Astrid Lindgren is awarded the prestigious Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buchhandels (German Booksellers' Peace Award).
In the motivation one says that Astrid is ‘ a role model for all whom with there books give children around the world fantasies inalienable gift and strenghtens their trust in life.”
Astrid Lindgren was the first children's literature author to receive this honour: she donates half the prize money to German children, the other half to Swedish children.
Astrid writes before the reception of the award the speech “Never Violence!” about the connection between a child’s upbringing and all violence in the world.
The organizers ask her, after in advance have reviewed the speech, to refrain from giving it. Astrid replies that if that’s so she will also refrain from coming at all.
And facing this threat the organizers gives in. Read More Below.
The conflict concerning the speech ”Never Violence!”, "Aldrig våld!"
Astrid writes her speech ”Never Violence!” to be held as a speech of thanks in connection with the reception of the German Booksellers' Peace Award.
Since this is a peace prize the theme comes naturally – peace, and the lack of peace in the world. Astrid seeks the answer and means that you have to look in the foundation and start with the children- whom later becomes the warrior – and see how they are treated while growing up.
Apparently Astrid Lindgren steps on many tender toes. The speech is according to rules to be reviewed ahead by the organizers – and after reading through they suggest that she in short just accepts the award, without speech. Astrid replies that if they now have given the award to a children book writer, you have to accept that she starts her speech in the nursery, otherwise she declines and sooner decide to stay at home.
Facing this threat she’s requested to attend the solemn ceremony –and give her speech.
Astrid’s speech in short
“Do we not after all these millennium of on going wars ask our self if it’s not a construction error generally in mankind, since we always use violence? (---) Isn’t it then by any chance that we can change our self before it is to late? (---) I think we must start from the bottom. With the children.”
Astrid urges the adults to bear in mind their power and act as good role models. A child that’s treated affectionate gets a loving attitude to the world around, a child that only experience hostility and violence gets the opposite basic attitude. “Even future statesmen and politician is shaped in character before their fifth anniversary, it’s terrible but true.”
“Never Violence!”, did it lead anywhere?
The year after Astrid held her speech “Never Violence!” Sweden got a law against caning and parental brutality towards children. In getting there the road were still long for Germany. But Astrid Lindgren’s appearance at the award ceremony in Frankfurt hade left impression.
“Her speech was refereed to and printed later in large amounts of copies. Also the German children read and got influenced. A couple of them, a pair of orphan brothers, went head over heals to Sweden and stood suddenly on Stockholm Central. They wanted to move to Sweden, to the wonderful Astrid Lindgren who said that you were never allowed to hit children.”
excerpt from the Swedish book “Astrid Lindgren – en levnadsteckning” by Margareta Strömstedt.
(freely “Astrid Lindgren – a biography” by Margareta Strömstedt.)
Adelaide-Risto Award (Rome)
International Writer's Prize, Wales (Welsh Arts Council)
and an honorary doctor of letters, Leicester University, England.
Wilhelm-Hauff-Prize and the International Janusz-Korczak Award for The Brothers Lionheart.
This entire text is translated by Daniel Grahm
The Swedish text references are: "www.Astrid Lindgren.se" and "Astrid Lindgren a biography" by M. Strömstedt
and these have been compared to
Jane Foo’s A.L appreciation site