Wolf Erlbruch tonight received the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award from H.R.H. Crown Princess Victoria. Swedish Minister of Culture and Democracy, Mrs Alice Bah Kuhnke, gave a speech in honour of the laureate.
During the evening, musical entertainment was provided by Swedish opera singer Rickard Söderberg and the Sami artist Sofia Jannok. A dance adaption of Wolf Erlbruch’s book Duck, Death and the Tulip was performed by Fredrik Quiňones and Stacey Aung, choreographed by Mari Carrasco. The ceremony was hosted by Yukiko Duke, journalist and critic. Apart from the prize sum, 5 million SEK, the laureate received a diploma illustrated by Marcus-Gunnar Pettersson and Maja K Zetterberg.
"Being an illustrator, means you never work without a given text. To start reading a new manuscript is like entering a foreign country. You know nobody." said Wolf Erlbruch in is acceptance speech.
He won the audience's heart by loosing his glasses before starting to speak. Erlbruch also mentioned the difficulties of sometimes finding the right pictures.
"Some texts more or less illustrate themselves. Then there is poetry, which is impossible to translate." said Wolf Erlbruch before finishing his speech by reciting from his favourite poem by Seamus Heaney.
In her congratulatory speech, Minister Alice Bah Kuhnke said:
“Mr Erlbruch is a brave writer and in many ways his writing is reminiscent of Astrid Lindgren’s. His work reflects what children’s lives are like – they contain the light-hearted and the deeply existential, side by side. We are in awe of the incomprehensible, we find happiness in small pleasures and we become angry over injustices.”
About Wolf Erlbruch
Born in 1948, is a German illustrator and picturebook author. He has written some ten books of his own and illustrated nearly fifty titles by other authors. He is best known for his illustrations of The Story of the Little Mole Who Knew It Was None of His Business (1994), which became a great success around the world.
The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA) is the world's largest award for children's and young adult literature. The award, which amounts to SEK 5 million, is given annually to a single laureate or to several. Authors, illustrators, oral storytellers and reading promoters are eligible. The award is designed to promote interest in children's and young adult literature. The UN convention of rights of the child is the foundation of our work. An expert jury selects the laureate(s) from candidates nominated by institutions and organisations all over the world. The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award was founded by the Swedish government in 2002 and is administrated by the Swedish Arts Council.