2_9_ScanMag_75_April_2015_Text_Q9_MADS_Scan Magazine 1 07/04/2015 22:01 Page 58
Scan Magazine | Special Theme | Children’s Universe
Celebrating 70 years of the strongest girl in the world – and her creator The year is 1945. Astrid Lindgren, a 38-year-old office secretary and mother of two, has for about a year been trying to get her story of a red-haired, strong-willed and commanding little girl published to the larger masses. One of Sweden’s leading publishers has just turned it down for its controversial content when another publishing house, Rabén & Sjögren, announces a writing competition. The story of Pippi Longstocking wins the first prize, Lindgren lands a publishing contract, and goes on to take the world by storm. Ahead of Rabén & Sjögren’s 70th anniversary of the release of the book, Scan Magazine dived deep into the history of the Strongest Girl in the World – and the remarkable woman who made her come to life.
her mother. Lindgren, who has spent the larger part of March that year in bed with a sprained ankle and less than normal to do, has typed down her stories of Pippi in a manuscript. Little does Karin know that her mother’s loving gift is about to become a worldwide children’s book sensation, and more importantly: that it will stay this way for the next seven decades.
By Julie Lindén | Press photos
Lindgren – the pacifist, feminist and protector of children’s rights
Rewind to 1941, and Lindgren’s youngest child, her seven-year-old daughter Karin, is ill with pneumonia. Bored and weak from staying in bed for days, she tugs at her mother as she sits down at her bedside. “’Tell me a story!’ she said. I was exhausted that night, so I replied with ‘what should the story be about?’ Her instant answer was ‘Pippi Longstocking!’ I didn’t ask her who that was, I just started telling
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a story. And because the name was so peculiar, it became a story about a peculiar girl,” notes Lindgren in an interview. The stories about a girl who lives on her own in a large, yellow house, sleeps with her feet on her pillow and is strong enough to lift her horse with only one hand, are an enormous hit with Karin and her friends. When Karin turns ten in 1944, she is handed a very special present from
“Pippi will keep a strong, established presence in children’s lives as long as parents and children read books,” notes Jens Andersen, author of Denne dag, et liv, the first Nordic biography of Lindgren’s life to be published in 40 years. “Her language is timeless, and so are her themes and many of her motives. She did not only write for children, but also for the child inside herself, and thus all human beings.”
Promoting Brand Scandinavia. Featuring interview with moviemaking legend Lasse Hallström.