Astrid Lindgren

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Astrid Lindgren
Astrid Lindgren (cropped).jpg
Lindgren around 1960
BornAstrid Anna Emilia Ericsson
(1907-11-14)14 November 1907
Vimmerby, Calmar, Sweden
Died28 January 2002(2002-01-28) (aged 94)
Stockholm, Sweden [1] [2]
Occupation Writer
Language Swedish
Nationality Swedish
Genre Children's fiction, picture books, screenplays
Notable awards Hans Christian Andersen Award for Writing
Right Livelihood Award

Astrid Anna Emilia Lindgren (Swedish:  [ˈǎsːtrɪd ˈlɪ̌ŋːɡreːn] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ); née  Ericsson; 14 November 1907 – 28 January 2002) was a Swedish writer of fiction and screenplays. [3] 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. [4] In January 2017, she was calculated to be the world's 18th most translated author, [5] and the fourth most translated children's writer after Enid Blyton, Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm. Lindgren has so far sold roughly 165 million books worldwide. [6] In 1994, she was awarded the Right Livelihood Award for "her unique authorship dedicated to the rights of children and respect for their individuality."



Lindgren in 1924 Astrid Lindgren 1924.jpg
Lindgren in 1924

Astrid Lindgren grew up in Näs, near Vimmerby, Småland, Sweden, and many of her books are based on her family and childhood memories.

Lindgren was the daughter of Samuel August Ericsson (1875–1969) and Hanna Jonsson (1879–1961). She had two sisters, Stina  [ sv ] and Ingegerd  [ sv ], and a brother, Gunnar Ericsson  [ sv ], who eventually became a member of the Swedish parliament.

Upon finishing school, Lindgren took a job with a local newspaper in Vimmerby. She had a relationship with the chief editor, who was married who eventually proposed marriage in 1926 after she became pregnant. She declined and moved to the capital city of 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 traveled 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.

Since 1928 Lindgren worked as secretary at the Royal Automobile Club (Kungliga Automobil Klubben) and by 1931 she married her boss, Sture Lindgren (1898–1952), who left his wife for her. Three years later, in 1934, Lindgren gave birth to her second child, Karin, who would become a translator. The character Pippi Longstocking was invented to amuse her daughter while she was ill in bed. 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 request.

The family moved in 1941 to an apartment on Dalagatan, with a view over Vasaparken, where Lindgren remained until her death on 28 January 2002 at the age of 94, having become blind. [7] Astrid Lindgren died in her home in central Stockholm. 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 as "the closest you can get to a state funeral." [8]


Lindgren worked as a journalist and secretary before becoming a full-time author. [9] 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; this experience has been cited as an inspiration for her fictional detective Bill Bergson. [10]

In 1944 Lindgren won second prize in a competition held by Rabén & Sjögren, with the novel Britt-Marie lättar sitt hjärta (Britt-Marie Unburdens Her Heart). [11] A year later she won first prize in the same competition with the chapter book Pippi Långstrump ( Pippi Longstocking ), [12] 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 [13] 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. [14]

The women's magazine Damernas Värld sent Lindgren to the United States 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 ) won the Children's book award. [15] [16] (Sixteen books written by Astrid Lindgren made the Children's Book and Picture Book longlist, 1956–1975, but only Mio, My Son won a prize in its category.) [17]

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. Prior to 1962 the Board cited a single book published during the preceding two years. [18] [19] [ clarification needed ]

On her 90th birthday, she was pronounced International Swede of the Year 1997 by Swedes in the World (SVIV  Svenskar i Världen  [ sv ]), an association for Swedes living abroad.

In its entry on Scandinavian fantasy, The Encyclopedia of Fantasy named Lindgren the foremost Swedish contributor to modern children's fantasy. [20] Its entry on Lindgren was: "Her niche in children's fantasy remains both secure and exalted. Her stories and images can never be forgotten." [21]


By 2012 Astrid Lindgren's books had been translated into 95 different languages and language variants. Further, the first chapter of Ronja the Robber's Daughter has been translated into Latin. Up until 1997 a total of 3,000 editions of her books had been issued internationally, [22] and globally her books had sold a total of 165 million copies. Many of her books have been translated into English by the translator Joan Tate.


Lindgren receives the Right Livelihood Award in the Swedish parliament, 1994 AstridLindgrenRightLivelihoodAward.jpg
Lindgren receives 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 percent. This was to be known as the "Pomperipossa effect", from a story she published in Expressen on 3 March 1976, [23] entitled Pomperipossa in Monismania , attacking the government and its taxation policies. [24] It was a satirical allegory in response to the marginal tax rate Lindgren had incurred in 1976, [25] which required self-employed individuals to pay both regular income tax and employers' deductions. [25] In a stormy tax debate, she attracted criticism from Social Democrats and even from her own colleagues, and responded by raising the issue of the lack of women involved in the Social Democrats' campaign. [26] 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. [24] Lindgren nevertheless remained a Social Democrat for the rest of her life. [27]

In 1978, when she received the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade , Lindgren made a speech, Never Violence! . She spoke against corporal punishment of children. After that she teamed up with scientists, journalists and politicians to achieve non-violent upbringing. In 1979, a law was introduced in Sweden prohibiting violence against children. [28] Until then there was no such law anywhere in the world. [29]

From 1985 to 1989 Lindgren wrote articles concerning animal protection and mass production in the Swedish magazines Expressen and Dagens Nyheter along with the veterinarian Kristina Forslund. 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 and was presented to Astrid Lindgren during her 80th birthday. During that time it was the strictest law concerning animal welfare in the world. [30] However, Lindgren and Forslund weren't satisfied 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 . [31]

Lindgren was well known both for her support for children's and animal rights and for her opposition to corporal punishment and the EU. [32] 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

Lindgren represented in the Villa Villekulla exhibit at Kneippbyn in Visby Astrid Lindgren 2011.jpg
Lindgren represented in the Villa Villekulla exhibit at Kneippbyn in Visby

In 1967 the publisher Rabén & Sjögren established an annual literary prize, the Astrid Lindgren Prize, to mark her 60th birthday. [33] The prize—40,000 Swedish kronor—is awarded to a Swedish-language children's writer every year on Lindgren's birthday in November. [34]

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.

The collection of Astrid Lindgren's original manuscripts in Kungliga Biblioteket in Stockholm (the Royal Library) was placed on UNESCO's Memory of the World Register in 2005. [35]

On 6 April 2011 Sweden's central bank Sveriges Riksbank announced that Lindgren's portrait will feature on the 20  kronor banknote, beginning in 2014–15. [36] 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.

Asteroid Lindgren

Asteroid 3204 Lindgren, discovered in 1978 by Soviet astronomer Nikolai Chernykh, was named after her. [37] 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's Wellspring

Kalla Astrid (Astrid's Wellspring) by Berit Lindfeldt Sagornas dod.jpg
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 spot where Astrid Lindgren first heard fairy tales. The sculpture consists of an artistic representation of a young person's head (1.37 m high), [38] 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. Furthermore, Astrid Lindgren 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.

Astrid Lindgren Museum Astridmuseum.jpg
Astrid Lindgren Museum
Astrid Lindgren gravesite Astridgrave.jpg
Astrid Lindgren gravesite
Astrid Lindgren at her typewriter. Statue created by Marie-Louise Ekman, in the city center of Vimmerby. Staty av Astrid Lindgren.jpg
Astrid Lindgren at her typewriter. Statue created by Marie-Louise Ekman, in the city center of Vimmerby.

Lindgren's childhood home is near the statue and open to the public. [39] Just 100 metres (330 ft) from Astrid's Wellspring is a museum in her memory. The author is buried in Vimmerby where the Astrid Lindgren's World theme park is also located. The children's museum Junibacken, in Stockholm, was opened in June 1996 with the main theme of the permanent exhibition being devoted to Astrid Lindgren; at the heart of the museum is a theme train ride through the world of Astrid Lindgren's novels.

Works (selection)


Individual books

Astrid Lindgren’s plays

In addition to her novels, short stories and picture books, Astrid Lindgren wrote some plays. Many of the plays were created in the 1940s and 1950s in collaboration with her friend Elsa Olenius, a pioneer in the Swedish children's theater. Many of the stories were written exclusively for the theater. They have been translated into several languages, including Danish, Finnish and Romanian. Most of Astrid Lindgren's plays have not been translated into English.


This is a chronological list of feature films based on stories by Astrid Lindgren. [40] [41] There are live action films as well as animated features. The most films were made in Sweden, followed by Russia. Some are international coproductions.

See also

Related Research Articles

Pippi Longstocking Fictional character

Pippi Longstocking is the fictional main character in an eponymous series of children's books by Swedish author Astrid Lindgren. Pippi was named by Lindgren's daughter Karin, who asked her mother for a get-well story when she was off school.

Bill Bergson

Bill Bergson is a fictional character created by Swedish writer Astrid Lindgren. The first book featuring him was published in 1946.

Siv Ericks Swedish actress

Siv Ericks, real name Siv Gustava Essy-Ehsing, was a Swedish actress who performed in 66 Swedish films over a 53-year career.

Georg Riedel (jazz musician) Musical artist

Georg Riedel is a Czech-Swedish double bass player and composer. Riedel migrated to Sweden at the age of four and attended school in Stockholm, including the Adolf Fredrik's Music School.

<i>Pippi Longstocking</i> (1969 TV series)

Pippi Longstocking is a Swedish TV series based on Astrid Lindgren's Pippi Longstocking children's books. The show ran for thirteen episodes, the first episode being broadcast 8 February 1969 on Sveriges Television.

Nils Olof "Olle" Hellbom was a Swedish film director, producer, and screenwriter. He is most famous for directing films based on novels by Astrid Lindgren. His 1960 film Alla vi barn i Bullerbyn was entered into the 2nd Moscow International Film Festival. In 1978 at the 14th Guldbagge Awards he won the award for Best Director for his film The Brothers Lionheart.

Astrid Lindgrens World

Astrid Lindgren's World is a theme park located in Astrid Lindgren's native city Vimmerby, Sweden.


Junibacken is a children’s attraction, founded by Staffan Götestam, Fredrik Uhrström and Peder Wallenberg. It is situated on the island of Djurgården in the centre of Stockholm, Sweden.

<i>Pippi in the South Seas</i> (film) 1970 Swedish film

Pippi in the South Seas is a 1970 Swedish movie, based on the eponymous children's books by Astrid Lindgren with the cast of the 1969 TV series Pippi Longstocking. It was released in the US in 1974.

<i>Pippi Longstocking</i> (novel)

Pippi Longstocking is a Swedish children's novel by writer Astrid Lindgren, published by Rabén & Sjögren with illustrations by Ingrid Vang Nyman in 1945. Translations have been published in more than 40 languages, commonly with new illustrations.

<i>Rasmus på luffen</i> 1981 film

Rasmus på luffen is a 1981 Swedish film directed by Olle Hellbom, which was released to cinemas in Sweden on 12 December 1981. It is based on the 1955 film Luffaren och Rasmus by Astrid Lindgren, the book Rasmus på luffen by Lindgren was published in 1956.

Bill Bergson Lives Dangerously is a 1957 Swedish film about Kalle Blomkvist, directed by Olle Hellbom. It is based on the novel with the same name, written by Astrid Lindgren. It was recorded in Trosa, Södermanland.

<i>Pippi in the South Seas</i> (book) 1948 childrens book by Astrid Lindgren

Pippi in the South Seas is a 1948 sequel to Astrid Lindgren's classic children's books, Pippi Longstocking and Pippi Goes on Board. It is set sometime after the events of the original book and centers around Pippi's further misadventures and experiences, and the main protagonist's theory that the reason for her father's mysterious disappearance that he was hailed as king of an island of natives is confirmed as true.

Olle Nordemar

Olof Harry "Olle" Nordemar was a Swedish film director, film editor, film producer, cinematographer and screenwriter. Nordemar is best known as the producer behind Olle Hellbom's films based on novels by Astrid Lindgren. Nordemar edited and produced the Norwegian-Swedish documentary Kon-Tiki (1950) which received the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature for 1951 at the 24th Academy Awards.

Bunting (horse)

Bunting (1961–mid-1980s) was a Swedish halfbreed grey horse made famous for his participation in the Olle Hellbom films by Astrid Lindgrens Pippi Longstocking. He played Pippi's horse Lilla gubben.

Mästerdetektiven Blomkvist på nya äventyr is a 1966 Swedish film about Kalle Blomkvist, directed by Etienne Glaser and written by Astrid Lindgren. It is based on the play Kalle Blomkvist, Nisse Nöjd och Vicke på Vind.

The following is a list of books published by Astrid Lindgren, a Swedish author of children fiction.

Astrid Lindgren’s plays are a number of theater plays written by Astrid Lindgren in the 1940s to 1970s. Part of the plays are based on her books, other stories were only written for theater. Since almost all of Astrid Lindgren's works have been staged for theater, this page only deals with the plays, whose scripts were written by Astrid Lindgren. Many of these works were published in the Swedish books Sex Pjäser för barn och ungdom (1950), Serverat, Ers Majestät! (1955) and Praeser för barn och ungdom. Other Samlingen (1968). Most of these works have not been translated into English. These include stories about well-known characters such as Kalle Blomquist or Pippi Longstocking, which were only written for the theater and were not published as prose.

Rasmus and the Vagabond, also Rasmus and the Tramp is a children's book written by Astrid Lindgren.


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  3. "Astrid Lindgren: The Woman Behind Pippi Longstocking review". The Irish Times. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
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  7. Source – Steinar Mæland.[ full citation needed ]
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  14. Meri, Tiina (4 June 2013). "PIPPI LONGSTOCKING – REBEL ROLE MODEL". Sweden. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
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    "German Children's Literature Award". English Key Facts. DJLP. Retrieved 2013-08-05.
  16. Preisjahr "1956". 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).
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      "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.
  20. John-Henri, Holmberg (1997), "Scandinavia", in Clute, John; Grant, John (eds.), The Encyclopedia of Fantasy, New York: St. Martin's Griffin, p. 841
  21. John-Henri, Holmberg (1997), "Lindgren, Astrid (Anna Emilia)", in Clute, John, and John Grant (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Fantasy, New York: St. Martin's Griffin, p. 582
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  23. "Astrid Lindgren timeline, 1974–76". Archived from the original on 19 November 2008. Retrieved 22 February 2014.
  24. 1 2 Stougaard-Nielsen, Jakob (2017). Scandinavian Crime Fiction. London: Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 77. ISBN   9781472522757.
  25. 1 2 Biro, Jan (2009). The Swedish God. Los Angeles: Homulus Foundation. p. 55. ISBN   9780984210305.
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  28. Christian Pfeiffer. "Außenansicht: Gewaltlosigkeit fängt bei den Kindern an".
  29. "Nachrichten für Kinder: Astrid Lindgrens Vision – niemals Gewalt!". 22 October 2018.
  30. "Lex Lindgren". 30 July 2021.
  31. "Was das Schwein Augusta gegen die Herren der Gewinnerzielung sagt". 4 July 2018.
  32. "Astrid Lindgren spoke, people listened". 4 June 2013.
  33. "Congratulations Katarina von Bredow!". Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. 14 November 2013. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
  34. Lindgren, Astrid (14 April 2009). "ALMA - ALMA". Retrieved 3 May 2020.
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  37. Dictionary of Minor Planet Names – p.256 . Retrieved 22 February 2014.
  38. "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
  39. "Vălkommen Till Astrid Lindgrens Năs". Retrieved 22 February 2014.
  40. Films based on Astrid Lindgren stories (in Swedish).
  41. Astrid Lindgren at IMDb.

Further reading