Meg Rosoff has won the world's biggest prize for children's and young adult literature, the jury for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award said on 5 April. The jury praised the US born, London based writer for her "sparkling prose" which it said left no reader unmoved.

"Meg Rosoff's young adult novels speak to the emotions as well as the intellect. In sparkling prose, she writes about the search for meaning and identity in a peculiar and bizarre world. Her brave and humorous stories are one-of-a-kind. She leaves no reader unmoved," ALMA chair Boel Westin said, announcing the prize.

After the announcement, Westin called Rosoff to tell her she had won the prize. "Oh my God. That's amazing. I have to sit down. I can't believe that," Rosoff told the news conference by telephone from London.

Rosoff debuted with the dystopian young adult novel How I Live Now in 2004 and has since written six young adult novels, picture books and also a novel for adults. Her novels focus on young people on the verge of adulthood and the dilemmas they face.

The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA) was established by the Swedish government in 2002, when Lindgren died at the age of 94, and is the world's largest children's and young people's literary award with an annual prize of £430,000.

Astrid Lindgren's works have been translated into more than 90 languages all over the world and is best known for her Pippi Longstocking books about the adventures of Pippi, her horse, monkey and friends Tommy and Annika.

PRAESA, Project for the Study of Alternative Education in South Africa, won the prize last year. Other past winners include Philip Pullman, Christine Nostlinger and Maurice Sendak. Rosoff will accept the award at a royal ceremony at the Concert Hall in Stockholm on 30 May.