Dutch author Guus Kuijer is the 10th winner of the annual Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. The announcement came Tuesday afternoon at the Bologna Book Fair, in a broadcast direct from Sweden that aired online and to a packed crowd at the Illustrator’s Café. Several past winners of the award, including Katherine Paterson, Sonya Hartnett, and Kitty Crowther, were on hand for the announcement. Kuijer was selected from 184 candidates from 66 countries. The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, which is given by the Swedish Arts Council, is the largest prize in the children’s book world, with the winner receiving five million Swedish crowns.
“Respect for children is as self-evident in his works as his rejection of intolerance and oppression,” said the jury of Kuijer in their citation. “Kuijer combines serious subject matter and razor-sharp realism with warmth, subtle humor and visionary flights of fancy.”
Kuijer’s career as an author began in 1975, and he has published more than 30 books to date. Only one of his titles, The Book of Everything (Scholastic/Levine, 2006), is available in the U.S. Kuijer will receive the award at a ceremony in Sweden on May 28.