The Alma prize for an American author

Facts: The most recent Alma prize winners


2022 Eva Lindström, Sweden

2021 Jean-Claude Mourlevat, France

2020 Baek Heena, South Korea

2019 Bart Moeyaert, Belgium

2018 Jacqueline Woodson, USA

2017 Wolf Erlbruch, Germany

2016 Meg Rosoff, USA, living in the UK

2015 Reading organization Praesa, South Africa

2014 Barbro Lindgren, Sweden

2013 Isol, Argentina

— I thought they made a mistake. I don’t know if the shock will ever wear off. To be nominated for the Alma prize is just such a gift and honor, and to receive it – I am so happy, says Laurie Halse Anderson to TT on the phone.

Her literary breakthrough came in 1999, long before the metoo movement. The book “Säg something”, which had a huge impact, is about 13-year-old Melinda, who has been raped at a messy party. Afterwards, she can’t bring herself to tell what happened, because how do you talk about what the outside world still refuses to see?

The book, as well as “Shards of memories” are the only ones that have so far been translated into Swedish. It’s about how the raped is stigmatized and ostracized in the school’s social context, and Laurie Halse Anderson has no problem telling why she wrote it.

— I was raped when I was 13 years old, which unfortunately is a fairly common experience. I didn’t tell anyone, I had old fashioned parents and thought it was my fault. It was a terrible situation and I became very depressed. “Say Something” isn’t exactly my story but the girl in it is experiencing the same emotions I was experiencing. When my oldest daughter started to reach the same age, I wanted to write about this.

Has been banned

Halse Anderson is primarily a youth author. She also touches on themes such as eating disorders in the book “Wintergirls” and the challenges of masculinity in “Twisted”. The latter calls the Alma Jury “an updated version of JD Salinger’s “The Rescuer”.

That book, like several of Laurie Halse Anderson’s books, is on a list of so-called “banned books” in some US states, which means that they are banned from schools and not bought into libraries. The autobiographical story “Shout” has also been banned. The book is a companion to “Say something” and emphasizes that the victim of a sexual assault not only needs to talk – but scream to be heard.

— Some adults are uncomfortable talking about sexual violence. We have a couple of radical and extreme groups that do not want children to read about sexuality in any form, they do not want children to hear about homosexuality or stories about people who are not white. It’s so ridiculous, says Laurie Halse Anderson, adding:

— I am so honored, shocked and surprised by this award. It strengthens me, and reminds me again of the power of literature to change and to save lives.

No Russian nominees

A total of 251 people from 64 countries were nominated for this year’s Alma award. But last year’s 17 Russian candidates were removed from the list this year. The decision was made following a recommendation from the government, which instituted the prize after Astrid Lindgren’s death. No Russian nominating bodies were allowed to submit proposals for prize winners.

Although there was no obstacle for nominating bodies in other countries to nominate Russian authors, no one was nominated from there either.

Last year it was Sweden’s Eva Lindström who received this year’s Alma prize. Her books have now been translated into 15 languages, of which 8 were added after the Alma prize.

Disclaimer: If you need to update/edit/remove this news or article then please contact our support team Learn more

Peggy McColl

Mentor l NY Times Bestselling Author. Hi, I'm Peggy McColl, and I'm here to deliver a positive message to you!

Leave a Reply