Boel Westin (Chair)

Porträttbild av en kvinna med pagefrisyr och ansiktet lutat i handen
Photo: Susanne Kronholm


Born: 1951
Currently lives in: Stockholm
Jury Member since: 2014

Boel Westin is emeritus professor of literature who specialises in children’s and young people’s literature. She is also a researcher, writer and literary critic. She wrote the first doctoral dissertation on Tove Jansson and is internationally regarded for her 2007 biography of Jansson, which went on to be published in six languages (in English as Tove Jansson: Life, Art, Words). She has also written on August Strindberg, on historical children’s and juvenile literature, and on animal autobiographies. She is the volume editor for a new history of children’s literature entitled Den Svenska barn- och ungdomslitteraturen från 1300-tal till 2010-tal (Swedish Children’s and Young People’s Literature, 1300s-2010s).

What does the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award mean to children’s literature?

"Quite a lot. An award of this calibre signals how incredibly important literature and reading are for children and young people, everywhere in the world. With a prize amount of 5 million Swedish kronor (about 500,000 Euros), it is an unparalleled investment in children’s literature."

As a child, what kind of reader were you? Are there any books you particularly remember?

"I read a lot and fast. One book that made a strong impression was A Little Princess, the classic by Francis Hodgson Burnett. But I think the book that had the biggest impact overall was Moominland Midwinter, by Tove Jansson, which I got for Christmas when I was six. It’s a story about seeing the world you think you know in an entirely new light. Or, as it says in the book: ‘All things are so very uncertain.’"