About Astrid

Astrid Lindgren grew up in Näs, near Vimmerby, Småland, and many of her books are based on her family and childhood memories. Pippi Longstocking, her most famous character, however, was originally invented by her 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. Upon finishing school, Lindgren took a job with the a local newspaper in Vimmerby. When Astrid became pregnant with the chief editor's child, the editor proposed marriage. Astrid demurred, and gave birth to her son Lars in 1926 in Copenhagen while unmarried.

In 1926, Lindgren moved to Stockholm, learning to to become a typist and stenographer. In 1931 she married her boss, Sture Lindgren (1898-1952). Three years later, in 1934, Lindgren gave birth to her second child, Karin, who later became a translator. The family moved in 1941 to an apartment in Dalagatan, with a view over Vasaparken, where Astrid lived until her death.

Astrid Lindgren died 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 SEK.

In 1944 Lindgren won second prize in a competition held by the newly founded publishing house Rabén & Sjögren with her novel named Britt-Marie lättar sitt hjärta (Britt-Marie unburdens her heart). A year later she won first 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, Rabén & Sjögren established an annual literary prize, the Astrid Lindgren Prize, in connection with her 60th birthday. The prize, SEK 40,000, is awarded to a Swedish-language children's author, every year on Astrid Lindgren's birthday in November.

The collection of Astrid Lindgren's original manuscripts in Kungliga Biblioteket (the Royal Library), Stockholm, was placed on UNESCO's World heritage list in 2005.

In 1976, a scandal arose in Sweden when Lindgren's marginal tax rate was publicized to have risen to 102%. This was to be known as the "Pomperipossa effect" from a story she published in Expressen on March 3, 1976. The publication led to a stormy tax debate. In the parliamentary election later in the same year the Social Democrat government was overthrown for the first time in 40 years, and the Lindgren tax debate was one of several controversies that may have contributed to the election result.

Astrid Lindgren was well known both for her support for children's and animal rights, and for her opposition to corporal punishment. In 1993, she received the Right Livelihood Award (also known as the Alternative Nobel Prize), "...For her commitment to justice, non-violence and understanding of minorities as well as her love and caring for nature." In 1958, she became the second recipient of the Hans Christian Andersen Award, an international award for youth literature. On her 90th birthday she was pronounced Swede of the Year by a radio show.

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 instruments after characters in Astrid Lindgren's books: PIPPI (Prelude in Planetary Particle Imaging), EMIL (Electron Measurements - In-situ and Lightweight), and MIO (Miniature Imaging Optics). Astrid said that maybe people should call her Asteroid Lindgren instead.

 

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