In English

“A child alone with her book creates, somewhere in the secret room of her soul, her own pictures that surpass everything else. Human beings must have these pictures. The day when children’s imaginations can no longer make them will be a day when all of humanity is impoverished. All of the great things that have happened in the world happened first in someone’s imagination, and the shape of tomorrow depends largely upon the power of the imagination in those who are just now learning to read. This is why children must have books.”

– Astrid Lindgren


About the conference

The Astrid Lindgren conference is arranged by Saltkråkan ABRabén & Sjögren and Astrid Lindgrensällskapet (The Astrid Lindgren Association) in collaboration with The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA) and The Stockholm House of Culture & City Theatre.

For Astrid Lindgren, few things were more important than a child’s right to read, think and imagine. According to Astrid, this mattered not only to children but to everyone in society and the wider world. Reading, she reasoned, is the route to individual thought, independence and citizenship. For Astrid Lindgren, only the best was good enough for children and young people, and she approached children’s culture with the utmost seriousness. There is more which unites us than divides us, and all change must begin with children.

Today’s world is ever changing and unpredictable. There is a great deal of uncertainty about what will become of our democratic system, which is rooted in the notion of free, educated, participating citizens. A citizen who reads and is able to comprehend complex arguments and long-term solutions represents the smallest component in a democracy.

After a few years’ absence, the Astrid Lindgren conference now returns to Stockholm under the theme “Reading, thought and democracy”, fully evoking the spirit of the author. Uniting a range of perspectives with an open approach, we will be looking at the relationship between reading and thought. Which narratives will stand the test of time, and how will they be told? Who will listen to them, and who will stand on the sidelines? Our journey will take us across the globe to the suburbs of Stockholm, and back again. The stage will be shared by authors, artists, politicians and researchers, examining themes linked to natural science and the humanities alike.

In her life and literature, Astrid Lindgren gave a voice to the weak and vulnerable, protesting against injustice and victimisation and demonstrating exceptional civic courage. Treating every person as an equal, she afforded the same respect to children who read and heads of State alike. This spirit will underpin the 2017 Astrid Lindgren conference, that was held 14 November at Stockholm House of Culture & City Theatre. Stay tuned for information about 2019’s conference!


Practical information

The program was held in Swedish, with the exception of one speaker. The speakers were:

  • Philip Pullman (In English)
  • Farnaz Arbabi
  • Lena Andersson
  • Ola Rosling
  • Elisabeth Åsbrink
  • Milad Mohammadi
  • Ann-Helén Laestadius
  • Armita Golkar
  • Anton Landehag
  • Tomas Alfredson
  • Jesper Waldersten



Please contact us at for more information!