The Project for the Study of Alternative Education in South Africa (PRAESA) is the recipient of the 2015 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award – the largest award for children’s literature, with a prize of five million Swedish crowns (more than $575,000). The award was announced live from the National Library of Sweden in Stockholm on Tuesday, and broadcast live at the Bologna Book Fair, as well as on Swedish radio.
Founded in 1992 by Neville Alexander and based in Cape Town, PRAESA promotes reading and literature to children in South Africa. Its expressed goals are “to provide children with high-quality literature in the various South African languages; to collaborate with and foster new networks among publishers and reading promotion organizations; and to initiate and carry out activities that support and sustain a culture of reading and storytelling in socially vulnerable communities.” Additional information about the organization is available on the ALMA website.
In its award citation, the ALMA jury wrote, “With the joy of reading as its compass point, PRAESA opens new routes into the world of books and literature for young readers in South Africa. Through innovative reading and storytelling projects, PRAESA brings people together and brings literature in multiple languages alive. PRAESA’s outstanding work shows the world the crucial role of books and stories in creating rich, full lives for our children and young people.”
PRAESA was also one of two recipients of the IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Award at the 2014 Bologna Book Fair.