – director: Stig Olin
Mästerdetektiven Blomkvist lever farligt (1957) – director: Olle Hellbom
Alla vi barn i Bullerbyn (1960) – director: Olle Hellbom
Bara roligt i Bullerbyn (1961) – director: Olle Hellbom
Vi på Saltkråkan (1964 TV series, 1968 theatrical release) – director: Olle Hellbom
Tjorven, Båtsman och Moses (1964) – director: Olle Hellbom
Tjorven och Skrållan (1965) – director: Olle Hellbom
Tjorven och Mysak (1966) – director: Olle Hellbom
Skrållan, Ruskprick och Knorrhane (1967) – director: Olle Hellbom
Malysh i Karlson (1968) – director: Boris Stepantsev
Pippi Långstrump (1969, edited from 1968–69 TV series) – director: Olle Hellbom
Här kommer Pippi Långstrump (1969, edited from 1968–69 TV series) – director: Olle Hellbom
Karlson vernulsya (1970) – director: Boris Stepantsev
På rymmen med Pippi Långstrump (1970) – director: Olle Hellbom
Pippi Långstrump på de sju haven (1970) – director: Olle Hellbom
Emil i Lönneberga (1971) – director: Olle Hellbom
Nya hyss av Emil i Lönneberga (1972) – director: Olle Hellbom
Emil och griseknoen (1973), Emil and the Piglet – director: Olle Hellbom
Världens bästa Karlsson (1974) – director: Olle Hellbom
Priklyucheniya Kalle-syschika (1976) – director: Arūnas Žebriūnas
Bröderna Lejonhjärta (1977) – director: Olle Hellbom
Du är inte klok, Madicken (1979) – director: Göran Graffman
Madicken på Junibacken (1980) – director: Göran Graffman
Rasmus på luffen (1981) – director: Olle Hellbom
Peppi Dlinnyychulok (1982) – director: Margarita Mikaelyan
Ronja Rövardotter (1984) – director: Tage Danielsson
Emila nedarbi (1985) – director: Varis Brasla
Alla vi barn i Bullerbyn (1986) – director: Lasse Hallström
Mer om oss barn i Bullerbyn (1987) – director: Lasse Hallström
Mio, min Mio (1987) – director: Vladimir Grammatikov
Kajsa Kavat (1988) – director: Daniel Bergman
The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking (1988) – director: Ken Annakin
Godnatt herr luffare! (1988) – director: Daniel Bergman
Allrakäraste syster (1988) – director: Göran Carmback
Ingen rövare finns i skogen (1988) – director: Göran Carmback
Gull-Pian (1988) – director: Staffan Götestam
Hoppa högst (1988) – director: Johanna Hald
Nånting levande åt Lame-Kal (1988) – director: Magnus Nanne
Peter och Petra (1989) – director: Agneta Elers-Jarleman
Nils Karlsson Pyssling (1990) – director: Staffan Götestam
Pelle flyttar till Konfusenbo (1990) – director: Johanna Hald
Lotta på Bråkmakargatan (1992) – director: Johanna Hald
Lotta flyttar hemifrån (1993) – director: Johanna Hald
Kalle Blomkvist – Mästerdetektiven lever farligt (1996) – director: Göran Carmback
Kalle Blomkvist och Rasmus (1997) – director: Göran Carmback
Pippi Långstrump (1997, animated) – director: Clive Smith
Pippi i Söderhavet (1999, animated) – director: Paul Riley
Karlsson på taket (2002, animated) – director: Vibeke Idsøe