Elizabeth C. Bunce wins first-ever William C. Morris Award

Contacts: Macey Morales/Jennifer Petersen

ALA Media Relations

312 280-4393/5043

For Immediate Release

January 26, 2009

A Curse Dark as Gold, written by
Elizabeth C. Bunce and published by Arthur A. Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic, Inc., has been named the inaugural winner of the William C. Morris Award, which honors a book written for young adults by a first-time, previously unpublished author. The award is presented by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), the fastest-growing division of the American Library Association (ALA), at the ALA’s Midwinter Meeting held Jan. 23 – 28 in Denver.

At the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, Charlotte Miller strikes a bargain with the malevolent Jack Spinner, who can transform straw into gold, to save her family’s mill. With masterly writing and vivid characterization and setting, Bunce weaves a powerfully seductive tale of triumph over evil.

“Bunce has crafted a story that superbly embodies the criteria for this award. Her work is compelling and has broad teen appeal,” said Chair Bonnie Kunzel. “Thoughtful reflection and spirited discussion characterized this outstanding committee’s work as its members selected a shortlist that honors the influence of William C. Morris on the field of young adult publishing.”

In her spare time, Elizabeth is an accomplished needleworker with an interest in embroidery and historical costuming. This is her first novel. Elizabeth lives near Kansas City, Missouri (in Lenexa, Kansas) with her husband and dogs. Visit her website at

The award is named for William C. Morris, an influential innovator in the publishing world and an advocate for marketing books for children and young adults. William “Bill” Morris left an impressive mark on the field of children’s and young adult literature. He was beloved in the publishing field and the library profession for his generosity and marvelous enthusiasm for promoting literature for children and teens. The Morris Award will be awarded annually at ALA’s Midwinter Youth Media Awards.

In addition to “A Curse Dark as Gold,” the Morris Award finalists include: “Graceling,” written by Kristin Cashore, published by Harcourt, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; “Absolute Brightness,” written by James Lecesne, published by HarperTeen/Laura Geringer Books; “Madapple,” written by Christina Meldrum, published by Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children's Books; and “Me, The Missing, and the Dead,” written by Jenny Valentine, published by HarperTeen.

Members of the 2009 William C. Morris Award are: Chair Bonnie Kunzel, youth services consultant, Germantown, Tenn.; Molly Krichten, Guthrie Memorial Library - Hanover's (Pa.) Public Library; Jeanette Larson, Pflugerville, Texas; Cindy Lombardo, Cleveland Public Library; Walter Mayes, Girls’ Middle School, Mountain View, Calif.; Susan Riley, Mount Kisco (N.Y.) Public Library; Ian Rosenior, Miami Beach (Fla.) Regional Library, Miami-Dade (Fla.) Public Library System; Gail Tobin, Schaumburg (Ill.) Township District Library; Diane Tuccillo, Harmony Library, Fort Collins (Colo.) Regional Library District; Susan Fichtelberg, administrative assistant, Public Library of Woodbridge(N.J); and
Booklist Consultant, Ilene Cooper.

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 more information on the William C. Morris Award and other ALA literary awards, please visit www.ala.org/yma