Australian Author Wins Lindgren Award

The jury hailed Sonya Hartnett as
The jury hailed Sonya Hartnett as "one of the major forces for renewal" in her genre. (Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award Via Associated Press)
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By Malin Rising
Associated Press
Thursday, March 13, 2008

STOCKHOLM, March 12 -- Australian author Sonya Hartnett is the winner of the $818,000 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award for Literature, the largest children's book award in the world.

Hartnett, 39, published her first novel, "Trouble All the Way," at the age of 15 and since then has written 18 novels for children, young people and adults.

The jury praised her "linguistic virtuosity and brilliant narrative technique" and said her works are "a source of strength."

According to the jury's citation, "Sonya Hartnett is one of the major forces for renewal in modern young adult fiction. With psychological depth and a concealed yet palpable anger, she depicts the circumstances of young people without avoiding the darker sides of life."

A biography of the author on the Lindgren Award Web site states: "Perhaps the most emotionally compelling ingredient is her ability to delve deep into the psyche of young people with difficult and traumatic experiences behind them, as in 'The Devil Latch' (1996) and 'Surrender' (2005). Here, she is breaking new ground and going further than any previous author of young adult fiction."

The award is named after Astrid Lindgren, the beloved Swedish children's writer whose Pippi Longstocking -- a strong-willed girl with braided hair, freckles and mismatched stockings -- captivated generations of children around the world.

The Swedish Arts Council, which awards the prize, said Lindgren's works were filled with an empathy with children living under difficult circumstances and that Hartnett's original and provocative writings take this subject matter into a new era.

The award, established by the Swedish government in 2002, will be presented on May 28 by Sweden's Crown Princess Victoria at a ceremony at Stockholm's open-air Skansen museum.

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