Astrid Lindgren was a Swedish writer of fiction and screenplays. She is best known for children’s book series featuring Pippi Longstocking, Emil i Lönneberga, Karlsson-on-the-Roof, and the Six Bullerby Children.
Astrid Lindgren short biography
Astrid Lindgren was born Astrid Anna Emilia Ericsson on the 14 November 1907 in Vimmerby in the province of Smaland, in Southern Sweden where she grew up on a farm. Astrid Lindgren had two sisters, Stina and Ingegerd, and one brother, Gunnar, who became a member of the Swedish parliament.
At school, Astrid Lindgren was good at writing and at the age of thirteen she got a story published in the Vimmerby Times (Vimmerby Tindingen). When Astrid Lindgren finished school, the Editor-in-Chief of the Vimmerby Times employed her on a voluntary basis. She began by writing reviews, adverts and proof reading and later wrote articles for the paper.
Astrid Lindgren’s Early Career and son Lars Lindgren
In 1926, at the age of eighteen, Astrid Lindgren left the newspaper after she became pregnant by a man 30 years her senior. Instead of accepting his marriage proposal, Astrid Lindgren went to Copenhagen to have her child. She chose the hospital as it was the only one in Scandinavia that did not ask for the father’s name. Her son Lars lived in a foster home for three years whilst Astrid Lindgren made a living in Stockholm, but she would make the long journey to Copenhagen to visit him whenever she could. After three years Lars went home to Vimmerby to live with his grandparents until Astrid Lindgren could afford to raise him in Stockholm.
Astrid Lindgren’s Marriage and daughter Karin Lindgren
In Stockholm, Astrid Lindgren worked as a secretary at the Royal Swedish Automobile Club, where she met her husband, the office manager Sture Lindgren, in 1928.
Astrid and Sture Lindgren married in 1931 and in 1934 their daughter Karin Lindgren was born. Astrid Lindgren was kept busy at home with her two children but she still found the time to write short stories for the magazine Landsbygdens Jul (A Country Christmas), bringing in some extra money. In 1941 the family moved to a new apartment in Dalagatan in Stockholm, where Astrid Lindgren lived until her death in 2002. In 1952 Sture Lindgren died of an internal haemorrhage, aged 53. Astrid Lindgren never remarried.
Astrid Lindgren and Pippi Longstocking
Astrid Lindgren was inspired to write her Pippi Longstocking books when her daughter Karin was lying sick in bed. She wanted to hear a story and asked her mother to tell her about Pippi Longstocking. Astrid Lindgren used the name invented by her daughter to make up stories to entertain her.
For Karin’s tenth birthday, Astrid Lindgren wrote down the stories she had told Karin about Pippi Longstocking. She also sent a copy of the stories to the publisher Albert Bonniers Förlag. The manuscript was rejected but Astrid Lindgren discovered her love of writing books and wrote Britt-Mari Lättar Sitt Hjärta (Confidences of Britt-Mari). This book came second in publisher Rabén & Sjögren’s writing competition for girls’ fiction. Rabén & Sjögren’s published Britt-Mari Lättar Sitt Hjärta in 1944 and Pippi Longstocking in 1945.
The book became a great success and made her a world-famous author.
Raben & Sjögren
In 1946 Astrid Lindgren began working for the publisher Raben & Sjögren as a children’s book editor. She later became responsible for the distribution of children’s books and stayed with the company until her retirement in 1970.
Astrid Lindgren as a Public Figure
Astrid Lindgren’s success as an author brought her into the public eye and she became involved in national debates on issues including taxation policies, nuclear power and the treatment of children, refugees and animals.
During her life, Astrid Lindgren received numerous awards and honours, including the Hans Christian Andersen medal (1958), the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award (1973) and UNESCO Book Award (1993).
In 1967, to mark her 60th birthday, the Astrid Lindgren Prize was instituted by Rabén & Sjögren. The prize is awarded every year for meritorious authorship in Swedish children’s and young adult literature.
Astrid Lindgren continued to be active in public life until the age of ninety-one when she had a stroke and stopped appearing in public. On 28 January 2002 Astrid Lindgren passed away at her home in Dalagatan.
Best-known books Astrid Lindgren
- Pippi Longstocking series (Pippi Långstrump)
- Karlsson-on-the-Roof series (Karlsson på taket)
- Emil of Lönneberga series (Emil i Lönneberga)
- Bill Bergson series (Mästerdetektiven Blomkvist)
- Madicken series
- Ronia the Robber’s Daughter (Ronja rövardotter)
- Seacrow Island (Vi på Saltkråkan)
- The Six Bullerby Children / The Children of Noisy Village series (Barnen i Bullerbyn)
- Mio, My Son / Mio, My Mio (Mio, min Mio)
- The Brothers Lionheart (Bröderna Lejonhjärta)