Birthday: November 14, 1907
Died At Age: 94
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Also Known As: Astrid Anna Emilia Lindgren
Born Country: Sweden
Born in: Vimmerby, Sweden
Famous as: Writer
Spouse/Ex-: Sture Lindgren
father: Samuel August Ericsson
mother: Hanna Johnsson
siblings: Gunnar Ericsson, Ingegerd Ericsson, Stina Ericsson
children: Karin Lindgren, Lars Lindgren
Died on: January 28, 2002
place of death: Vasastan, Stockholm, Sweden
awards: Litteris et Artibus
International Swede of the Year
Nils Holgersson Plaque
Svenska Dagbladet Literature Prize
Selma Lagerlöf Prize
Right Livelihood Award
Peace Prize of the German Book Trade
Hans Christian Andersen Award
Officier des Arts et des Lettres
Order of Freedom
Astrid Lindgren was a famous Swedish author best known for her children’s book series. Raised in a farm near Vimmerby, she had a very happy childhood, playing with her siblings, working at the farm side by side with maids, farmhands, and temporary workers. Stories were also an integral part of her childhood; she listened to her first tale at the age of four when the daughter of a farmhand read out to her about the giant ‘Bam-Bam’ and the fairy ‘Viribunda’, igniting in her a love for them. A rebel in her adolescent years, she became the first girl in the town to cut her hair short and an unwed mother at eighteen. She eventually became a writer, creating her first story, that of ‘Pippi Longstocking,’ at her daughter’s request. Eventually, she produced 34 chapter books and 41 picture books, which together have sold over 165 million copies and have been translated into numerous languages.
Childhood & Early life
Astrid Anna Emilia Lindgren (née Ericsson) was born on 14 November 1907, at Näs, located near Vimmerby, a small town in south-eastern Sweden. Her father, Samuel August Ericsson, was a tenant farmer and a great story-teller. Her mother’s name was Hanna (nee Jonsson).
Born the second of her parents’ four children, she had an elder brother named Gunnar, who later became a member of the Swedish parliament and the author of political satires. Younger to her were two sisters, Stina and Ingegerd. Among them, Stina worked as a translator and Ingegerd became a journalist.
Raised on a farm, Astrid had a very happy childhood, secure in the love of her family. But later as she entered her teens, she became a rebel and saw every play and movie that came to town.
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Early Career & Birth of Lars
Possibly in 1924, Astrid Ericsson graduated from school and joined a local newspaper, where she proofread, wrote tiny notices and short reports. Very soon, she became involved with the newspaper’s editor-in-chief, Reinhold Blomberg, a married man with seven children, becoming pregnant with his child in 1926.
To avoid scandal, she moved to Stockholm all by herself, where she entered a secretarial course at the Bar-Lock Institute. Later, she moved to Copenhagen, where on 4 December 1926, she gave birth to her son, Lars, and promptly returned home, leaving him in foster care.
In 1927, she joined Svenska Bokhandelscentralen’s radio department, where her job was to deal with customers’ complaints. Later in 1928, she joined Royal Automobile Club (KAK), where she met her future husband. All along, she kept in touch with her child.
In 1931, Astrid Ericsson married Sture Lindgren and sent for Lars, who then started living with them. Her daughter, Karin, was born on 21 May 1934. To raise extra money, she now began taking part-time jobs and also wrote for magazines.
In 1937, she was employed as the secretary to Harry Söderman, Associate Professor of Criminology at Stockholm University. During this period, she not only absorbed his knowledge, but also observed his persona, later using them in her stories.
In September 1939, as the Second World War broke out, she started noting down war-related news as well as routines od her day-to-day life, filling up seventeen diaries till 1945. Meanwhile in 1940, she started working at the secret services’ department, where she was tasked with censoring letters.
Astrid Lindgren is best known for her Pippi Longstocking series, which consists of three chapter books, three short stories and a number of picture book adaptations. Published between 1945 and 1948, the chapter books have been translated into 76 languages and made into several films and television series.
She is equally known for her Emil i Lönneberga series, which consists of twelve books, written between 1963 and 1997. Till 2014, the books had been translated into 44 languages and adapted into five movies.
Awards & Achievements
Lindgren had received many awards, including the inaugural Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis award for the German edition of her book, ‘Mio, min Mio’ (1956), Hans Christian Andersen Medal for ‘Rasmus på luffen’ (1958), the gold medal from the Swedish Academy (1971) and Right Livelihood Award (1994).
Family & Personal Life
On 4 April 1931, Astrid Lindgren married Sture Lindgren, remaining married to him until his death on 15 June 1952. Their daughter, Karin Lindgren, grew up to be a Swedish translator.
Her son, Lars Lindgren, born out of her liaison with Reinhold Blomberg prior to her marriage, was an engineer. However, he worked for ‘Tre Lindgren AB’, a company that managed the rights to Astrid Lindgren’s theatrical and film scripts. He died in 1986.
She died on 28 January 2002, at her home in Stockholm. She was then ninety-four years old and was survived by her daughter, Karen. Her funeral at the Storkyrkan in Gamla stan was attended by the Swedish royal family and also the prime minister. Later, she was buried in Vimmerby.
Asteroid 3204 Lindgren, discovered in 1978, was named after her.
A sculpture named Källa Astrid now stands near to her childhood home, at the spot where she first heard a fairytale. Close to that, stands a museum in her memory. Her childhood home is also open to the public.
The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, awarded to authors of children’s and youth literature, was established in 2002.