Laurie Halse Anderson wins 2009 Edwards Award for significant and lasting contribution to young adult readers for “Catalyst”; “Fever 1793”; and “Speak”

Contacts: Macey Morales/Jennifer Petersen

ALA Media Relations


For Immediate Release

January 26, 2009

DENVER – Laurie Halse Anderson is the recipient of the 2009 Margaret A. Edwards Award honoring her significant and lasting contribution to writing for teens. The award was presented for her books, “Catalyst”; “Fever 1793”; and “Speak” by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), at the ALA Midwinter Meeting held Jan. 23 – 28 in Denver.

These gripping and exceptionally well-written novels by Laurie Halse Anderson, through various settings, time periods, and circumstances, poignantly reflect the growing and changing realities facing teens. Iconic and classic in her storytelling and character development, Anderson has created for teens a body of work that continues to be widely read and cherished by a diverse audience.

In “Catalyst,” published by Viking Children’s Books, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group, overachiever Kate Malone is forced to confront unresolved issues when girl bully Terri and her family move into her home. “Fever 1793,” published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, shows how Mattie Cook’s dreams for the future are reduced to a day-to-day struggle for survival as a yellow fever epidemic fills the streets of Philadelphia. In “Speak,” a 2000 Printz Honor Book, published by Puffin Books, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group, Melinda Sordino is silenced by a trauma and ostracized by her classmates until she once again faces her attacker and finds the strength to fight back.

“Laurie Halse Anderson masterfully gives voice to teen characters undergoing transformations in their lives through their honesty and perseverance while finding the courage to be true to themselves,” said Edwards Committee Chair David Mowery.

Laurie Halse Anderson will be honored at the YALSA Edwards Award Luncheon and presented with a citation and cash prize of $2,000 during the 2009 ALA Annual Conference to be held in Chicago, July 9 - 15. The award is sponsored by
School Library Journal.

Members of the 2009 Edwards Committee are: Chair David Mowery, Brooklyn (N.Y.) Public Library; Stephen Crowley, Putnam County Library System, Palatka, Fla.; Kristine Mahood, Timberland Regional Library, Tumwater, Wash.; Sharon Rawlins, New Jersey State Library, Trenton; and Stephanie Squicciarini, Fairport (N.Y.) Public Library.

The award is named in honor of the late Margaret Alexander Edwards, a pioneer in providing library services to young adults, who worked at the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore. She used adult books extensively with young adults to broaden their experience and enrich their understanding of themselves and their world.

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 .

For information on the Margaret A. Edwards Award and other ALA literary awards, please visit