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.
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.