Kitty Crowther wins the ALMA

Larry Lempert, ALMA jury 2010

Along with all those people in Bologna, I watched the announcement of this year’s Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, waiting during the anything-but-tense 30 seconds when Larry Lempert just stood there saying nothing, because he had to wait for the big hand to reach twelve. The winner is Kitty Crowther, and I know no more about her than what was said in Vimmerby when they announced it.

‘Kitty Crowther is an illustrator and author, born in 1970, who lives and works in Belgium. The jury’s citation reads as follows:

Kitty Crowther is the master of line but also of atmosphere. She maintains the tradition of the picture book while transforming and renewing it. In her world, the door between imagination and reality is wide open. She addresses the reader gently and personally, but with profound effect. In her deeply felt empathy with people in difficulty, she shows ways in which weakness can be turned into strength. Humanism and sympathy permeate and unify her artistry.’

So rather like the Nobel prize in other words. That too often leaves the world wondering ‘who?’, except with a children’s book award maybe the world is less interested. But £5 million kronor is not to be sniffed at.

Kitty Crowther

I gather Kitty is half Swedish and half British, while she lives in Belgium. From what I could see and hear she writes in French. They had someone (in Vimmerby) giving a brief talk about Kitty and she kept waving her arm to her left, where there were pictures of Kitty’s books, except it took a while for the television camera to catch up and actually show the world this. And then the talk was cut off mid-sentence, so I assume her time was up. But it was fun to be there, if only from my kitchen table.

Will have to investigate Kitty further.

6 responses to “Kitty Crowther wins the ALMA

  1. Kitty Crowther’s style is very unusual. She is extremely popular in France, but I have to say I find it really hard to warm to her style. She is very talented, but to me she is one of those illustrators whose books seem more adult friendly than child friendly.

  2. The jury wasn’t made up by toddlers, so there is something in what you say.

  3. Isn’t that always the case? Apart from Red House Children’s Book Award that is.
    Crowther’s illustrations are really dark I think; there are a few popular illustrators in France whose work is sometimes really dark like that: Benjamin Lacombe, Anne Herbauts, Beatrice Alemagna.
    To me they sometimes look more like art portfolios than children’s books, if you see what I mean.

  4. Sad to hear that so many people still have the opinion that children shouldn´t or even worse, don´t want to read storries about death and other importent subjects that´s a big part of all our lifes. The reason I think it´s sad is not because of the people themself but all the children they ( not) inspire with this very suprest way of surviving insted of living life in all its happyness and sorrows.

  5. Hello, I’m very late to arrive at this conversation, but I just wanted to give another view… I have a toddler daughter who has adored all the books by Kitty Crowther’s I’ve been able to borrow from the library. So they are not entirely toddler-unfriendly (I like them too, even after reading them 59 billion times!).

    I actually arrived here while trying to find out more about Kitty Crowther, and I like it, what a lovely and interesting blog!

  6. Thank you Helen. I’m sorry I never wrote more about Kitty. I tried to get an interview with her, but the ALMA press office seemed to pay no attention to emails at the time…
    Glad to hear of a child who likes her books, because that is what matters most.

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