On Monday 31 May, The Crown Princess presented the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award to South Korean picture book artist Baek Heena and French writer Jean-Claude Mourlevat during a digital award ceremony. Minister for Culture and Democracy Amanda Lind also took part in the ceremony.
The award ceremony began with Minister Lind giving a speech, after which The Crown Princess addressed the winners.
In her speech, The Crown Princess said:
"Dear laureates. Your work helps children develop their language, their creativity and their empathy.
"I personally cannot think of a more important gift to pass on to coming generations."
Read the full speech here.
The Crown Princess and moderator Amie Bramme Sey then presented diplomas to 2020's winner Baek Heena and 2021's winner Jean-Claude Mourlevat.
The 2020 winner, Baek Heena, is a South Korean picture book artist whose books are popular throughout Asia. After working in advertising and multimedia for children, she began to create her own picture books when her daughter was born. She has published thirteen picture books, and her unique visual style features handmade miniature figurines and environments that are painstakingly lit and photographed. Her debut book, Cloud Bread, was published in Swedish in 2019. Cloud Bread is one of her most successful books.
The jury said:
"With exquisite feeling for materials, looks and gestures, Baek Heena's filmic picture books stage stories about solitude and solidarity. In her evocative miniature worlds, cloud bread and sorbet moons, animals, bath fairies and people converge. Her work is a doorway to the marvellous: sensuous, dizzying and sharp."
The 2021 winner, Jean-Claude Mourlevat, is one of France's greatest writers for children and young people. He began his working life as a German teacher before changing paths and working as an actor, clown and director. It was the theatre that led him to begin writing, and in 1997 he made his authorial debut with the picture book Histoire de l'enfant et de l'oeuf. A love of literature is a common theme in his books, and he has a particular fondness for the fairy tale, fable and fantasy genres. Jean-Claude Mourlevat has published around thirty books, and his books have been translated into nearly 20 languages. His latest book, Jefferson, was published in Swedish at the end of May 2021.
The jury said:
"Jean-Claude Mourlevat is a brilliant renewer of fairy tale traditions, open to both hardship and beauty. Time and space are suspended in his fictional worlds, and eternal themes of love and longing, vulnerability and war are portrayed in precise and dreamlike prose. Mourlevat's ever-surprising work pins the fabric of ancient epic onto a contemporary reality."
The award ceremony was led by Amie Bramme Sey. Dance company Claire Parsons Co. performed interpretations of the winners' work.
Watch the digital award ceremony here External link, opens in new window..
Astrid Lindgren died in 2002 at the age of 94. To honour her memory and to promote interest in children's and young adult literature around the world, the Swedish Government founded an international award in her name. The award was first presented in 2003.
Find out more about the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award here External link, opens in new window..