Congress Report: 16th Biennial Congress in Kristiansand, Norway

Briefly, I'm sure all those who attended agree that was an impressive event in a variety of ways. 154 colleagues and members from 30 countries participated, with a high proportion of younger scholars including those from the dynamic NorChilNet group. The quality of papers was extremely high, with considerate attention being paid to engaging the audience, including those who do not have English as their first language. The groupings of papers and the range of formats were particularly successful - helped by the excellent new building and facilities in which the congress was held and which the board first saw as a building site two years ago! For this as for the overall management Rolf Romoren and his team of colleagues deserve our thanks and congratulations. Additional thanks are due to Agder University College, which not only welcomed us so warmly but is including, and financially supporting, the proceedings from the congress in its Research Series in collaboration with Norwegian Academic Press.

2003 IRSCL Congress

IRSCL membership supports the congress and various awards linked to it. Again, more detailed information about these can be found on the website, but here we should celebrate the achievements of those who were honoured by the Society:

2nd IRSCL Fellow: Göte Klingberg, Sweden

The IRSCL Fellow was established in 2001 to honour someone who has made a significant contribution to the field of children's literature research and to the IRSCL. The first recipient of the award in 2001 was Klaus Doderer, the first president of the IRSCL. The second IRSCL Fellow was announced at the farewell banquet of the Kristiansand congress by President Sandra Beckett; he is Göte Klingberg, who was the second president of the IRSCL from 1974-1978 (the fact that the first two Fellows are both past presidents is coincidental and does not set a precedent!). Unfortunately, Göte could not be present at the award ceremony.

KlingbergGöte Klingberg was born in Loviisa, Finland in 1918, but his family returned to Sweden shortly thereafter. He studied theology and education at Lund University. His research on children's literature began as a private interest in the 1950s. In 1962, he published Barnboken genom tiderna: en översikt and in 1964, he was awarded a doctorate at Uppsala University for a dissertation in educational history titled Svensk barn- och ungdomslitteratur 1591-1839, the very first Ph.D. thesis on children's literature in Sweden.

Göte Klingberg has often been referred to as "the father of Swedish research into children's literature," but I prefer Stefan Mählqvist's designation of "the Linnaeus of research on children's books," because, like Linnaeus, Klingberg's work has had a major impact well beyond Swedish borders. What strikes one immediately on glancing through his bibliography is his vast, encyclopedic knowledge, the breadth of his cultural interest, and the scholarly rigour of his work. Among his first studies from the 1950s were an essay on the corrupted Latin liturgical formulas present in children's rhymes and one on the complexity of the language of comic strips, which contradicted the claims of those who disparaged the genre at the time. He was concerned about the lack of a common terminology in the field and published in that area. He is also published surveys of existing research and research needs, the history of childhood, the history of the book, trends in the translation of children's books, fantasy, etc. He has studied early imports of English picture books to Sweden, as well as a study of British landscapes in children's books (Besök brittiska barnbokslandskap, 1987). In 1982, he began what Lena Törnqvist, in the Introduction to the bibliography of Klingberg's work, calls his magnus opus, a three-volume survey of children's and young people's book publishing in Sweden in the nineteenth century, which involved the tracking down, cataloguing, and classifying of every work published for young readers in Sweden from 1840-1889. This translates into the personal inspection of most of the almost 4,800 titles! This ground-breaking work has become the model for similar projects in other countries. His impressive output continues: Göte, who recently celebrated his 85th birthday, has completed two manuscripts in English that Sonja Svensson, Director of the Swedish Institute for Children's Literature, hopes will appear in the series of the Swedish Institute for Children's Literature, to which he has already contributed at least five titles.

Lena Törnqvist says that it was indirectly thanks to Klingberg's research that it was possible, in 1991, to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the first children's book in Sweden. In 1972, he was award the Swedish Gulliver Prize for his "wide-ranging and pioneering works on children's literature." About the same time, he was involved in the founding of the IRSCL. His significant contribution to the field in other countries, especially Germany, was recognized by Klaus Doderer and Theodor Brüggeman on the occasion of Göte's 70th birthday in 1988. In 1989, his international contribution to the field was acknowledged when he was awarded the prestigious International Brothers Grimm Award.


  • Klingberg, Göte, ed. Children's books in translation: the situation and the problems. Proceedings of the third symposium of the International Research Society for Children's Literature held at Södertälje, August 26-29, 1976. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell International, 1978.
  • Klingberg, Göte. Sekelskiftets barnbokssyn och Barnbiblioteket Saga [The view of children's books at the turn of the century 1900 and the Saga library for children]. 1966.
  • Klingberg, Göte. Barnlitteraturforskning. En introduktion. 1972. Children's literature research. An introduction
  • Klingberg, Göte. De fremmede verdener i brrne- og ungdomsromanen. Gyldendal, 1976.
  • Klingberg, Göte. De främmande världarna i barn- och ungdomslitteraturen [The strange worlds in children's fiction] Rabén & Sjögren, 1980. VFrket er en revideret udgave af ovenstDende.
  • Klingberg, Göte: Besök i brittiska barnbokslandskap. Stockholm: Sjöstrand, 1987. – Summary: Visits to British children's book landscapes.
  • Klingberg, Göte: Denna lilla gris gDr till torget och andra brittiska toy books i Sverige 1869-79 [British toy books in Sweden 1869-79]. Stockholm: Rabén & Sjögren, 1987. Ground-breaking work on British toy books in Sweden.
  • Klingberg, Göte & Bratt, Ingar: Barnböcker utgivna i Sverige 1840–89: en kommenterad bibliografi. Lund: Lund University Press, 1988. 3 vol. - Summary: Children's books published in Sweden 1840-89: an annotated bibliography.
  • Klingberg, Göte. Till gagn och nöje: svensk barnbok 400 Dr. Stockholm: Rabén & Sjögren, 1991. - Summary: For instruction and delight: the Swedish children's book: 400 years.
  • Klingberg, Göte. Folklig vers i svensk barnlitteratur. Stockholm: Natur och Kultur, 1994. - Summary: Poetry from oral tradition in Swedish children's literature.
  • Klingberg, Göte. Den tidiga barnboken i Sverige: litterära strömningar, marknad, bildproduktion. Stockholm: Natur och Kultur, 1998. - Summary: Early children's books in Sweden: literary movements, the book market, picture production.
  • Klingberg, Göte. Tryckta skrifter 1931-1999 / Veröffentlichen 1931-1999/Publications 1931-1999. Stockholm: Svenska barnboksinstitutet, 2001.
  • Förord av Sonja Svensson. Inledning av Lena Törnqvist. Parallelltext pD tyska och engelska.
  • Svensk barn- och ungdomslitteratur 1591-1839 en pedagogikhistorisk och bibliografisk översikt [Swedish literature for children and adolescents 1591-1839 a historical and bibliographical survey].

This information was prepared by Sandra Beckett with the help of Sonja Svensson, Director of the Swedish Institute for Children's Literature, who co-edited with Göte Klingberg a bibliography of his work in 2000. The book contains an excellent introduction by Lena Törnqvist, Senior Librarian at the Institute.


Clare Bradford for Reading Race: Aboriginality in Australian Children's Literature (Carlton South, Vic: Melbourne University Press: 2001)

Reading Race demonstrates how Australian children's texts of all genres (fiction, non-fiction, picture books, school texts, films) represent Aborigines and Aboriginality to Australian children. It examines the ideologies of race which inform Australian children's texts, the cultural shifts that are visible in their representations of Aboriginality, and the tensions and uncertainties which they disclose. In its deployment of postcolonial theory and its attention to Aboriginal textuality, Reading Race affords models of theorized analysis of texts. It deals with questions of gender, colonialism and the sacred; issues of cultural appropriation, hybridity and reconciliation as they manifest in Australian texts.

IRSCL Honour Books

Kerry Mallan and Sharyn Pearce (eds), Youth Cultures: Texts, Images, Identity (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2003)

John Stephens (ed), Ways of Being Male: Representing Masculinities in Childern's Literature and Film (London and New York: Routledge, 2002)

IRSCL Research Grant

Martina Seifert, University of Leipzig

Travel grants were also awarded to: Clara Cyraningtas, Darja Mazi-Leskovar, Jana Pohl, Martina Seifert and Margarita Slavova.