Virginia Hamilton’s Legacy Lives on With New Book and Award

Reading time 2 min.
Flag of the United States
Flag of the United States

Breaking new ground came naturally to Virginia Hamilton. In 1967, the publication of her first book, Zeely, launched the modern era of African American children’s fiction. Through her more than forty award-winning books and scores of speeches and essays, Hamilton helped to bridge cultures and generations. In 2010, eight years after her death, this important legacy continues to grow.

Virginia Hamilton: Speeches, Essays and Conversations (The Blue Sky Press/Scholastic), co-edited by Arnold Adoff (Hamilton’s husband) and Kacy Cook, gives us Hamilton’s voice, from her first nationally-published essay in 1971 to her final speech in 2001. Through these pieces, Hamilton explored her creative process and shared her views on the role of the writer and on the central themes of her work.

Syndicated reviewer Kam Williams praises the book as “a rich portrait of a literary icon.” Publishers Weekly writes, “Fans and scholars alike will value her intimate discussion of her craft in such beloved works as The Planet of Junior Brown and M.C. Higgins, the Great.” Kirkus Reviews says, “Hamilton was an unusually clear thinker and brilliant wordsmith. Here a lesser-known facet of her glittering reputation gets a fresh shine.”

Hamilton’s revised, updated website,, includes the full text of her Newbery Medal Acceptance Speech.

Beginning this year, the American Library Association is presenting The Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement, given for lasting and significant contributions to youth or young adult multicultural literature. The first recipient is Walter Dean Myers.

Adoff, a poet and anthologist, has donated Hamilton’s papers to the Library of Congress, and April will mark the opening of the Virginia Hamilton and Arnold Adoff Resource Center at Wright State University’s Bolinga Center.

Hamilton is America’s most highly honored author of children’s books. She was the first African American to win the Newbery Medal, the first children’s author to win the MacArthur Fellowship (“Genius” award), and was awarded the Hans Christian Andersen Medal, known as “The Little Nobel Prize.” She won the National Book Award, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, Coretta Scott King Award, Edgar Allan Poe Award, and Laura Ingalls Wilder Award for her body of work, among many others. The Virginia Hamilton Conference, held each spring at Kent State University, is the longest-running conference on multicultural literature for youth in the country.

Source: Arnold Adoff

United States  Read latest news and features from United States : business, politics, culture, life & style, entertainment and sports
Support Follow Afrik-News on Google News