The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA) was created by the Swedish government in 2002 and is aimed at writers working in the spirit of Astrid Lindgren, the author of Pippi Langkous and Ronja the thief's daughter. This prestigious international award is also called the Nobel Prize for Children's Literature. There is an impressive amount of money of 480 thousand euros attached to the prize.
Potential winners are driven by organizations around the world. A total of 264 authors from over 60 countries were eligible for the award this year. No fewer than eight Dutch candidates were on this list; Charlotte Dematons, Harrie Geelen, Peter van Gestel, Jonge Harm, Joke van Leeuwen, Ted van Lieshout, Thé Tjong-Khing and Marit Törnqvist. Among the Belgians, Carll Cneut, Anne Herbaut, Bart Moeyaert, Rascal and Klaas Verplancke were eligible.
Moeyaart has been on this list of nominations several times. He was only nineteen years old when he debuted in 1983 with Duet with fake walnuts. This book was immediately crowned the best book of the year in 1984 by the Juvenile and Juvenile Jury. Many books followed. The ALMA jury report praises Moeyaert's writing style: "His compact and musical language vibrates with repressed emotions and unspoken desire."
Bart Moeyaert's most recent book, Today everyone is called Sorry was published last year and is called "an extremely clear and emotionally charged portrait" by the same jury. The children's book is also eligible for the Woutertje Pieterse Award, whose winner will be announced on April 11.
In the fifteen years that ALMA was awarded, Guus Kuijer was the only Dutch person to receive it. The author among others Daisy and Scratches on the table top received the award in 2012. The first winner was Maurice Sendak (2003) and then Philip Pullman and Shaun Tan also received the award. Last year Jacqueline Woodson could call herself the winner.
The presentation of the ALMA will be held in Stockholm in two months.