Every year the Swedish Arts Council awards a prize, which amounts to 5 million Swedish Kronor, to a person or people who have made a significant contribution to the world of children's literature. The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA) is the world’s largest prize for children’s and young adult literature.
Authors, illustrators, oral storytellers and those active in reading promotion may be rewarded. The award is designed to promote interest in children’s and young adult literature, and in children’s rights, globally. An expert jury selects the winners from candidates nominated by institutions and organisations worldwide.
This year the winner of the prize is Shaun Tan.The citation issued by the jury reads:
Shaun Tan is a masterly visual storyteller, pointing the way ahead to new possibilities for picture books. His pictorial worlds constitute a separate universe where nothing is self-evident and anything is possible. Memories of childhood and adolescence are fixed reference points, but the pictorial narrative is universal and touches everyone, regardless of age.
Behind a wealth of minutely detailed pictures, where civilization is criticized and history depicted through symbolism, there is a palpable warmth. People are always present, and Shaun Tan portrays both our searching and our alienation. He combines brilliant, magical narrative skill with deep humanism.
Shaun Tan has illustrated more than 20 books, notable among them The Rabbits (1998), The Lost Thing (2000), The Red Tree (2001), The Arrival (2006) and Tales from Outer Suburbia (2008).
Shaun Tan has reinvented the picture book by creating visually spectacular pictorial narratives with a constant human presence. He uses a variety of means of artistic expression: lead pencil, Indian ink, coloured pencil, painting and various print techniques. Shaun Tan sees every book as an experiment in visual and verbal storytelling.
Shaun Tan also collaborates on animated film, musical and theatrical adaptations of his works, as well as producing fine art and murals.
Shaun Tan has received a number of literary awards, including the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis in 2009 for Tales from Outer Suburbia and a New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books award in 2007 for The Arrival. At this year’s Academy Awards, Shaun Tan won the Oscar for best animated short film for The Lost Thing, based on his book of the same title.
His works have been translated into more than 10 languages, including German, Swedish, Spanish and Chinese.
Read more about Shaun Tan on www.alma.se/en