Belgian author wins Astrid Lindgren prize

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The Independent Culture

Belgian illustrator and author Kitty Crowther has won the 2010 Astrid Lindgren Memorial award, named after the Swedish creator of Pippi Longstocking, the fund that awards the prize said Wednesday.

The jury described the children's author as "the master of the line but also of the atmosphere," praising the sympathy and intense empathy she shows her fictional characters.

"She's a traditional storyteller," Larry Lempert, who heads the jury, told AFP, adding "it's her way of telling that takes people between imagination and reality."

Lempert described Crowther as first and foremost an illustrator and then an author, praising her use of simple materials and tools to illustrate books.

"In Kitty Crowther we found an artist and storyteller strong in her humanity and sympathy... she follows the weak, she shows ways of life," he said.

Born in 1970 to a Swedish mother, Crowther told AFP the award was "a fantastic recognition from Swedish culture."

To be chosen for the prize "is incredible," she said with emotion.

Crowther has authored and contributed to more than 35 children's books and writes mostly in French, but has also published four books in Dutch.

She will receive her prize and a cheque for five million kronor (690,999 dollars, 517,125 euros) at a ceremony in Stockholm on June 1.

The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award was created by the Swedish government after Lindgren's death in January 2002, and claims today to be the world's largest children's and young people's literary prize.

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