Robert Lipsyte, author of "The Contender" (1967), "The Brave" (1991), "The Chief" (1993), and "One Fat Summer" (1977) was named the recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award honoring lifetime contribution in writing for young adults. All titles are published by HarperCollins. The award, sponsored by School Library Journal, is administered by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA). Lipsyte will receive $2,000 at the YALSA Awards Luncheon during the ALA Annual Conference to be held in San Francisco.
Lipsyte's "The Contender" and its sequels, "The Brave" and "The Chief" transformed the sports novel to authentic literature with their gritty depiction of the boxing world. An ongoing theme is the struggle of their protagonists to seek personal victory by their continuing efforts towards a better life despite defeats. The same theme appears in the humorous "One Fat Summer," in which an overweight boy deals with the timeless angst of body image. Lipsyte's books focus on the search for self-definition by young adults.
Robert Lipsyte lives in New York. He graduated from Columbia College and the Graduate School of Journalism. Beginning his career as a copyboy for the New York Times, he left fourteen years later as a sports columnist ready to write books. Author of many books, he has gained the greatest satisfaction from his young adult books because he feels "that I've had the chance to make a real impact on minds that are still open to possibility and change."
The committee recognized that Robert Lipsyte's books met the criteria of the Margaret A. Edwards award because the books help adolescents recognize their role and their importance in relationships, society, and the world. The committee stated that "Robert Lipsyte is more than a contender; he is a champion of young adult literature.
Members of the Edwards Award Committee are: Jennifer Jung Gallant, chair, Elyria Memorial Hospital Regional Healthcare System, Elyria, Ohio; Michael Cart, author and Booklist Columnist; Kathy Latrobe, University of Oklahoma School of Library and Information Studies; Betty B. Lazarus, Ridgewood Preparatory School, Metairie, Louisiana; Judy T. Nelson, King County Library System, Bellevue, Washington.