Photo of the week: A winning smile


Flemish author Bart Moeyaert has won the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, the most prestigious prize in the world for an author of youth and children’s literature

Expanding the borders

An enthusiastic round of applause went to Flemish author Bart Moeyaert earlier this week when he was pronounced the winner of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (Alma). Known as the “Nobel Prize for Youth Literature,” it was awarded at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair.

The prize is awarded annually to an outstanding author of children’s books or literature for young adults. Named after the author of the beloved Pippi Longstocking, it is the most prestigious prize of its kind in the world and comes with a purse of some €480,000.

“I began reading Astrid Lindgren’s books when I was nine,” said Moeyaert, 54. “Her world became my world, it felt like family. Later, I realised that her world was about inclusion. And that was comforting because I was the youngest in my family and was a bit different. Naturally, it has had an influence on my work. I want to expand the borders of youth literature.”

First book, first award

Moeyaert, who lives in Antwerp, has won innumerable awards, beginning at the age of 19 with his debut novel Duet met valse noten (Off-Key Duet). He has since produced more than 50 titles in children’s and youth literature and poetry.

Moeyaert has been translated in more than 20 languages, including English. His latest book has been translated into English under the title Everybody’s Sorry Nowadays.

“Bart Moeyaert’s condensed and musical language vibrates with suppressed emotions and unspoken desires,” reads the Alma jury’s statement. “He portrays relationships at crisis points with a cinematic immediacy, even as his complex narratives suggest new ways forward. Bart Moeyaert’s luminous work underscores the fact that books for children and young people have a self-evident place in world literature.”

Photo: Susanne Kronholm