ILF Wins the Prestigious Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award!

ILF Wins the Prestigious Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award!

The Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF) is honoured to have won the prestigious Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA) and to be the 2024 ALMA Laureate. 

ALMA is a global award given annually to a person or organisation for their outstanding contribution to children’s and young adult literature.

ILF Co-Chair Natalie Ahmat, ILF Founder Suzy Wilson, and ILF CEO Ben Bowen travelled to Sweden to accept the Award from HRH Crown Princess Victoria in Stockholm, Sweden. This award acknowledges the entire catalogue of work of the ILF and the special relationships that have enabled the ILF to publish Community stories, and provide books and literacy resources to remote parts of this country.

The award was created in 2002 by the Swedish government, in an attempt to promote every child’s right to great stories. Astrid Lindgren was a renowned Swedish author known for many fiction series and screenplays, including the Pippi Longstocking books. 

ILF representatives in Sweden during their award visit. 

The prize is worth five million Swedish kronor, or 725,000 Australian dollars. It is the largest and one of the most prestigious awards of its kind in the world. 

ILF has been shortlisted for a number of years in a row, but was not expecting this incredible win.

The ILF works with remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities to provide literacy resources and publish books in First Languages. 

ILF CEO, Ben Bowen was surprised and extremely grateful when he received the call from Stockholm.

There were 245 nominees globally, from 68 countries and regions. Upon reflection on why they chose the ILF, the ALMA Jury said: 

“With curiosity and respect, Indigenous Literacy Foundation works with reading and storytelling among First Nations children in Australia. In close collaboration with Communities, they highlight the value of all people’s own languages and stories. By spreading books and stimulating reading, storytelling and creativity, Indigenous Literacy Foundation builds the desire to read and fosters pride, self-confidence and a sense of belonging. Every child has the right to their language and their stories.”


The unexpected prize money for the award will go an extremely long way for the Communities that the ILF works with. 

The ILF does not take any government funding, which allows us to work dynamically and sustainably with Communities. However, it does mean we rely on the generosity of our partners and donors. 

Therefore, this money will not necessarily change the direction of our programs, but will enable the organisation to sustainably invest in remote Communities and continue to build deep relationships well into the future. 

As a Community-led organisation, the funds will be used to support Community literacy aspiration for language, Community and culture through publishing and providing culturally relevant books and resources.

Ben Bowen believes that: 

"The achievement of being shortlisted let alone being the winner of such a globally prestigious award speaks directly to the nature of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation being a Community-led organisation entrusted to support Community literacy aspirations. 

“Throughout the lifetime of the ILF, we have had the privilege of being invited into Community and entrusted to support their aspirations through providing culturally relevant books and literacy resources, publishing their stories in the language they choose. This award is a direct acknowledgement to Communities we partner with. 


“This achievement would not be possible without the support of our donors, supporters, volunteers, Ambassadors and Community partners that enables an organisation of around 30 staff to support literacy in 424 remote Communities,” says Ben.

ILF Co-Chair Natalie Ahmat, Founder Suzy Wilson, and CEO Ben Bowen receive the ALMA award. 

ILF's Head of Publishing, Nicola Robinson, believes:

“This award could not have come about without the extraordinary work of many of Australia’s remote Indigenous Communities, who trust the ILF with the stories they choose to tell, told in multiple languages and illustrated in Community. 

“It would also never have come about without the generosity of the many, many thousands of Australians who have contributed to the ILF over the years. I am thinking of the many ‘ordinary’ people who make small monthly donations, or organise fundraising events in their community groups or workplaces. I am thinking of the many, many people within my own industry – the book industry – who collect over the counter donations in bookshops, hold book swaps or bake sales, attend our quiz nights, collaborate on our projects, and assist in so many other ways. 

“All of these people know the value of Australia’s First Languages, recognise the immense capability of those who speak those languages, and understand that Indigenous peoples knowledges and living languages are one of the great strengths of our country,” says Nicola


ILF’s CEO Ben Bowen, Co-Chair Natalie Ahmat and Founder Suzy Wilson were extremely grateful to be invited to Sweden this month to recieve the award.

You can learn more about the ILF and our programs, here

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Written by Ella Schofield

  • Posted 13 June, 2024

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