Indigenous Literacy Foundation Wins Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award

Indigenous Literacy Foundation Wins Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award

The Indigenous Literacy Foundation, dedicated to fostering literacy among Indigenous children in their native languages, has been honored with the prestigious 2024 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award for children’s literature. This international accolade recognizes outstanding contributions to children’s and young adult literature and comes with a substantial prize of five million Swedish kronor (approximately AUD $725,000), making it the largest award of its kind globally. Indigenous Literacy Foundation Wins Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award

Indigenous Literacy Foundation Wins Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award

The foundation, operating in over 400 remote Indigenous communities, employs innovative approaches to instill a passion for language and reading. Chief Executive Ben Bowen emphasized the historical significance of their work, noting that Indigenous languages were suppressed not long ago. Today, the foundation collaborates with elders and youth, empowering them to create commercially viable books in their native languages, elevating their cultures to a global platform.

Foundation ambassadors Shelley Ware and David Lawrence have mentored high school students from the Tiwi Islands, facilitating the publication of a book within a week. Bowen highlighted the transformative power of storytelling, especially when it centers on culture. The foundation prioritizes publishing books in first languages, alongside English, showcasing a diverse range of original children’s literature.

Boel Westin, chair of the award jury, commended the foundation’s innovative approach, which emphasizes respect, collaboration, and sensitivity. He described their work as an inspiration for reading promotion initiatives worldwide. The announcement was made live from Stockholm and at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, highlighting the global significance of the foundation’s achievements.

Nicola Robinson, head of publishing at the foundation, expressed gratitude to the countless donors and contributors whose support made this award possible. She acknowledged the trust placed in the foundation by remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, who share their stories in multiple languages, beautifully illustrated by community artists.

The Indigenous Literacy Foundation’s receipt of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award underscores the importance of preserving and celebrating Indigenous languages and stories, enriching the literary landscape and promoting cultural diversity worldwide.

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