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A young man in an empty theatre room, carrying a wrapped present.

Time to celebrate

On May 31 we celebrated the 2020 and 2021 laureates! Jean-Claude Mourlevat and Baek Heena accepted the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award at a digital ceremony.

The award ceremony was broadcast digitally from Stockholm and took viewers on a journey into the works of the laureates and introduced them to young readers around the world. The ceremony was hosted by Swedish Minister for Culture and Democracy Amanda Lind and H.R.H. Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden. Journalist and podcaster Amie Bramme Sey guided through the program, accompanied by the dance company Claire Parsons Co.

From Jean-Claude Mourlevat's acceptance speech:

"Since the announcement two months ago, I keep wondering: why me? I feel proud and happy, of course, but at the same time I feel like hiding in a hole, deep in the forest, like Jefferson, my little hedgehog. Because it's so moving, and so overwhelming."

From the acceptance speech of Baek Heena, who received the 2020 award: 

"I believe that children's picture books can be the key that opens the door to a happy childhood. This award convinced me to stick to what I believe and go for it."

Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden presented the award diplomas and gave a speech on the importance of literature for young people. From the Crown Princess speech:

Historically, literature for children has not always been as highly regarded as literature for adults. And yet, we know that those whose images and words can find their way into a child’s heart and mind – who can spur their imagination – those artists and authors can change entire lives.

Read the entire speech at the Swedish Royal Court web site

Minister for Culture and Democracy Amanda Lind praised the laureates in her speech:

Over the past year, literature has helped us to find hope in a world turned upside down by the corona pandemic. All of us have been affected, children and young people are not an exception. For younger generations all across the world, Literature, Culture and the Arts have served as means to explore the world from the inside of their homes – and to find new worlds, that can give them comfort and joy.

 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award ceremony 2021
Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden presented the award with a little help from the dancers in Claire Parsons Co. and the host of the evening, Amie Bramme Sey. Photo:: Susanne Kronholm
 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award ceremony 2021
The laureates receiving their diplomas from Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and the host of the evening, Amie Bramme Sey. Photo:: Märta Thisner
 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award ceremony 2021
Laureates Jean-Claude Mourlevat and Baek Heena with the diplomas. Baek Heena's diploma is illustrated by Matilda Ruta and Maja Zetterberg and Jean-Claude Mourlevat's diploma is created by Kristin Lidström and Henning Trollbäck. Photo:: Susanne Kronholm
Tre personer kikar in genom en öppen dörr.
Claire Parsons Co. performed at the award ceremony. In the picture are dancers David Nondorf, Elin Hallgren och Linn Ragnarsson.