If Swedish author Astrid Lindgren were still around today, she would be celebrating her 105th birthday today. She did, however, make it to 94, which is pretty damn impressive in itself. But being impressive is nothing new to Astrid. She was somewhat of a rock star during her 50-year writing career, yet there’s still a lot that people don’t know about her besides the fact that she created Pippi Longstongstocking.*
*Also a rock star.
13. Astrid became preggars by the chief editor of the paper for which she worked. But instead of marrying him when he proposed, she said NO and moved to Stockholm where she learned to be a typist and stenographer.*
*A stenographer is someone who writes in shorthand, a language that’s almost impossible to understand in these modern times.
12. When her second child Karin was sick, Karin suddenly said to her mom, “Tell me a story about Pippi Longstocking.” Thus Pippi Longstocking from Villavillakula was born.*
*This actually proves that her daughter was awesome, too.
11. In 1945 Astrid won first prize in a writing competition for Pippi Longstocking AFTER it had been rejected by Bonniers Publishing House.*
*I’m pretty sure whoever rejected it was fired the next day.
9. After a trip to the United States in 1948, Astrid was upset at how Black Americans were discriminated, which inspired her to write the essay book Kati in America.*
8. Astrid has two literary prizes in Sweden named after her: the first one is called the Astrid Lindgren Prize, in which 40,000 SEK (I think that’s kronas?) is awarded to a Swedish language children’s author. The second one is called the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, which was established after her death in 2002, and awards the author 5 million SEK.*
*It also remains the highest monetary award for children’s and youth literature. IN THE WHOLE WORLD.
7. Astrid’s portrait will be on the 20 kronor banknote beginning in 2014.*
*She’s money, baby.
6. A minor planet discovered in 1978 was named after her, 3204 Lindgren, as well as the Swedish microsatellite Astrid 1. Not only that, but all the instruments on the satellite are named for some of her popular characters: PIPPI (Prelude in Planetary Particle Imaging), EMIL (Electron Measurements – In-situ and Lightweight), and MIO (Miniature Imaging Optics).*
*”Asteriod Lindgren”, as she liked to call herself.
5. She’s got her own theme park called “Astrid Lindgren’s World” where you can hang out at Pippi’s house and maybe even sit on the roof with Karlsson.*
*Read Karlsson-on-the-Roof and you’ll get it.
*It’s so bad, it’s good.
3. A collection of her original manuscripts was placed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list in 2005.*
*Though they’re probably written in shorthand, so you probably can’t read them. And if they aren’t, then they’re written in Swedish, in which case you still probably can’t read them.
2. Astrid has superhuman strength and can lift a horse over her head.*
*Well, that’s actually not officially documented. Pippi Longstocking, however, can totally do that.
*Take that, Dragon Tattoo.
Happy birthday, Ms. Lindgren. You’re awesome.