Skellefteå author wins another prize for his debut novel

Skellefteå author Nils Lundkvist is basking in the glow of yet another literary honor. "Off to Lund I went and won the Slangbellan for best children's and youth debut," he announced on his Facebook page. "Needless to say, I'm thrilled about this prize," Lundkvist told Norran.

Nils Lundkvist has won the Slangbellan award for best children's and youth debut.

Nils Lundkvist has won the Slangbellan award for best children's and youth debut.

Foto: Privat

Litteratur2024-04-24 09:00

Last autumn, Lundkvist's debut novel, "The History of the Ultimate Wilderness: The Cube," a sci-fi saga inspired by his grandparents' home in Ånäset, captured the imagination of young readers and earned him the Swedish Radio Children's Radio Book Prize. Now, the Bult's debut prize, Slangbellan 2023, awarded during the children's book festival Litteralund in Lund, recognizes "The Cube" once again, this time in the children's and youth literature category.

Skellefteå author Nils Lundkvist won the Swedish Radio Children's Radio Book Prize for "Kuben" last autumn. Now, he has won another award - the Slangbellan.

The jury's praise for the book reads: "'The Cube' by Nils Lundkvist is a futuristic exploration of dictatorship and freedom, interwoven with themes of friendship and strong family bonds. Lundkvist creates space for his characters to develop, captivating the reader in the process. His vivid descriptions bring the environment to life, creating an atmospheric backdrop that maintains constant suspense."

Since 1998, the Swedish Writers' Union's children's and youth literature section, Bult, has presented the Slangbellan prize to highlight promising new voices and encourage their continued literary pursuits. The Skellefteå author received a handcrafted "slangbella" (a traditional Swedish slingshot), a diploma, and a prize sum of 30,000 kronor.

– Naturally, I'm very happy about this award, Lundkvist tells Norran.

– When you publish a book, you never quite know how it will be received. The best I dared to hope for was connecting with readers who would reach out and tell me how the book impacted them. This has happened far more than I ever imagined. The book has resonated with a wide audience and received two prestigious awards, exceeding all my expectations. And considering I'm a writer, that's not saying something good about my ability to imagine, he jokes.

Nils Lundkvist works as a middle school teacher in Skellefteå when he's not writing books.

Lundkvist finds the way the two awards complement each other particularly rewarding. The Children's Radio Book Prize jury, comprised of children – his primary target audience – validated the story's appeal to its intended readers. 

Slangbellan, on the other hand, acknowledges the artistic merit and unique contribution 'The Cube' makes to the children's and youth literature landscape.

–The recognition of the book's artistic merit is particularly gratifying, Lundkvist says.

Why do you think the book has become so popular?

–That's a fascinating question, Lundkvist says.

- I set out to create a layered novel, with a rich vocabulary that wouldn't shy away from complexity. There's a persistent misconception that children's literature needs to be dumbed down or simplified for young readers. But that's demonstrably untrue! The incredible reception of 'The Cube' by so many kids is just one of many testaments to that.