Surmatz received her PhD in 1997 at the University of Göttingen with a thesis on translations of Pippi Longstocking (’Pippi Långstrump’). She has published a large number of research articles and books on children’s literature, postcolonialism, Ibsen, Lindgren and Linnaeus – her other great research interest.
Surmatz has been a member of the jury for the German Youth Literature State Prize and has been elected Fellow of the Linnean Society in London.
During her period as guest professor at Växjö University Surmatz hopes to be able to combine her two major research interests – Astrid Lindgren and Carl Linnaeus.
–Astrid Lindgren is well known for her intense nature descriptions. Her way of describing and weaving nature into her stories is deeply rooted in the Swedish tradition of painting the landscape, a tradition known for its intense nature descriptions, which may be traced all the way back to Linnaeus’s travel accounts. By bringing these two worlds together – those of Lindgren and Linnaeus – and making them reflect on each other, I hope to understand this genuinely open way of drawing nature and the way it appeals to and overwhelms us readers, Astrid Surmatz writes in her application.
The guest professorship is financed by Vimmerby Municipality, Save the Children Sweden and Växjö University. The position, which may be extended to comprise a whole year, can be held by internationally prominent scholars in different fields that are in some respect related to Astrid Lindgren’s life and work.