Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement

Photo of Virginia Hamilton

The Coretta Scott King - Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement is named in memory of beloved children’s author Virginia Hamilton. The annual award is presented in even years to an African American author, illustrator or author/illustrator for a body of his or her published books for children and/or young adults, and who has made a significant and lasting literary contribution. The recipient of the inaugural award was Walter Dean Myers in 2010. In odd years, the award is presented to a practitioner for substantial contributions through active engagement with youth using award-winning African American literature for children and/or young adults, via the implementation of reading and reading-related activities/programs. Dr. Henrietta M. Smith was the recipient of the first practitioner award in 2011.

A medal and check for $1,500 is presented to the winner during the Coretta Scott King Book Awards Breakfast at the ALA Annual Conference.

Virginia Hamilton was an award-winning author of children's books. She wrote more than 35 books throughout her career, including “M. C. Higgins, the Great,” for which she won the 1975 Newbery Medal. During her lifetime, Ms. Hamilton received numerous awards including the Coretta Scott King Book Award, the Edgar Allan Poe Award, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, and the Hans Christian Andersen Award.

Criteria & Nominations

Submissions for the Coretta Scott King - Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement will open each Fall.  The recipient will be announced during ALA's LibLearnX Conference in January during the Youth Media Awards.  

For more information on the selection criteria, please see the guidelines below: 

The nomination form for the Coretta Scott King - Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement, will be available in the Fall.

2023 Recipient

Photo of Dr. McLinn

Dr. Claudette McLinn is the 2023 recipient of the Virginia Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr. McLinn is the founder and executive director of the Center for the Study of Multicultural Children’s Literature (CSMCL). She is a retired district supervising librarian for the LA Unified School District with over 34 years of experience, a former bookseller and a much sought-after book award juror/presenter. (View Press Release Here).

Previous Recipients