Australian author Sonya Hartnett was Wednesday declared the 2008 winner of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award for Literature, the highest children's book award in the world.
"Sonya Hartnett is one of the major forces for renewal in modern young adult fiction," a spokesman for the award jury said at a press conference in the Swedish southern city of Vimmerby, where Astrid Lindgren lives.
"With psychological depth and a concealed yet palpable anger, she depicts the circumstances of young people without avoiding the darker sides of life. She does so with linguistic virtuosity and a brilliant narrative technique; her works are a source of strength," the jury said in a statement.
Sonya Hartnett, born 1968 in Melbourne, made her publishing debut at the age of just 15. She has written 18 novels for children, young people and adults, although she generally prefers not to specify which age group she is writing for.
Her world famous works include Sleeping Dogs (1995), The Devil Latch (1996), All My Dangerous Friends (1998) and Surrender (2005).
The award, which includes a cash prize of 5 million kronor (800,000 U.S. dollars), was established by the Swedish government in 2002 in memory of Astrid Lindgren, the beloved Swedish children's writer whose Pippi Longstocking, a strong-willed girl with braided hair, freckles and mismatched stockings, captivated generations of children around the world. Lindgren died in 2002.
This year's award will be presented by Sweden's Crown Princess Victoria at a ceremony at Stockholm's open-air Skansen museum on May 28.