The years at Rabén & Sjögren
The success of Pippi Longstocking furthermore resulted in the rapid expansion of the publishers Rabén & Sjögren, and the head of publishing, Hans Rabén, complained about his increased workload. Elsa Olenius then suggested that they employ Astrid Lindgren, who could both type and write shorthand. In 1946 Astrid was made responsible for children’s fiction and as such took on double roles at the publishing company, in the mornings she was a writer and in the afternoons the editor.
Her joy of writing was so great, and often quick and easy. Sometimes ideas and texts came to her when she least expected them. “For example Mästerdetektiven Blomkvist - he was conceived in our rowing boat at Furusund. And it’s quick; I’m almost embarrassed when I hear about how others toil and struggle with their books. I sort of have this funny feeling that the book is already completed when I begin writing and that I only serve as the typist.”
Many people have borne witness to Astrid’s enormous capacity to work. Having time for a demanding publishing job at the same time as her own writing is undoubtedly admirable. In the mornings and before lunch, whilst still at home in bed, she wrote, or took down her own books in shorthand. And in the afternoons, after a quick lunch and a fast walk to the office on Tegnérgatan, she began her work as editor of children’s books.
For a few years Astrid was solely responsible for the publication of children’s fiction at the publishers whilst also taking care of her own foreign sales. From 1952, however, she had the help of Marianne Eriksson, who became her assistant editor, and Kerstin Kvint, who began as an ‘office girl’ and eventually became responsible for foreign sales at the publishing company.