Hej! From the President – Pippi Longstocking Edition

Astrid Lindgren  would have been 100 years old this past week. She’s gone in body but certainly not in Spirit. Pippi is still around though, and she asked me to tell you this.

Astrid grew up in Näs, near Vimmerby, Småland. Pippi Longstocking, her most famous character, however, was originally invented by her ill and bed-ridden daughter, Karin.

Lindgren was the daughter of Samuel August Ericsson and Hanna Johnsson. She had two sisters. Her brother, Gunnar Ericsson, was a member of the Swedish parliament. In 1926, Lindgren moved to Stockholm, learning to become a typist and stenographer. Three years later, in 1934, Lindgren gave birth to Karin, who later became a translator. The family moved in 1941 to an apartment on Dalagatan, with a view over Vasaparken, where Astrid lived until her death.

Astrid Lindgren went upstairs in 2002, at the age of 94. Following her 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 kronor (800,000 dollars).

In 1944 Lindgren won second prize in a competition with her novel named Britt-Marie lättar sitt hjärta (Britt-Marie unburdens her heart). A year later she won third prize in the same competition with the children's book Pippi Långstrump (Pippi Longstocking), which has since become one of the most beloved children's books in the world. She had already sent Pippi Longstocking to the Bonniers publishing house but was rejected. 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.

The ladies' 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 African Americans. A few years later she published the book Kati in America, a collection of short essays inspired by the trip.

In 1967, her publisher Rabén & Sjögren established an annual literary prize, the Astrid Lindgren Prize, in connection with her 60th birthday. The prize, SEK 40,000, (7,000 dollars) is awarded to a Swedish-language children's author, every year on Astrid Lindgren's birthday in November.

We’ll see you at Lucia and Julfest. And who knows, perhaps Pippi wlll show up too…last we heard she was on her way back to Småland from another trip to the South Seas! Isn’t Saint Louis about half way from everything?

Happy Holidays! Chris Bylander                                                                                                                                                       HOME