Born Astrid Anna Emilia Ericsson in 1907, Lindgren grew up in Näs, near Vimmerby, in Småland. Many of her books are set in Småland, based on her family and childhood memories. After school, Lindgren took a job with the newspaper in Vimmerby, where she became pregnant with the chief editor’s child in 1926. He proposed, but she was reluctant, and instead moved to Stockholm, where she became a typist and a stenographer. Her son, Lars, was born in Copenhagen and lived with a foster family. Eventually, when she could afford to raise him, Lindgren brought her son home. In 1931 she married her boss Sture Lindgren, and soon gave birth to a daughter, Karin. The family moved to an apartment with a view over Vasaparken, and Lindgren lived there until her death.
Lindgren's first book, “Britt-Marie lättar sitt hjärta”, won second prize in a competition in 1944. A year later, “Pippi Långstrump” was published. Pippi began as a story Lindgren told Karin when she was sick and had to stay in bed. It has become one of the most beloved children’s books in the world, although it was first rejected by Bonniers (for being too controversial). After Pippi followed books like “Mästerdetektiven Blomkvist” and the Bullerby books. Then came “Mio min mio”, “Lillebror och Karlsson på taket”, “Madicken”, “Emil i Lönneberga”, “Barnen på Saltkråkan”, “Bröderna Lejonhjärta”, and “Ronja Rövardotter”.
In 1958 Lindgren received the H.C. Andersen Award, a prestigious prize sometimes known as the little Nobel Prize, an international award to authors in recognition of a lasting contribution to children’s literature.
Astrid Lindgren's work has been translated into some 80 languages. Outside of Sweden there have been 3000 editions, and 145 million books have been sold. In Russia “Karlsson på taket” has become a favorite character, and when the then-prime minister Ingvar Karlsson visited Moscow, he was told he was the “wrong Karlsson”.
Lindgren was well known both for her support of children’s and animal rights, and for her opposition to corporal punishment. In 1993 she received the Right Livelihood Award for her “commitment to justice, nonviolence and understanding of minorities as well as her love and caring for nature.”
Astrid Lindgren died in 2002 and is buried in Vimmerby.

"I utkanten av den lilla, lilla staden låg en gammal förfallen trädgård. I trädgården låg ett gammalt hus, och i huset bodde Pippi Långstrump. Hon var nio år, och hon bodde där alldeles ensam. Ingen mamma eller pappa hade hon, och det var egentligen rätt skönt, för på det viset fanns det ingen, som kunde säja till henne, att hon skulle gå och lägga sig, just när det var som roligast, och ingen som kunde tvinga henne att äta fiskleverolja, när hon hellre ville ha karameller."
(from “Pippi Långstrump")