For immediate release | July 8, 2010

Vaunda Micheaux Nelson to headline Morris luncheon at 2010 Young Adult Literature Symposium

CHICAGO —Coretta Scott King Award–winning author Vaunda Micheaux Nelson will be the keynote speaker at the Bill Morris Memorial Author Luncheon at the 2010 Young Adult Literature Symposium in Albuquerque, N.M., Nov. 5-7.

The symposium is sponsored by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) and funded in part by the William C. Morris Endowment. The 2010 theme is “Diversity, Literature, and Teens: Beyond Good Intentions.” The luncheon is named in honor of Morris, a longtime publishing executive who was a strong supporter of libraries.

Nelson, a New Mexico librarian who won the 2010 Coretta Scott King Author Award for “Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal,” plans to give symposium attendees a look through a window opened by a pioneer bookseller who changed the state of literary diversity.

“Young adults are at a crucial stage of life, finding their way, forming identities, often dealing with insecurities that will need to be overcome if they are to move forward into adulthood with confidence and the ability to coexist with other human beings—not only those unlike them, but also those who may not like them,” Nelson said. “Diversity means providing materials about animal rights and hunting, tattoo parlors and gardening, materials that speak for and against issues like abortion, homosexuality and gun control. Exposure to and understanding ideas that differ from your own can be more important to finding one’s place in our society than ethnic differences.”

The luncheon is a special event on Saturday, Nov. 6, that requires extra registration and costs $35. Early bird registration for the symposium costs $195 for YALSA members, as well as members of the New Mexico Library Association; $245 for ALA personal members; $300 for nonmembers; and $50 for students, who must be enrolled full-time in a library and information science program. Early bird registration ends Sept. 10. Rooms at the Albuquerque Marriott are offered at a special rate for registrants of $99 per night. To find out how to reserve a hotel room and see the full list of registration rates, visit

Nelson looks forward to honoring an old friend by speaking at the luncheon named after him.

“I first met Bill Morris in 1991. Bill loved literature for youth regardless of who published it, and he loved libraries. He reminded me of Kris Kringle in ‘Miracle on 34th Street,’ sending customers to Gimbel’s if Macy’s didn’t have a particular item,” Nelson said. “It was with sorrow that I heard of his passing. It was with joy that I learned I would be the first speaker at the Bill Morris Memorial Author Luncheon. I’m honored to be able to give him something for a change.”

For more than 50 years, YALSA has been the world leader in selecting books, videos and audio books for teens. For more information about YALSA or for lists of recommended reading, viewing and listening, go to, or contact the YALSA office by phone, (800) 545-2433, ext. 4390, or e-mail,


Stephanie Kuenn