Indigenous Literacy Foundation Receives 2024 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award

For its innovative work with spreading literature to First Nations children in Australia, the Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF) today received the 2024 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award.

Given annually, it is the largest in the world of its kind. The prestigious award comes with a cash prize of SEK 5 million (EUR 450,000).

The Indigenous Literacy Foundation seeks to increase reading and highlight the value of all people’s own languages and stories. In its reading promotion work, ILF emphasizes the importance of First Nations children seeing themselves, their culture and their language reflected in the books they read.

‘The importance of all people’s own languages and stories is the foundation for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation’s shining work among First Nations peoples in Australia. Their innovative activities, which build on respect, collaboration and sensitivity, are an inspiration for reading promotion work around the world,’ says Boel Westin, chair of the jury for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award.

The jury’s motivation:

”With curiosity and respect, Indigenous Literacy Foundation works with reading and storytelling among First Nations children in Australia. In close collaboration with Communities, they highlight the value of all people’s own languages and stories. By spreading books and stimulating reading, storytelling and creativity, Indigenous Literacy Foundation builds the desire to read and fosters pride, self-confidence and a sense of belonging. Every child has the right to their language and their stories.”

About the Indigenous Literacy Foundation

The Indigenous Literacy Foundation was formed in 2011 to encourage reading and promote literacy by securing access to good literature for First Nations children of Australia. ILF’s reading promotion work is based on collaboration with and commitment from local Communities. Through various programs they offer book packs to children and families in First Nations Communities around Australia and on the Torres Strait Islands, translate books, organize reading out loud activities, and support the publication of children’s books that have been created in Communities. Today, ILF works in 427 First Nations Communities all over the Australian continent.

ILF emphasizes the importance of First Nations children finding themselves, their culture and their languages reflected in the books they read. With trust and respect for each Community and its unique conditions, traditions and wishes, and in cooperation with Community residents, ILF promotes reading for pleasure, education, the creation of new stories and the preservation of language. ILF’s innovative, creative work is an inspiration – not only for reading promotion among First Nations peoples, but also for work with children in other social groups whose stories, languages and experiences are not recognized by the majority society.

ILF is the fourth reading promotion group to receive the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, after Banco del Libro (2007), the Tamer Institute (2009) and PRAESA (2015), and the third Laureate from Australia, after Sonya Hartnett (2008) and Shaun Tan (2011).

[Based on a press release.]

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One thought on “Indigenous Literacy Foundation Receives 2024 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award

  1. This is such good news. The ILF does a lot more than the description says. It’s a large force for literacy in certain parts of Australia. I was given a workshop by a Warlpiri elder from one of those parts (he was in Canberra because the government forbade his native language in the classroom and his way of addressing it was not to shout along the streets, but to change the culture in Canberra itself) who had not met a single person with European ancestry until he was ten. Children’s books in one’s own language where a society is not fully bilingual are so important.
    From and SFF point of view, Australia is finally slowly beginning to be able to see that there are many ways of interpreting the world. This is already changing the way some SFF writers see cosmology. I’m one of those writers, thanks to the ILF and writers who talk about their own background with me and with SF communities.
    The ILF does one more thing that changes the world (my world, at least). It rings up all its donors once a year and updates us and allows time for a good talk about what they’re doing and how our donations help. Even a $5 donation gets the phonecall and it’s a full conversation ie what we-who-receive-it say is listened to.
    Now I’m curious. What other groups are there like the ILF that impact SFF? Can we talk about them?

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