Dutch author wins prestigious Astrid Lindgren award

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Dutch author of children’s books Guus Kuijer has been named winner of this year’s Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award ALMA. He is the first Dutch author to receive the international prize, worth a sum of about 561,000 euros.

The Swedish government furnishes the ALMA to an author, illustrator or organisation recognised for promoting children’s and youth literature in the spirit of Astrid Lindgren, author of the Pippi Longstocking stories. A jury selects the winner.

Kuijer, 69, wrote a number of highly popular children’s books, including the prize-winning Madelief series. He won the Gouden Griffel Golden Slate Pencil, an annual award for the best Dutch children’s book, three times. His books are written from a child's perspective in which grown-ups are regarded as strange creatures.

This year’s nominees included 184 candidates from 66 countries. In addition to Kuijer, nine other Dutch writers and illustrators were nominated for the ALMA.

Kuijer was convinced he was not going to win. On Monday he tweeted: “Entry for the Astrid Lindgren Award takes place without the author’s involvement. Fortunately, I’m sure this cup will pass from me.” After winning the prize, he posted: “And it has not changed me at all! 

Kuijer’s children’s books have been translated into many languages, including German, , Chinese, Swedish, French, Japanese and Spanish.

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