ALA launches lifetime achievement award recognizing African Americans' contributions to literature for youth

Contact: John L. Amundsen

Communications Specialist

ALA Office for Literacy and Outreach Services

(312) 280-2140


For Immediate Release

December 7, 2009

CHICAGO – A new award from the American Library Association (ALA) recognizes outstanding African-American authors, illustrators or author/illustrators and practitioners for lasting and significant contributions to youth or young adult literature. The inaugural Coretta Scott King – Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement will be announced at the 2010 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Boston, as part of the Youth Media Awards press conference on Monday, January 18.

The award will be presented during the Coretta Scott King Awards Breakfast at the ALA Annual Conference the following summer.

The winner will receive a plaque and a $1,500 cash reward.

In even-numbered years, the award will be given to authors, illustrators or author/illustrators; in odd-numbered years, practitioners will be recognized.

The award is named for award-winning children’s author Virginia Hamilton (1936-2002), recipient of the 1974 National Book Award and the 1975 John Newbery Medal. The award pays tribute to the quality and magnitude of Virginia Hamilton’s exemplary contributions through her literature and advocacy for children and youth, especially in her focus on African-American life, history and consciousness.

The award recipients will be selected by a five-member award jury of the Coretta Scott King- Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement Committee of the Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT). Administration of the award is through the Coretta Scott King Book Awards Committee of EMIERT, supported by the ALA Office for Literacy and Outreach Services (OLOS).

The Virginia Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award is part of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards, which honor African American authors and illustrators of outstanding books for children and young adults that demonstrate sensitivity to "the African American experience via literature and illustration." The award is designed to commemorate the life and works of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and to honor the late Mrs. Coretta Scott King for her courage and determination to work for peace and world brotherhood.

For more information on the Coretta Scott King Book Awards, please visit