Astrid Lindgren dies aged 94

The whole world's queen of fairy tales is dead


The popular Swedish children’s writer Astrid Lindgren has died aged 94.

She died peacefully Monday in her home in Stockholm after some weeks of illness.

Astrid Lindgren.

Astrid Lindgren was born Astrid Ericson on November 14th 1907, in Näs, a village close to Vimmerby in southern Sweden.

The first time she was published was at age 13, when she won a short story competition in the local newspaper Wimmerby tidning. At the age of 17 she started working as a journalist at the same paper. Two years later she moved to Stockholm to become a secretary.

In 1931 she married Sture Lindgren.

Her first book, “Britt-Mari opens her heart”, was published in 1944. The same year she started working on the first novel about her most popular character - the freckled, red-haired Pippi Longstocking, the strongest girl in the world.

She came up with the story when her daughter Karin was ill and asked her mother to read a fairy tale.

In 1947 the book was published and it has become a huge success throughout the world, though many parents at first were schocked by Pippi and the way she rebelled against society and mocked teachers and police. Since then her works – including novels, short stories, plays, song books and poetry - has been translated into about 80 languages, and has sold over 100 million copies. About 50 films based on her novels have been made.

Internationally acclaimed

Astrid Lindgren is one of the most popular children’s writers, both in Sweden and in the world, and during her lifetime she was awarded dozens of international prizes for her work, among them the prestigious H.C. Andersen medal in 1958.

She never was awarded the Nobel literature prize, but several times she was voted the most popular person in Sweden. The readers of Aftonbladet also voted her the most admired and popular person of the twentieth century.

In 1989 a theme-park opened in her hometown of Vimmerby. The park displays several of the settings from her many books, and every year about 300,000 people visit the park.

Lindgren also used her writing skills to voice political concerns. In 1976 she wrote an article that criticised tax legislation in Sweden. The article was called “Pomperipossa in the world of money”, and it helped change the law. Throughout her life she was a staunch defender of children’s rights and animal welfare.

In 1998 Astrid Lindgren's Children Hospital was opened, named in her honour. It is one of the biggest children hospitals in northern Europe.

Dies peacefully at home

The last years of her life were spent peacefully in her apartment in Stockholm where she had lived all of her adult life. Her eyesight and hearing deteriorated during her last years and her last manuscript came out in 1987.

And the whole world's queen of fairy tales died on Monday after some time of illness at the age of 94.

But her popular characters, for example Pippi Longstocking, Karlsson on the Roof, Emil, Mio my son and The Brothers Lionheart, will live on.

Andreas Alfredsson