By Iminza Keboge
Published April 6, 2016
A writer from the United States of America has won the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA) for the best children’s literature.
The winner, Boston (Massachusetts)-born, London (UK)-based Meg Rosoff, has written seven novels and several picture books for children and young adults, and a novel for adults since her authorial debut in 2004 with How I Live Now. The collected body of work by the 1956-born writer “is richly varied and profoundly affecting for readers of all ages,” says a Media Statement signed by ALMA Communications Officer, Helene Andersson.
The jury’s citation reads: “Meg Rosoff’s young adult novels speak to the emotions as well as the intellect. In sparkling prose, she writes about the search for meaning and identity in a peculiar and bizarre world. Her brave and humorous stories are one-of-a-kind. She leaves no reader unmoved.”
According to Helene Andersson’s statement, “Rosoff writes about young people in the borderlands between childhood and adult life who face difficult trials in their quests to find themselves. At times they are pushed to the brink of the unbearable and beyond. Her protagonists battle questions of identity and sexuality and are thrown involuntarily into chaotic situations. Like Astrid Lindgren, Rosoff empathizes completely with young people and is utterly loyal to them. The adult world, when it appears, remains on the periphery. She uses concrete, vibrant language, whether she is describing a landscape, a piece of clothing, or the groceries in the pantry. She infuses darkness with humor to produce stylistic masterpieces.”
Questions of body, identity, gender, the confusions of falling in love, and the desire and sexuality of the young all come to a head as the narrator sets out to find himself and choose a path different from the one laid out for him by the adult world in What I Was (2007).
At times, as in Just In Case (2006), reality and fantasy almost merge, so that we are hard-pressed to say what is ”really” happening. In There Is No Dog (2011), things get truly crazy when a hormonal teen is given the job of the great Creator.
Meg Rosoff is the recipient of many prizes, including Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, Carnegie Medal and Deutsche Jugendliteraturpreis. Her books have been translated into more than 20 languages and she became Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2014.
The ALMA will be presented in a ceremony at the Stockholm Concert Hall on May 30, 2016.