Swedish picture book author and illustrator Eva Lindström was selected from among 282 nominees from 71 countries as this year’s recipient of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, the world’s largest children’s book award, containing a purse of five million Swedish krona (approximately $525,000 USD at current exchange rates).

The award, founded by the Swedish government in 2002, and now in its 20th year, is administered by Sweden’s Arts Council.

Lindström, 70, is the author and illustrator of five picture books, beginning with The Cat Hat, published in 1989. She has also illustrated books written by other authors and produced several animated short films.

According to the ALMA jury’s citation, Lindström ‘writes stories that shift between the everyday and the existential, combining shrewd humour with absurd mystery’.

‘Eva Lindström’s enigmatic picture world is constantly transforming,’ reads the citation. ‘Trees move abroad, dogs take on giant proportions and objects vanish, suddenly to reappear. With rapid brush strokes and dense colouration, Eva Lindström creates an ambiguous dialogue of text and image. The boundary between children, adults and animals is fluid. With great gravity and wild humour, they wrestle with the eternal questions: Who are we? Where are we going? Who took our hats?’

Administered by the Swedish Arts Council in honour of the late children’s book author Astrid Lindgren, the ALMA is the largest international children’s and young adult literature award in the world.