Jacqueline Woodson wins the world’s largest prize for children’s literature, the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award


Jacqueline Woodson, who won a National Book Award for her memoir in verse “Brown Girl Dreaming,” won the 2018 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award on Tuesday. The award comes with a prize of $608,000.

Publishers Weekly reports that Woodson is the 18th person or organization to win the prize, which is considered one of the most prestigious children’s literary awards in the world. The prize comes with a cash award of almost $608,000 and is funded by the Swedish government.

The Lindgren Award, named after the Swedish creator of Pippi Longstocking, caps a list of many honors Woodson has won over her career. In addition to her National Book Award for “Brown Girl Dreaming,” the author has won the Coretta Scott King Award twice and a Newbery Honor four times.


In January, the Library of Congress named Woodson the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. Although Woodson has written two adult novels, “Autobiography of a Family Photo” and “Another Brooklyn,” a National Book Award finalist, most of her published work has been for middle-grade readers and young adults.

The chair of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award jury announces this year's laureate, Amercan writer Jacqueline Woodson.
(Anders Wiklund/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock )

Woodson becomes the fourth American author to win the Lindgren Award, after Maurice Sendak, Katherine Paterson and Meg Rosoff, an American-born writer who has lived in the United Kingdom for several years.

The award was accompanied by a citation from the jury who selected Woodson, which reads, “Jacqueline Woodson introduces us to resilient young people fighting to find a place where their lives can take root. In language as light as air, she tells stories of resounding richness and depth. Jacqueline Woodson captures a unique poetic note in a daily reality divided between sorrow and hope.”

Woodson celebrated her victory on Twitter, thanking the organizers of the award:


In October, the publisher Riverhead, a Penguin Random House imprint, announced it had signed Woodson to a two-book deal, which includes a novel and a work of nonfiction. It’s not clear whether the novel will be intended for adults or for younger readers.