The award is named after Sweden’s much-loved author and creator of the Pippy Longstocking character and has been termed the children’s literature equivalent to the Nobel Prize for Literature. It also comes with a hefty cash component of around $760,000 so nothing to be sneezed at there either.
Tan was chosen from a field of 170 shortlisted nominees from 60 different countries. Amongst the list were also Quentin Blake and Roberto Innocenti, illustrators he grew up admiring.
Listening to Shaun Tan on ABC radio last week, he said the news was completely unexpected and came while he was halfway through doing the dishes.
Asked which was better, winning an Oscar for best animated short film of his book The Lost Thing or this award, he said The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award was for his body of work over a number of years and made the hard yards well worth it.
Congratulations Shaun Tan on your incredible achievements!