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Monday, 28 January, 2002, 14:06 GMT
Pippi creator Lindgren dies
Astrid Lindgren
Lindgren created Pippi Longstocking for her daughter
The Swedish children's author Astrid Lindgren, creator of the free-spirited Pippi Longstocking, has died at the age of 94.

Lindgren died at home after a brief illness, her daughter Karin Nyman told a Swedish news agency.

Generations of children around the world have grown up with the red-haired Pippi, the mischievous Emil and Ronia, the Robber's Daughter.

Lindgren's books have sold over 100 million copies in some 80 languages.

Pippi Longstocking
Pippi lived with a monkey called Mr Nilsson

Around 40 films and television series have been based on her works.

She was awarded dozens of Swedish and international prizes for her books, among them the Hans Christian Andersen medal in 1958, which is widely considered the ultimate accolade for an author of children's books.

In 1973, she was awarded the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award in recognition of the Pippi stories.

Two museums in Sweden are devoted to Lindgren's work - Astrid Lindgren's World, in Vimmerby, her home town, in the south, and Junibacken, in Stockholm.

Both attract tens of thousands of visitors each year.

I write to amuse the child within me, and can only hope that other children may have some fun that way, too

Astrid Lindgren

Lindgren was born on 14 November 1907 on a farm near Vimmerby.

She wrote Pippi Longstocking in 1945 as a present for her daughter.

Karin, ill with pneumonia, asked her mother to tell her a fairy tale, Lindgren recounted.

"I asked her what about, and she said 'about Pippi Longstocking'.

"So I did. And since it was a strange name, she also became a strange girl," she wrote.


Pippi had distinctive red pigtails and mismatched stockings, and was possessed of enormous physical strength.

She lived alone in a big house with her horse, an ape called Mr Nilsson and a treasure chest full of gold.

The book was an instant success among children.

But parents were sometimes shocked by Pippi, who happily mocked authority figures including policemen and ladies who do good works for charity.

Another favourite character was Karlsson-on-the-Roof, who described himself as "handsome, remarkably wise, and just plump enough - in fact a man in his prime".

Astrid Lindgren and friends
Lindgren: Meeting readers in 1987

With a propeller on his back, Karlsson flew off on adventures from his home - a rooftop in central Stockholm.

"I write to amuse the child within me, and can only hope that other children may have some fun that way, too", Lindgren once wrote.

She defended children's rights and animal welfare, lobbying an animal rights bill into law in 1998.

The same year Astrid Lindgren's Children's Hospital opened, one of the biggest children hospitals in Northern Europe.

Lindgren spent her last years in the modest Stockholm apartment where she had lived for her entire adult life.

Widowed in 1952, she is survived by her daughter, Karin, and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

The BBC's Razia Iqbal
"Lindgren transcends categorisation"
See also:

23 Jan 02 | Arts
Pullman: The story's the thing
19 Jan 02 | Education
Real books beat reading schemes
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