Russian nominees for Astrid Lindgren Memorial Prize

Illustration by Anastasia Arkhipova.

Illustration by Anastasia Arkhipova.

Three Russians, among them two illustrators and one writer of children’s stories, have been nominated for the most prestigious award for lifetime achievements in literature for children and young people. The prize ceremony is due to take place on April 5, 2016.

Anastasia Arkhipova

Anastasia Arkhipova is best known for her illustrations to the Andersen's Fairy Tales and the Grimm’s Fairy Tales, published by the German publishing house Shriver Verlag in 1985. These timeless children’s tales, first published in the 19th century, have been reprinted in many countries from Scandinavia to Brazil to India, and Arkhipova’s illustrations are widely considered the best for these classic stories.

While a student at the Poster Design Faculty at the Surikov Institute in Moscow, Arkhipova started working with Russia's oldest publishing house, Detskaya Literatura (children's literature), where she illustrated books such as Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen, The Princess and the Pea, The Tin Box, Molière’s The Bourgeois Gentleman and Tartuffe, and many others.

Successful exhibitions of Arkhipova’s illustrations have been held in Bologna, Barcelona, Paris and several German cities. Her delicate and expertly crafted water colour works are recognizable by their unique style, which is lyrical and tender. Her skill shows through her illustrations, which are on a par with the stories themselves, matching the impact and brilliance of the original. Born in Moscow in 1955, Anastasia Arkhipova comes from a family of artists: both her father and grandfather were book illustrators.

Sergei Lyubayev

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn by Sergei LyubayevThe Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn by Sergei Lyubayev. Source:

Book designer and illustrator Sergei Lyubayev is well known and widely respected in the field. He has a niche approach, viewing a book as a holistic work, and combines its design, font and overall appearance to create the required impact. Lyubayev has been designing books for top Russian publishing houses since 1984. He has illustrated books by Tolkien, Kipling, Alexander Blok, Gogol, Yesenin, Chukovsky, Mark Twain and many others.

Many editions illustrated by Lyubayev have become collectibles, which both adults and children equally enjoy. An example is the two-volume edition of Mark Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, which Lyubayev worked on for around two years.

This edition is unique for the large number of illustrations; around 1,500; and the fact that Lyubayev uses a variety of different approaches. As well as coloured pencil drawings, there are collages using photographs, engravings, 19th-century book illustrations, notes in the margins, old postcards, and even a portrait of Aunt Polly. All this combines to create a colourful diary of the two boys’ escapades, which still retain their grip after two centuries.  

Arthur Givargizov

The control dictation, or The Antique tragedy </em>by&nbsp;Arthur Givargizov<Humorous children’s writer Arthur Givargizov is often called the successor to Daniil Kharms, Kornei Chukovsky and Samuil Marshak put together.

His first short story was published in 1997 in Satyricon magazine. Since then, his poetry and short prose have appeared regularly in a variety of children's periodicals. His first book, the collection of poems My Poor Sharik, came out in 2002.

To date, he has published about 20 works, including a book of plays and seven collections of poetry. By education, Givargizov is a professional musician (he graduated in guitar from the School of Music at the Moscow Conservatory), but when you read his poems, you immediately realize that he is a true poet, hooligan and wizard – someone who understands children’s mentality and is always on their wavelength.

Givargizov’s non-conformist approach means that some parents dislike him for his lack of “educational value”, but he instead he offers excitement and interest. His second book, Notes from an Outstanding Flunker, is perhaps is most famous in Russia. It is a collection of more than 70 humorous sketches about children – keen students and underachievers alike – parents and teachers.

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