Australian author Sonya Hartnett wins award

March 12, 2008 10:06:07 AM PDT
Australian author Sonya Hartnett is the winner of the $818,000 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award for Literature, the largest children's book award in the world.

Hartnett, 39, published her first novel, "Trouble All the Way," at the age of 15 and has written 18 novels for children, young people and adults since then.

The jury praised her "linguistic virtuosity and brilliant narrative technique" and said her works are "a source of strength."

"Sonya Hartnett is one of the major forces for renewal in modern young adult fiction. With psychological depth and a concealed yet palpable anger, she depicts the circumstances of young people without avoiding the darker sides of life," according to a statement.

The award is named after Astrid Lindgren, the beloved Swedish children's writer whose Pippi Longstocking - a strong-willed girl with braided hair, freckles and mismatched stockings - captivated generations of children around the world.

The Swedish Arts Council, which awards the prize, said Astrid Lindgren's works were filled with an empathy with children living under difficult circumstances and that Hartnett's original and provocative writings take this subject matter into a new era.

The award, established by the Swedish government in 2002, will be presented on May 28 by Sweden's Crown Princess Victoria at a ceremony at Stockholm's open-air Skansen museum.