"I don't mind dying, I'll gladly do that, but not right now, I need to clean the house first." -- Astrid Lindgren
Astrid Anna Emilia Lindgren (née Ericsson) (, 14 November 1907 — 28 January 2002) was a Swedish author and screenwriter who is the world's 25th most translated author and has sold roughly 145 million copies worldwide. She is best known for the Pippi Longstocking, Karlsson-on-the-Roof and the Six Bullerby Children book series.
"I have been very interested in labor movement. If I could have wished another life, I would have loved to be a pioneer woman in the beginning of labor movement.""I have never experienced being madly in love the way most people seem to have been, although it is not something I would miss. Instead I have had an enormous ability to love my children and my grandchildren and my great grandchildren."
Astrid Lindgren grew up in Näs, near Vimmerby, Småland and many of her books are based on her family and childhood memories and landscapes. However, Pippi Longstocking, one of her most famous characters, was invented to please her daughter Karin, who was, at the time, ill and bed-ridden, and was placed rather in Gotland.
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 she became pregnant with the chief editor's child in 1926, he proposed marriage. She demurred and moved to Stockholm, learning to become a typist and stenographer. In due time she gave birth to her son Lars in Copenhagen and left him in the care of a foster family.
Although poorly paid, she saved whatever she could and travelled as often as possible to Copenhagen to be with Lars, often just over a weekend, spending most of her time on the train back and forth. Eventually, she managed to bring Lars home, leaving him in the care of her parents until she could afford to raise him in Stockholm. In 1931 she married her boss, Sture Lindgren (1898—1952). Three years later, in 1934, Lindgren gave birth to her second child, Karin, who became a translator. The family moved in 1941 to an apartment on the Dalagatan, with a view over Vasaparken, where Astrid lived until her death in 2002, at the age of 94.
Lindgren was almost blind a few years before her death.
Lindgren worked as a journalist and secretary before becoming a full time author. She served as a secretary for the 1933 Swedish Summer Grand Prix.
In 1944 Lindgren won second prize in a competition held by the newly founded publishing house Rabén & Sjögren with her novel 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 it 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 women's 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 1956, she won the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis.
In 1958, Lindgren 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.
In its entry on Scandinavian fantasy, The Encyclopedia of Fantasy named Lindgren the foremost Swedish contributor to modern children's fantasy. Its entry on Lindgren summed up her work in glowing terms: "her niche in children's fantasy remains both secure and exalted. Her stories and images can never be forgotten."
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 3 March 1976. The publication led to a stormy tax debate. In the parliamentary election later in the same year the Social Democrat government was voted out for the first time in 44 years, and the Lindgren tax debate was one of several controversies that may have contributed to this result.
Astrid Lindgren was well known both for her support for children's and animal rights, and for her opposition to corporal punishment. In 1994, 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 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 her birthday in November.
Following Lindgren's 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.
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.
A minor planet, 3204 Lindgren, discovered in 1978 by Soviet astronomer Nikolai Stepanovich Chernykh, was named after her. The name of the Swedish microsatellite Astrid 1, launched on 24 January 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.
In memory of Astrid Lindgren, a memorial sculpture was created next to her childhood home, named "Källa Astrid" ("Astrid's Wellspring" in English). It is situated at the same place where Astrid Lindgren first heard fairy tales.
It consists of an artistic representation of a young person's head (1.37m high), flattened on top, in the corner of a square pond, and, just above the water, a ring of rosehip thorn (with a single rosehip bud attached to it). The sculpture was initially slightly different in design and intended to be part of a fountain set in the city center, but the people of Vimmerby vehemently opposed the idea. Astrid Lindgren furthermore had stated that she never wanted to be represented as a statue. (However, there is a statue of Lindgren in the city center.) The memorial was sponsored by the culture council of Vimmerby.
Lindgren's childhood home is near the statue and open to the public. Just 100 metres from "Astrid's Wellspring" is a museum in her memory. The author is buried in Vimmerby where the Astrid Lindgrens World theme park is also located. The children's museum Junibacken, Stockholm, was opened in June 1996, with the main theme of the permanent exhibition being devoted to Astrid Lindgren: the heart of the museum is a theme train ride through the world of Astrid Lindgren's novels.