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Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award

March 31, 2015

The most highly endowed children's literature prize in the world, the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, goes this year to a South African organization rather than an author.

The 2015 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award goes to South African organization PRAESA. Copyright: cc-by/Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award
Image: cc-by/Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award

The jury announced this year's laureate on Tuesday (31.03.2015): "Through innovative reading and storytelling projects, PRAESA brings people together and brings literature in multiple languages alive. PRAESA's outstanding work shows the world the crucial role of books and stories in creating rich, full lives for our children and young people," it declared in a statement.

The South African grassroots organization encourages children from vulnerable communities to read in their native language by producing books in different African languages. It also develops projects which focus on oral storytelling through songs and theater.

The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award was created in 2002 by the Swedish government to honor the country's renowned author Astrid Lindgren, who died that year at the age of 94. She wrote several well known children's book series, including the popular Pippi Longstocking.

The prestigious recognition comes with a prize of 5 million kronor (578,000 dollars), which makes it the most important international children's and young adult literary award in the world. 197 candidates from 61 countries were selected this year.

The award has often been given to authors. The first winners in 2003 were the American Maurice Sendak and the Austrian Christine Noestlinger. Last year, another Swedish author, Barbro Lindgren, won the prize.

The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award's official objective is "to strengthen and increase public interest in children's and young adult literature," a goal shared by PRAESA. The organization received the Asahi Reading Promotion Award last year and will officially pick up the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award on June 1, 2015.

eg/kbm (dpa / AP/ alma.se)