The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA) was announced early this morning, March 31st, at a press conference in Stockholm. The international award, founded by the Swedish government and administered by the Swedish Arts Council, is named after Astrid Lindgren, the creator of the Pippi Longstocking series, and one of Sweden’s most important and beloved authors of children’s books. The award promotes interest in young adult and children’s literature around the world, holding the belief that “children’s and young adult’s access to literature is a precondition for democracy and openness.” Recipients of the award have ranged from authors and illustrators—who receive the award not for one work, but for their entire oeuvre—to oral storytellers and reading advocates, which is the case of the laureate this year.
The 2015 winner of the ALMA is the South African alternative education project, PRAESA, which has been selected for its innovative ways of encouraging reading among children. The jury of the ALMA described PRAESA’s qualifications:
“With the joy of reading as its compass point, PRAESA opens new routes into the world of books and literature for young readers in South Africa. Through innovative reading and storytelling projects, PRAESA brings people together and brings literature in multiple languages alive. PRAESA’s outstanding work shows the world the crucial role of books and stories in creating rich, full lives for our children and young people.”
The winner is awarded 5 million Swedish kronor ($577,000), which makes the ALMA the most substantial award of its kind. Visit the laureate’s page to read more about PRAESA’s work and mission.