Australian author/illustrator Shaun Tan has won the 2011 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, the largest for children’s and young adult literature with a prize of five million Swedish krona. This marks the second major award that Tan has won in just over a month—in late February he took home an Academy Award for The Lost Thing, an animated short film he directed, based on his book of the same name.
The jury’s citation called Tan, “a masterly visual storyteller, pointing the way ahead to new possibilities for picture books. His pictorial worlds constitute a separate universe where nothing is self-evident and anything is possible. Memories of childhood and adolescence are fixed reference points, but the pictorial narrative is universal and touches everyone, regardless of age. Behind a wealth of minutely detailed pictures, where civilization is criticized and history depicted through symbolism, there is a palpable warmth. People are always present, and Shaun Tan portrays both our searching and our alienation. He combines brilliant, magical narrative skill with deep humanism.”
Tan will be presented with the award at a ceremony at the Stockholm Concert Hall on May 31. He is the creator of several books including The Arrival (a New York Times Best Illustrated Book), Tales from Outer Suburbia, and, most recently, Lost & Found: Three by Shaun Tan (Scholastic/Levine), which collects three of his earlier works. The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award is administered by the Swedish Arts Council and is awarded annually to authors, illustrators, storytellers, or those active in the promotion of reading.