Margaret Edwards Award

The Margaret A. Edwards Award is an American Library Association (ALA) literary award that annually recognizes an author and "a specific body of his or her work, for significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature".[1] It is named for Margaret A. Edwards (1902–1988), the pioneer, longtime director of young adult services at Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore.[2]

Margaret A. Edwards Award
Awarded for"significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature"
CountryUnited States
Presented byYoung Adult Library Services Association, a division of the American Library Association
First awarded1988

The award was inaugurated in 1988 as the biennial "School Library Journal Young Adult Author Award/Selected and Administered by the American Library Association's Young Adult Services Division".[2] After 1990 it was renamed and made annual.[a] It continues to be sponsored by School Library Journal and administered by the Young Adult Library Services Association, descendant of YASD.[1] The winner is announced during the ALA midwinter meeting and the citation and $2000 cash prize are presented at a luncheon during the ALA annual conference (June 27–July 2 in 2013).[3]

Angela Johnson is the 29th Edwards Award winner, announced February 12, 2018.

History and criteriaEdit

The "young adult" class of books developed in library collections and publisher promotions, and young adult literature became a "respected field of study", in the second half of the twentieth century.[2] When School Library Journal initiated the award for YA writers, the ALA awards program recognized the YA class only by annual lists of recommended books, the Best Books for Young Adults and a list "for the reluctant YA reader".[2] (Indeed, the Printz Award for the year's best book was established only in 1999.) Chief editor Lillian N. Gerhardt determined that SLJ should merely sponsor the award and recruited the ALA Young Adult Services Division to administer it.[2]

The official name of the award approved in 1986 was unusually long even with initialisms, "The SLJ Young Adult Author Award/Selected and Administered by the ALA's YASD". In the 1988 and 1990 award citations as presented online decades later, it is called the "Young Adult Services Division/School Library Journal Author Achievement Award".[b] During the third cycle it was made annual and renamed for the recently deceased Edwards.[2][c]

As of the fourth cycle, 1991/1992, the committee was charged to select "a living author or co-author whose book or books, over a period of time, have been accepted by young people as an authentic voice that continues to illuminate their experiences and emotions, giving insight into their lives." Among other specific criteria, the body of work should have "acceptable literary quality" and be "currently popular with a wide range of young adults in the many different parts of the country".[2] Furthermore, the winner must "agree to personally accept the award at the following Annual Conference", about five months after the selection.[2]

SLJ editor Gerhardt covered the award at least once, in an editorial at the time of inaugural presentation to S. E. Hinton (June 1988). For some time beginning 1990, the June issue of SLJ covered the current award and carried an interview with the preceding winner.[2]


The award has been conferred 25 times in the 26 years through 2013.[4] The honored writers have been natives and lifelong residents of the United States except Anne McCaffrey, Terry Pratchett, Susan Cooper, and Markus Zusak.[d]

Edwards Award winners and cited works[4]
Year Author Body of work
2020 Steve Sheinkin Bomb: The Race to Build - and Steal- the World's Most Dangerous Weapon

The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights

The Notorious Benedict Arnold: A True Story of Adventure, Heroism, & Treachery

2019 M.T. Anderson Feed (2002)
The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume 1: The Pox Party (2006)
The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume 2: The Kingdom of Waves (2008)
2018 Angela Johnson Toning the Sweep (1993)
Heaven (1998)
Looking for Red (2002)
The First Part Last (2003)
Bird (2004)
Sweet, Hereafter (2010)
2017 Sarah Dessen Keeping the Moon (1999)
Dreamland (2000)
This Lullaby (2002)
The Truth About Forever (2004)
Just Listen (2006)
Along for the Ride (2009)
What Happened to Goodbye (2011)
2016 David Levithan Boy Meets Boy (2003)
The Realm of Possibility (2004)
Wide Awake (2006)
Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (2006)
How They Met, and Other Stories (2008)
Love is the Higher Law (2009)
2015 Sharon M. Draper Tears of a Tiger (1994)
Forged by Fire (1997)
Darkness Before Dawn (2001)
Battle of Jericho (2004)
Copper Sun (2006)
November Blues (2007)
2014 Markus Zusak The Book Thief (2006)
Fighting Ruben Wolfe (2001)
Getting the Girl (2001)
I Am the Messenger (2002)
2013[3] Tamora Pierce The Song of the Lioness
Alanna: The First Adventure (1983)
In the Hand of the Goddess (1984)
The Woman Who Rides Like a Man (1986)
Lioness Rampant (1988)
Protector of the Small
First Test (1999)
Page (2000)
Squire (2001)
Lady Knight (2002)
2012[5] Susan Cooper The Dark Is Rising Sequence (first omnibus edition, 1984)
Over Sea, Under Stone (1965)
The Dark Is Rising (1968)
Greenwitch (1974)
The Grey King (1975)
Silver on the Tree (1977)
2011[6] Terry Pratchett The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents (2001)
The Wee Free Men (2003)
A Hat Full of Sky (2004)
Going Postal (2004)
The Colour of Magic (1983)
Guards! Guards! (1989)
Equal Rites (1987)
Mort (1987)
Small Gods (1992)
2010[7] Jim Murphy The Great Fire (1995)
A YOUNG PATRIOT: The American Revolution as Experienced by One Boy (1996)
The Long Road to GETTYSBURG (1992)
BLIZZARD! The Storm That Changed America (2000)
An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793 (2003)  
2009[8] Laurie Halse Anderson   Speak (1999)
Fever, 1793 (2002)
Catalyst (2003)
2008 Orson Scott Card Ender's Game (1985)
Ender's Shadow (1999)
2007 Lois Lowry The Giver (1993)
2006 Jacqueline Woodson I Hadn't Meant to Tell You This (1994)
From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun (1997)
If You Come Softly (1998)
Lena (1999)
Miracle's Boys (2000)
2005 Francesca Lia Block Weetzie Bat (1989)
Witch Baby (1991)
Cherokee Bat and the Goat Guys (1992)
Missing Angel Juan (1993)
Baby Be-Bop (1995)
2004 Ursula K. Le Guin A Wizard of Earthsea (1968)
The Left Hand of Darkness (1969)
The Tombs of Atuan (1971)
The Farthest Shore (1972)
The Beginning Place (1980)
Tehanu (1990)
2003 Nancy Garden Annie on My Mind (1982)
2002 Paul Zindel The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds: A Drama in Two Acts (1965)
The Pigman (1968)
My Darling, My Hamburger (1969)
The Pigman's Legacy (1980)
The Pigman & Me (1992)
2001 Robert Lipsyte The Contender (1967)
The Brave (1991)
The Chief (1993)
One Fat Summer (1977)
2000 Chris Crutcher Running Loose (1983)
Stotan! (1986)
The Crazy Horse Electric Game (1987)
Chinese Handcuffs (1989)
Athletic Shorts: Six Short Stories (1991)
Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes (1993)
1999 Anne McCaffrey Dragonflight (1968)
The Ship Who Sang (1969)
Dragonquest (1970)
Dragonsong (1976)
Dragonsinger (1977)
The White Dragon (1978)
Dragondrums (1979)
1998 Madeleine L'Engle Meet the Austins (1960)
A Wrinkle In Time (1962)
A Swiftly Tilting Planet (1978)
A Ring of Endless Light (1980)
1997 Gary Paulsen Dancing Carl (1983)
Hatchet (1987)
The Crossing (1987)
The Winter Room (1989)
Canyons (1990)
Woodsong (1990)
1996 Judy Blume Forever (1975)
1995 Cynthia Voigt Homecoming (1981)
Dicey's Song (1982)
A Solitary Blue (1983)
Building Blocks (1984)
The Runner (1985)
Jackaroo (1985)
Izzy, Willy-Nilly (1986)
1994 Walter Dean Myers Hoops (1983)
Motown and Didi (1985)
Fallen Angels (1988)
Scorpions (1988)
1993 M.E. Kerr Dinky Hocker Shoots Smack! (1972)
Gentlehands (1978)
Me Me Me Me Me: Not a Novel (1983)
Night Kites (1986)
1992 Lois Duncan
  • Chapters, My Growth as a Writer (1982 autobiography)
  • Ransom (1966)
  • I Know What You Did Last Summer (1973)
  • Summer of Fear (1976)
  • Killing Mr. Griffin (1978)
  • The Twisted Window (1987)
1991 Robert Cormier The Chocolate War (1974)
I Am the Cheese (1977)
After the First Death (1979)
1990 Richard Peck Are You in the House Alone? (1976)
The Ghost Belonged to Me (1976)
Ghosts I Have Been (1977)
Father Figure (1978)
Secrets of the Shopping Mall (1979)
Remembering the Good Times (1985)
1989 (no award)[a]  
1988 S.E. Hinton The Outsiders (1967)
That Was Then This Is Now (1973)
Tex (1982)
Rumble Fish (1983)

Multiple awardsEdit

No one has won both the Edwards Award and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal, which the ALA children's division (ALSC) awards for "substantial and lasting contributions to children's literature" (from 1954, now biennial).

Four Edwards winners have been selected by ALSC to deliver its annual May Hill Arbuthnot Lecture: Susan Cooper in 2001, Ursula K. Le Guin in 2004, Walter Dean Myers in 2009, and Lois Lowry in 2011. ALSC considers the Arbuthnot selection, inaugurated in 1970, another career award for contribution to children's literature. The lecturer prepares and delivers —currently about 16 months after selection— "a paper considered to be a significant contribution to the field of children's literature", which is also published in the ALSC journal.[9]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b S. E. Hinton received the first, biennial "Young Adult Services Division/School Library Journal Author Achievement Award", as planned. Richard Peck received the second in 1990, and the last one in that it was renamed and made annual that year. In 1991 Robert Cormier was the called the "third recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award".
    "1988 Margaret A. Edwards Award Winner". YALSA. ALA. Retrieved 2013-03-15.
    "1990 Margaret A. Edwards Award Winner". YALSA. ALA. Retrieved 2013-03-15.
    "1991 Margaret A. Edwards Award Winner". YALSA. ALA. Retrieved 2013-03-15.
  2. ^ annual
  3. ^ annual
  4. ^ Anne McCaffrey (1999) migrated from the U.S. to Ireland in 1970 after writing three of her cited works and became a citizen in 1982. Susan Cooper (2012) migrated from England to America after writing one of her cited works. Sir Terry Pratchett (2011) was a native and lifelong resident of England. Markus Zusak (2014) is a native and resident of Australia.


  1. ^ a b "Edwards Award". Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). American Library Association (ALA). Retrieved 2013-03-15.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Carter, Betty (Spring 1992). "Who Is Margaret Edwards and What Is This Award Being Given In Her Honor?". The ALAN Review. 19 (3): 45–48. Retrieved 2009-03-05.
    Reprinted in Young Adult Literature Awards (lit awards.pdf). CAS: English and Journalism: Education. Western Illinois University. Pp. 12–16. Retrieved 2013-03-15.
  3. ^ a b "Tamora Pierce wins 2013 Edwards Award for Song of the Lioness series and The Protector of the Small quartet". Press release January 28, 2013. ALA. Retrieved 2013-10-11.
  4. ^ a b [needs update]"Margaret A. Edwards Winners". YALSA. ALA. Retrieved 2013-10-12.
    As of October 2013 that list of winning writers and cited books ends with 2012 (January). The award homepage at YALSA, "Edwards Award", features the 2013 award and incorporates a list of winners to 2012, each linked to a version of his or her award citation.
  5. ^ "Susan Cooper wins 2012 Edwards Award for The Dark Is Rising Sequence". Press release January 23, 2012. ALA. Retrieved 2013-10-11.
  6. ^ "Sir Terry Pratchett wins 2011 Edwards Award". Press release January 10, 2011. ALA. Retrieved 2013-10-11.
  7. ^ "Jim Murphy wins 2010 Edwards Award". Press release January 18, 2010. ALA. Retrieved 2013-03-15.
  8. ^ "Laurie Halse Anderson wins 2009 Edwards Award {...}". Press release January 26, 2009. ALA. Retrieved 2013-03-15.
  9. ^ "The May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award" Archived 2013-04-01 at the Wayback Machine. Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC). ALA. Retrieved 2013-03-18.