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Acceptance speech

Read Jean-Claude Mourlevat's acceptance speech from the award ceremony on May 31, 2021:

"Hej! Dom senaste två månaderna har jag förmodligen sagt fyra ord oftare än någonsin under hela mitt liv. Dessa fyra ord är : Suède, Suédois, Astrid och Lindgren.

As you can imagine, I pronounced these four words with great pleasure. Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award 2021! 

Since the announcement, I never stop 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 a hobbit, or like Jefferson, my little hedgehog. Because it’s so moving, so overwhelming. I feel flabbergasted.

Firstly, I want to express my gratitude to the ALMA jury, who chose me among 260 candidates.

I want to thank my publishers, my readers, my wife Rachel because she has been for more than 20 years my first reader and my first listener. And because she says that the 3 best storytellers ever are Charlie Chaplin, Roald Dahl and me. Even if I am only in the third position, I feel very honoured.

A special thanks also to my two children, who have encouraged me all these years. It means a lot to me.

I want to add my admiration to the government of Sweden that had the bright idea in 2002 to invent an award celebrating Astrid Lindgren and youth literature. They took the young readers very seriously ! It reminds me of a young French boy after I met his class. He told me: thank you for speaking to us like to "real people".

I often say that I write for everybody and not for children only, and it’s true, but I must admit, getting slowly older, that I feel more and more moved and bewitched by these little persons, their energy, their innocence and their optimism.

Finally, and very selfishly, let me please repeat these 4 beautiful words: Suède ... Suédois... Astrid... Lindgren...

Thank you."