STOCKHOLM (dpa) – Pippi Longstocking, the fictional character of late Swedish author Astrid Lindgren, turns 70 this year and to move along with the times the books will no longer include the n-word, Lindgren’s daughter said Saturday.
In Lindgren’s original stories, Pippi’s father was said to be living in the South Seas where he was a “negro king,” a reference that in recent years has been criticised as racist.
In the anniversary volume to be published in April, Pippi’s father will be referred to as a “South Sea king,” said Lindgren’s daughter Karin Nyman, whose family owns the rights to Lindgren’s work.
“We have substituted an old word because it causes hurt,” Nyman said in a statement issued by family company Saltkrakan AB.
“The author of the Pippi Longstocking books would never have accepted that Pippi would hurt any child,” she added. Lindgren died in 2002, at age 94. She wrote three books about Pippi, the first was published 1945 in Sweden. The books were later compiled into a single volume, and have been translated into 70 languages, selling about 60 million copies. In 1993, Lindgren made some edits that will be included in the revised volume.
In an interview with Stockholm daily Dagens Nyheter, Nyman said the family had for several years discussed dropping the n-word and that she had been the most opposed to a change.
Nyman said she “grew up in a different world” and had thought the n-word was disused and could remain in the books, but had reconsidered after realising it hurt people.
“It had to go. And Astrid would not have objected, I am quite sure of that,” Nyman said.
Pippi, who is nine years in the first book, has been described as a feminist icon, an anti-authoritarian hero, an activist for children’s rights, and a champion for the weak and oppressed.