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Canadian kids’ authors on long longlist for rich Swedish prize

Two Canadian storytellers and one Nova Scotia literacy group are in the running for the world’s richest children’s literary prize. Ottawa kids’ novelist Brian Doyle, Quebec author and illustrator Marie-Louise Gay, and Read to Me!, a family literacy program, have all been nominated for the 2009 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, worth about $800,000 (or 5-million Swedish crowns).

It’s still too early for the Canadian candidates to get their hopes up, however, as there are 150 other nominees on the list. The winner, whose work upholds the highest artistic quality and evokes the deeply humanistic spirit that Astrid Lindgren treasured, will be announced in March, with an awards gala in May. Past winners include Philip Pullman, Maurice Sendak, and Sonya Hartnett.

The international prize was founded in 2002 after the death of Lindgren, creator of Pippi Longstocking.