Nº74 Gunilla BergströmNú Ninja Helga Mjöll
Having passed away earlier this year, famous Swedish author, journalist, and illustrator Gunilla Bergström was best known for her work on the children book series Alfie Atkins (Alfons Åberg). Having moved away from her hometown in Gothenburg, Bergström started her journalism career in Stockholm at the age of 24. For just over five years she worked for Swedish newspapers including Aftonbladet and Dagens Nyheter. However, in 1971 Bergström released her first of many Alfie Atkins books.
Her most famous character, Alfie, is a boy who lives with his single father. In his earlier years he is depicted befriending an imaginary character, Mållgan (Malcolm in English). Eventually he meets real friends and gets to experience normal everyday events that children can easily recognize. Since the release of the first book, Godnatt, Alfons Åberg (Goodnight, Alfie Atkins) Bergström has published 25 other books in the Alfie series. They have been translated into 35 different languages and sold over 8 million copies worldwide.
“Reality is fairytale enough. Every day is new. Children know this best of all. It is we, the adults, who have forgotten. I want to tell stories so that children and adults are reminded and can laugh and be awed together.” - Gunilla Bergström
To date, Bergström has released around 40 other children’s books, all of which she has illustrated. For this she has been celebrated with many awards including The City of Stockholm Honorary Award (1993), Children’s Book of the Year (1998) and The Big Audio Book Prize (2015). After gaining such success from her books Bergström has started her own company Bok-Makaren (the Book Maker in English). The company handles all licenses to the Alfie Atkins series which has been able to further expand into theatre productions, dolls, puzzles, and computer games.
Sadly, in late August of this year, just shortly after her 79th birthday, Bergström passed away. She lived out her life in Stockholm with her husband and often travelled to West Africa in the winters with him. She will continue to be remembered through the books she left behind with lovable characters like Alfie.
Books by Gunilla Bergström
- Mias pappa flyttar (1971)
- Good Night, Alfie Atkins (1972)
- Tjuven (1973)
- Very tricky, Alfie Atkins (1973)
- Hurry Up, Alfie Atkins! (1975)
- Alfie Atkins and his Secret Friend (1976)
- Who’ll Save Alfie Atkins? (1976)
- You’re a Sly One, Alfie Atkins! (1977)
- Alfie and the Monster (GB)/Is that a Monster, Alfie Atkins? (US) (1978)
- Ramsor & Tramsor om Bill och Bolla (1978)
Click here for Bergström’s official website and a comprehensive list of her books.