Almost everyone has read Barbro Lindgren. She is one of Sweden’s most important, deeply-loved and prolific writers. Her output of over a hundred titles for differing age groups includes picture books for very young children, poetry, plays, absurdist stories, and more realistic fiction for young adults.
Her work has been translated into more than thirty languages and to date she is the only Swedish writer to have won the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award 2014. She has also written several books for adults. Her writing is at first glance quite simple, yet this is deceptive, as beneath the simplicity lies a profound seriousness. She trusts the reader to see beyond the words and reflect on the larger questions implied by the stories, such as the meaning of life, and how to live well.
Her stories are noted for their compassion, especially for the less privileged, those who seem to be different from the majority, or are on the margins of society. Humorous and with touches of melancholy, her books reveal an insight into and a deep understanding of the emotional realities of childhood. “I hope that readers will recognise themselves”, she has said, “and perhaps get some comfort. We need comfort, as life is not easy.” Her lack of sentimentality, combined with her sensitivity to feelings, atmosphere and mood can make her stories sometimes painfully affecting. However, whatever the subject matter, there is always warmth in her writing and a tone of voice that resonates with readers regardless of their age.
Barbro Lindgren has collaborated with many of Sweden’s foremost illustrators including Eva Eriksson, Olof Landström, Camilla Engman, and Pija Lindenbaum. In addition to the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, her work has been recognised in the form of over twenty other prizes and commendations.