Astrid Lindgren

From New World Encyclopedia

Astrid Anna Emilia Lindgren
Astrid Lindgren (cropped).jpg
Lindgren 1960c. 1960
Born Astrid Anna Emilia Lindgren
November 14 1907(1907-11-14)
Vimmerby, Kalmar, Sweden
Died January 28 2002 (age 94)
Stockholm, Sweden
Occupation Writer
Writing period 1904-2002
Genres Children's fiction, picture books, screenplays
Notable award(s) Hans Christian Andersen Award for Writing (1958)
Right Livelihood Award (1994)
Signature Astrid Lindgren signature.png

Astrid Anna Emilia Lindgren (Swedish: [ˈǎsːtrɪd ˈlɪ̌nːɡreːn]; née Ericsson; November 14, 1907 – January 28, 2002) was a Swedish writer of fiction and screenplays. 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, writing more than 30 books for children. In 2017, she was calculated to be the world's 18th most translated author. By 2010 Lindgren had sold roughly 167 million books worldwide. Her opposition to corporal punishment of children resulted in the world's first law on the matter in 1979, while her campaigning for animal welfare led to a new law, Lex Lindgren, in time for her 80th birthday.


Astrid Lindgren was born on November 14, 1907. She grew up in Näs, near Vimmerby, Småland, Sweden.[1] She was the daughter of Samuel August Ericsson (1875–1969) and Hanna Jonsson (1879–1961). Lindgren had two sisters, Stina Hergin and Ingegerd Lindström, and a brother, Gunnar Ericsson (Centre Party), who became a member of the Swedish parliament.

Upon finishing school, Lindgren took a job with the local newspaper, Vimmerby Tidning, in Vimmerby.[1] She had a relationship with the chief editor and became pregnant, causing a local scandal.[1] She moved to the capital city of Stockholm and learned the skills of a secretary.[1] There she gave birth to her only son, Lars, who was fostered for four years and then returned to her.[1] He died in 1986.[2]

Starting in 1928, Lindgren worked as secretary at Sweden's Royal Automobile Club.[1] In 1931, she married her boss, Sture Lindgren (1898–1952). In 1934, Lindgren gave birth to her second child, Karin.[1]


As the children were sitting there eating pears, a girl came walking along the road from town. When she saw the children she stopped and asked, "Have you seen my papa go by?"

"M-m-m," said Pippi. "How did he look? Did he have blue eyes?" "Yes," said the girl. "Medium large, not too tall and not too short?" "Yes," said the girl. "Black hat and black shoes?" "Yes, exactly," said the girl eagerly. "No, that one we haven't seen," said Pippi decidedly.
—Astrid Lindgren,
Pippi Longstocking (Pippi Långstrump, 1945)

Lindgren worked as a journalist and secretary before becoming a full-time author.[3] In the early 1940s, she worked as a secretary for criminalist Harry Söderman; the Norsk biografisk leksikon cites this experience as an inspiration for her fictional detective Bill Bergson.[4]

In 1944, Lindgren won second prize in a competition held by the book publishing company Rabén & Sjögren, with the novel Britt-Marie lättar sitt hjärta (The Confidences of Britt-Marie).[5] In 1945 she won first prize in the same competition with the chapter book Pippi Långstrump (Pippi Longstocking),[6] which had been rejected by the book publishing company 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.[7] and has been translated into at least 100 languages.[8] While Lindgren almost immediately became a much appreciated writer, the irreverent attitude towards adult authority that distinguishes many of her characters has occasionally drawn the ire of conservatives.[9]

Lindgren in 1924

She traveled to America and wrote what became the 1950 book Kati in America as a series of short pieces for the Swedish women's magazine Damernas Värld.[1] In 1956, the inaugural year of the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis (German Youth Literature Prize), the German-language edition of Mio, min Mio (Mio, My Son) won the Children's book award. Sixteen books written by Lindgren made the Children's Book and Picture Book longlist between 1956 and 1975, but only Mio, My Son won a prize in its category.

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 for the 1955 film. The biennial International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), now considered the highest lifetime recognition available to creators of children's books, soon came to be called the Little Nobel Prize.[10] In her career she wrote more than 30 books for children.[11] In 2017, she was calculated to be the world's 18th most translated author.[12] By 2010, she had sold roughly 167 million books worldwide.[13]


Lindgren receiving the Right Livelihood Award in the Swedish parliament, 1994

Tax controversy

In 1976, a scandal arose in Sweden when it was publicized 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 March 3, 1976,[14] titled Pomperipossa in Monismania, attacking the government and its taxation policies.[15] It was a satirical allegory in response to the marginal tax rate Lindgren had incurred in 1976,[16] which required self-employed individuals to pay both regular income tax and employers' deductions.[16] In a stormy tax debate, she attracted criticism from Social Democrats and others. She responded by raising the issue of the lack of women involved in the Social Democrats' campaign.[11]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 reflected in the campaign. Another controversy involved Ingmar Bergman's farewell letter to Sweden, after charges had been made against him for tax evasion.[15] Lindgren nevertheless remained a Social Democrat for the rest of her life.[17]

Corporal Punishment

In 1978, when she received the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, Lindgren spoke against corporal punishment of children in a speech entitled Never Violence!. After that she teamed up with scientists, journalists and politicians to promote non-violent upbringing. In 1979, a law was introduced in Sweden prohibiting violence against children in response to her demands.[18] Before that time, there was no such law anywhere in the world.

Animal Welfare

From 1985 to 1989, Lindgren, with the veterinarian Kristina Forslund, wrote articles concerning animal protection and mass production in the Swedish newspapers Expressen and Dagens Nyheter. 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 Lindgren on her 80th birthday. During that time it was the strictest law concerning animal welfare in the world.[19] However, Lindgren and Forslund were unsatisfied with it, feeling 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 (My cow wants to have fun).[20]

Lindgren was well known both for her support for children's and animal rights and for her opposition to corporal punishment and the EU.[21] 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."[6] She was a member of the freedom of speech-promoting, anti-imperialist organization Folket i Bild/Kulturfront.


Lindgren died in her home in central Stockholm on January 28, 2002 at the age of 94.[22]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 in Dagens Nyheter as "the closest you can get to a state funeral."[23]


The Lindgren character Pippi Longstocking played by Inger Nilsson in 1972


Lindgren is best known for her children's book series featuring Pippi Longstocking, Emil of Lönneberga, Karlsson-on-the-Roof, and the Six Bullerby Children, and for the children's fantasy novels Mio, My Son, Ronia the Robber's Daughter, and The Brothers Lionheart.[24]


By 2012, Lindgren's books had been translated into 95 different languages or variants. The first chapter of Ronja the Robber's Daughter has in addition been translated into Latin. By 1997, some 3,000 editions of her books had been issued internationally.[25] By the time of her death, her books had sold a total of 80 million copies.[2] By 2010 that had risen to around 167 million books worldwide.[13]


The adaptation of Lindgren's books for film started with Rolf Husberg's 1947 Bill Bergson, Master Detective. This was followed in 1949 by Per Gunvall's adaptation of Pippi Longstocking, and then by many others.[26]


In its entry on Scandinavian fantasy, The Encyclopedia of Fantasy named Lindgren the foremost Swedish contributor to modern children's fantasy.[27] Its entry on Lindgren stated that "Her niche in children's fantasy remains both secure and exalted. Her stories and images can never be forgotten."[27]

Honors and memorials

Lindgren represented in the Villa Villekulla exhibit at Kneippbyn in Visby, 2011

In 1967, the publisher Rabén & Sjögren established an annual literary prize, the Astrid Lindgren Prize, to mark her 60th birthday. The prize—40,000 Swedish kronor—is awarded to a Swedish-language children's writer every year on Lindgren's birthday in November.[28] In 1994, she was awarded the Right Livelihood Award for "her unique authorship dedicated to the rights of children and respect for their individuality."[29] In 1995, she was awarded the Illis quorum gold medal by the Swedish government.[30] On her 90th birthday, she was pronounced International Swede of the Year.

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.[31] The collection of Lindgren's original manuscripts in the Royal Library in Stockholm was placed on UNESCO's Memory of the World Register in 2005. On April 6, 2011, Sweden's central bank Sveriges Riksbank announced that Lindgren's portrait would feature on the 20 kronor banknote, beginning in 2014–2015.[32] The banknote had previously featured the Swedish author Selma Lagerlöf.

In 2018, Pernille Fischer Christensen directed the film Becoming Astrid (Swedish: Unga Astrid), a biographical drama about Lindgren's early life.[33]

Asteroid Lindgren

Asteroid 3204 Lindgren, discovered in 1978 by Soviet astronomer Nikolai Chernykh, was named after her.[34] The name of the Swedish microsatellite Astrid 1, launched on January 24, 1995, was originally selected only as a common Swedish female name, but within a short time it was decided to name the payload instruments after characters in Lindgren's books: PIPPI (Prelude in Planetary Particle Imaging), EMIL (Electron Measurements – In-situ and Lightweight), and MIO (Miniature Imaging Optics).[35]

Astrid's Wellspring

In memory of 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 Lindgren first heard fairy tales. The sculpture consists of an artistic representation of a young person's head (1.37 m high), flattened on top, in the corner of a square pond, and, just above the water, a ring of rosehip thorn.[36]

Lindgren's childhood home is near the statue and open to the public.[37] Just 100 meters (330 ft) from Astrid's Wellspring is a museum in her memory. The author is buried in Vimmerby,[38] the Astrid Lindgren's World theme park is located.[39] The children's museum Junibacken, in Stockholm, was opened in June 1996 with the main theme of the permanent exhibition devoted to Lindgren. At the heart of the museum is a theme train ride through the world of Lindgren's novels.[40]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Boel Westin, "Astrid Anna Emilia Lindgren trans. Alexia Grosjean, Svenskt kvinnobiografiskt lexikon, March 8, 2018. Retrieved October 18, 2023.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Nicolette Jones, "Obituary: Astrid Lindgren," The Guardian, January 29, 2002. Retrieved October 18, 2023.
  3. Jorn Rossing Jensen, "The Swedish secretary and journalist who sold 144 million books worldwide," Cineuropa – the best of european cinema, November 24, 2014. Retrieved October 18, 2023.
  4. Jørn-Kr. Jørgensen, "Harry Söderman," in Norsk biografisk leksikon, ed. Knut Helle (Oslo, NO: Kunnskapsforlaget, 2005). Retrieved October 7, 2023.
  5. Astrid Lindgren, Britt-Mari lättar sitt hjärta (Stockholm, SE: Rabén & Sjögren, 2018, ISBN 978-9129714098). Retrieved October 18, 2023.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Astrid Lindgren," The Right Livelihood Award, 1994. Retrieved October 18, 2023.
  7. Ulf Jonas Björk, "Pelle and Pippi at Home and Abroad: Swedishness as an Issue in Two Animated Films for Children," Scandinavian Studies 84(4) (2012): 485–504.
  8. Anna Forslund, "Astrid Lindgren now translated into 100 languages!," MyNewsDesk, May 12, 2017. Retrieved October 18, 2023.
  9. Anna Carey, "Astrid Lindgren: The Woman Behind Pippi Longstocking review," The Irish Times, April 14, 2018. Retrieved October 18, 2023.
  10. Eva Glistrup, "Astrid Lindgren" The Hans Christian Andersen Awards, 1956–2002. Retrieved October 26, 2023.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Jens Andersen, Astrid Lindgren: The Woman Behind Pippi Longstocking (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2018, ISBN 978-0300235135). Retrieved October 18, 2023.
  12. "Index Translationum," UNESCO. Retrieved October 18, 2023.
  13. 13.0 13.1 "FAQ,", August 11, 2010. Retrieved October 18, 2023.
  14. "Astrid Lindgren timeline, 1974–76," Retrieved October 18, 2023.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Jakob Stougaard-Nielsen, Scandinavian Crime Fiction (London, U.K.: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2017, ISBN 978-1472522757), 77.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Jan Biro, The Swedish God (Los Angeles, CA: Homulus Foundation, 2009, ISBN 978-0984210305), 55.
  17. Clas Barkman, "Brev från Astrid Lindgren visar hennes stöd för S," ("Letter from Astrid Lindgren shows her support for S") Dagens Nyheter, May 16, 2010. Retrieved October 18, 2023.
  18. Christian Pfeiffer, "Astrid Lindgrens große Provokation," (Astrid Lindgren's Great Provocation) Süddeutsche Zeitung, October 22, 2018. Retrieved October 18, 2023.
  19. Johannes Eberhorn, "Das Tierschutzgesetz 'Lex Lindgren'," (Animal Protection Law "Lex Lindgren") Planet Wissen, July 30, 2021. Retrieved October 18, 2023.
  20. Andreas Berger, "Was das Schwein Augusta gegen die Herren der Gewinnerzielung sagt," (What the pig Augusta says against the lords of profit making) Braunschweiger Zeitung, July 4, 2018. Retrieved October 26, 2023.
  21. "Writing 'Pippi Longstocking' made her famous, but did you know that Astrid Lindgren was also an opinion former?" Retrieved October 18, 2023.
  22. Harris M. Lentz III, Obituaries in the Performing Arts, 2002: Film, television, Radio, Theatre, Dance, Music, Cartoons and Pop Culture (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, Inc., 2008, ISBN 978-0786414642), 167. Retrieved October 18, 2023.
  23. Anna-Maria Hagerfors, "Astrids sista farväl," Dagens Nyheter, March 8, 2002.
  24. Björn Sundmark, "Astrid Lindgren and Being Swedish," Malmö University. Retrieved October 20, 2023.
  25. Anette Øster Steffensen, "Two Versions of the Same Narrative– Astrid Lindgren's Mio, min Mio in Swedish and Danish," Meta 48(1–2) (September 24, 2003): 104–114.
  26. Daniel Sjöberg, "6 classic Astrid Lindgren films every child in Sweden should see," Allmogens, August 14, 2018. Retrieved October 20, 2023.
  27. 27.0 27.1 John-Henri Holmberg, "Scandinavia," in The Encyclopedia of Fantasy, eds., John Clute and John Grant (New York, NY: St. Martin's Griffin, 1997, ISBN 978-0312158972), 841.
  28. "Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award 2024 Nominess,", April 14, 2009. Retrieved October 20, 2023.
  29. "Astrid Lindgren," The Right Livelihood Award, 1994. Retrieved October 18, 2023.
  30. Christina Weihe, "Regeringens belöningsmedaljer och regeringens utmärkelse: Professors namn," Regeringskansliet, January 1, 2006. Retrieved October 20, 2023.
  31. "International Activities," Swedish Arts Council. Retrieved October 26, 2023.
  32. "Sweden’s new banknotes and coins," Sveriges Riksbank, April 6, 2011. Retrieved October 20, 2023.
  33. Jens Peterson, "'Unga Astrid' – en gripande film om Astrid Lindgren," ("Becoming Astrid" – a gripping film about Astrid Lindgren) Aftonbladet, February 21, 2018. Retrieved October 20, 2023.
  34. Lutz D. Schmadel, Dictionary of Minor Planet Names (Berlin, Heidelberg, DE: Springer, 2013, ISBN 978-3662066157), 418. Retrieved October 20, 2023.
  35. "Satelliter finansierade av Rymdstyrelsen," (Satellites financed by Swedish Space Agency) Swedish National Space Board. Retrieved October 20, 2023.
  36. "Källa Astrid" på Astrids källa "Astrid's Wellspring [source of inspiration] in Astrid's Wellspring," Kinda Posten. Retrieved October 20, 2023.
  37. "Vălkommen Till Astrid Lindgrens Năs," (Welcome to Astrid Lindgren's Năs [her childhood home]) Retrieved October 20, 2023.
  38. "In the footsteps of Astrid Lindgren," City of Vimmerby, September 27, 2021. Retrieved October 20, 2023.
  39. "Astrid Lindgrens World," City of Vimmerby. Retrieved October 20, 2023.
  40. "Junibacken," Museums of the World. Retrieved October 20, 2023.

ISBN links support NWE through referral fees

Further reading

  • Berf, Paul, and Astrid Surmatz. Astrid Lindgren. Zum Donnerdrummel! Ein Werk-Porträt. Frankfurt, DE: Zweitausendeins, 2000. ISBN 3807701605
  • Edström, Vivi. Astrid Lindgren. Im Land der Märchen und Abenteuer Hamburg, DE: Oetinger, 1997. ISBN 3789134023
  • Gottschalk, Maren. Jenseits von Bullerbü. Die Lebensgeschichte der Astrid Lindgren. Weinheim, DE: Beltz & Gelberg, 2006. ISBN 3407809700
  • Knobloch, Jörg. Praxis Lesen: Astrid Lindgren: A4-Arbeitsvorlagen Klasse 2–6. Lichtenau, DE: AOL-Verlag, 2002. ISBN 3891116535
  • Metcalf, Eva-Maria. Astrid Lindgren. New York, NY: Twayne, 2005. ISBN 978-0805745252
  • Schönfeldt, Sybil Gräfin. Astrid Lindgren. Reinbek, DE: Rowohlt, 2000. ISBN 3499503719
  • Strömstedt Margareta. Astrid Lindgren: En levnadsteckning. Stockholm, SV: Rabén & Sjögren, 1977. ISBN 978-9129502794
  • Strömstedt, Margareta. Astrid Lindgren. Ein Lebensbild. Hamburg, DE: Oetinger, 2001. ISBN 3789147176
  • Surmatz, Astrid. Pippi Långstrump als Paradigma. Die deutsche Rezeption Astrid Lindgrens und ihr internationaler Kontext. Tübingen, DE, Basel, SW: Francke, 2005. ISBN 3772030971

External links

All links retrieved October 27, 2023.


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