Mourlevat Wins 2021 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award

The 2021 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award laureate is French author Jean-Claude Mourlevat. 

The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA) is the world’s largest award for children’s and young adult literature. The award, which amounts to SEK 5 million, is given annually to a single laureate or to several. Authors, illustrators, oral storytellers and reading promoters are eligible. The award is designed to promote interest in children’s and young adult literature. 

Jean-Claude Mourlevat is one of France’s leading children and young adult authors. Since his publishing debut in 1997, he has written more than 30 books which have been translated into nearly 20 languages.

Citation of the Jury:

Jean-Claude Mourlevat is a brilliant renewer of fairy tale traditions, open to both hardship and beauty. Time and space are suspended in his fictional worlds, and eternal themes of love and longing, vulnerability and war are portrayed in precise and dreamlike prose. Mourlevat’s ever-surprising work pins the fabric of ancient epic onto a contemporary reality.

About Jean-Claude Mourlevat: Born in 1952 in Ambert, a village in the French region of Auvergne, Jean-Claude Mourlevat made his authorial debut IN 1997 with the picture book Histoire de l’enfant et de l’oeuf. Since then, Mourlevat has worked as a writer full-time. He lives near Saint-Étienne with his wife and two children.

Selected works: L’Enfant océan (The Pull of the Ocean), published in 1999, garnered acclaim and introduced Jean-Claude Mourlevat to a wider international audience. In this episodic work we follow seven siblings, two of whom are twins, on their journey away from a threatening home.

The award-winning young adult novel Le combat d’hiver (Winter Song) from 2006 has been translated into 20 languages. It centers around four parentless students at a boarding school with extremely harsh and repressive rules.

Le chagrin du roi mort (2009) is a fairy tale in which the survival of an entire people is at stake. The story unfolds on a peaceful island somewhere in the north. When the beloved king dies, the peace is threatened. Courage, self-sacrifice and solidarity are put to the test when confronted with evil, barbarism and war.

In Jean-Claude Mourlevat’s most recent book, Jefferson(2018), the main character is a hedgehog who loves to read. When he is wrongfully accused of murder, he goes on the run, and his novel-reading habit takes on critical importance.

Official website:

[Based on a press release.]

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