Barbro Lindgren: Alma Award winner 2014
Barbro Lindgren (1937-), is this year's Alma (Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award). Lindgren is the author of the famous books about Sam (in original Swedish he’s called Max): ”Sam’s ball” and ”Sam’s Cookie” ("Max boll” and "Max kaka”). She has also written interesting children’s books characters like Loranga, Mazarin and Dartanjang. Lindgren was born in Bromma, Stockholm. She graduated from art school in 1958 and has been writing books for publication since 1965. Her style has exerted a major influence on Swedish children's literature. Somewhere between realism and surrealism, her works are humorous and imaginative, and her books for children treat important issues seriously. Early in her career Lindgren won the 1973 Astrid Lindgren Prize, an annual Swedish literary award distinct from the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award was founded by the Swedish government in 2002 and is the world’s largest award for children’s and young adult literature. The prize money is SEK 5 million ($760,000). It is an international award rewarding one or several laureates annually, regardless of language or nationality.

Increase in report of abused children
The number of reports of abuse of children has increased sharply in recent years. Last year over 15,000 cases were reported in Stockholm. But the social workers are under pressure and there’s a risk that children who are in need of emergency shelter get overlooked, according to Stockholm’s social services inspectors in their annual report. Those who are called ”neglected children,” with diverse problems or who simply don’t get their basic needs met, are least likely to receive sufficient attention. Between 2009 and 2013, the reports increased by 4,000. Over half of the 15,013 reported cases that came in front of the social services were deemed so serious that an investigation was initiated. The number of inquiries has increased in all districts except Östermalm and Södermalm.

No excuse to Roma woman
Diana Nyman from Romska rådet was denied breakfast at Hotel Sheraton in Stockholm, where she was staying. She says the staff ran after her in the breakfast room asking whether she was a hotel guest, and according to hotel management, that sequence was filmed by a surveillance camera. "They collected me as if I were a freeloader, but the director’s explanation was that I got a special offer to order my breakfast instead of picking from the buffet, and that it was an offer to even drink my coffee in the lobby. But nobody else was drinking coffee in the lobby. When I showed them my hotel card where breakfast was included, I should have been able to just go back to the dining room again.” Now the Swedish government and the hotel and restaurant business have met for discussion about what happened. ”What happened yesterday is unfortunately common. Nyman herself described it as an everyday occurrence, and that’s where we need an evaluation discussion with the industry, it is not acceptable that people suffer abuses,” said Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag. Nyman was in Stockholm to give a speech when the government presented its so-called White Paper on Roma discrimination and abuses in the 1990s. Nyman received a phone call from Thomas Johansson, managing director at Hotel Sheraton, but did not receive an apology. ”It was a startling conversation where he told me that he and his staff feel sad and offended about what happened. I was very upset,” Nyman told TT. Diana Nyman has discussed the matter with distriktsombudsmannen (the equality ombudsman, or DO) and intends to report the incident, something that must be done in writing. Ullenhag now hopes that Nyman’s case will be tried in court, and doesn’t want to discuss it as an individual case.