The basis for Astrid Lindgren’s worldwide success is her books. Today the books are available in over ninety languages and they still form the core of Saltkråkan’s activities. Here you can read more about Astrid Lindgren’s books.
Astrid Lindgren’s debut came in 1944 when at the age of 37 she wrote Britt-Mari lättar sitt hjärta (not available in English). The book won her second prize in the Best Book for Girls competition organized by the newly started publishing company, Rabén & Sjögren. Ever since then, Rabén & Sjögren has been Astrid Lindgren’s publisher inSweden. Her big breakthrough came the following year with the release of Pippi Longstocking. It was an instant success and is still her most widely spread book – translated into seventy languages.
Many people ask how many books Astrid Lindgren has written. It depends on your method of counting, but the original chapter-books are 34 and the picture-books 41. Add to that twenty or so anthologies, collections and other books. She only ever wrote one book for grownups, and it was the love story about her parents, Samuel August in Sevedstorp and Hanna from Hult.
Back in 1946, Astrid Lindgren signed her first international contract. It was with a Norwegian company that wanted to publish Pippi Longstocking. Soon after, contracts for publishing rights in Finlandand and Denmark followed. But the country where Astrid Lindgren is most popular (arguably even more than in Sweden) is Germany. It all started when Friedrich Oetinger from Hamburg came to see Astrid Lindgren in 1949 with an ambition to publish Pippi Longstocking in Germany. It was her first big breakthrough and made the way for her big international success.
The illustrations have had a big influence on the success of the books. In Sweden, there are three key illustrators who have contributed with congenial illustrations – Ingrid Vang Nyman, Ilon Wikland and Björn Berg.
Saltkråkan is not in a position to place demands on the choice of illustrator for the international editions of the books, but we do want to point to the proven success that the original illustrations have achieved. They are superior in dramatising the stories of Astrid Lindgren and they were originally created in collaboration with her.
We often receive enquiries regarding the right to publish excerpts from Astrid Lindgren’s books in school books and anthologies. We don’t mind that at all, so long as the excerpts are presented in the original form, not tampered with in any way. It is the author’s own language and way of expressing herself that makes the books and the characters what they are.
Astrid often said that she wrote exclusively for the child within her, not for anybody else. She had no messages. She has also talked about the miracle that takes place in the head of the child reading the book, and that the experience is unique to the reader. Our desire is that those who read Astrid Lindgren’s books should have the opportunity of creating their own miracles, and therefore get to read the author’s own version of the stories.
We are seeing rapid developments within digital media. At Saltkråkan, we are keen to ensure that Astrid Lindgren’s works are keeping up with the times and that they are available in new formats for new generations.
In Sweden, Rabén & Sjögren, the company where Astrid Lindgren herself had responsibility for the publishing of children’s books over many years, has exclusive rights to all her books.
Most of her books are already published internationally, and relationships with the publishers worldwide are strong – many times established by the writer herself.
Should you want to know if a title is free for publishing in a certain language for a specific market, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If your request relates to picture-books, you should always contact Rabén & Sjögren.
All books by Astrid Lindgren are listed on the official website www.astridlindgren.com and in the book by Kerstin Kvint – Astrid Worldwide, Kvints 2002.