deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
[personal profile] deborah
I continue to be troubled by the Edwards awards. Here is the list of previous winners of the Edwards award.
  • 1988 S.E. Hinton
  • 1990 Richard Peck
  • 1991 Robert Cormier
  • 1992 Lois Duncan
  • 1993 M.E. Kerr
  • 1994 Walter Dean Myers
  • 1995 Cynthia Voigt
  • 1996 Judy Blume
  • 1997 Gary Paulsen
  • 1998 Madeleine L'Engle
  • 1999 Anne McCaffrey
  • 2000 Chris Crutcher
  • 2001 Robert Lipsyte
  • 2002 Paul Zindel
  • 2003 Nancy Garden
  • 2004 Ursula K. Le Guin
  • 2005 Francesca Lia Block
  • 2006 Jacqueline Woodson
  • 2007 Lois Lowry
  • 2008 Orson Scott Card
  • 2009 Laurie Halse Anderson
  • 2010 Jim Murphy
  • 2011 Terry Pratchett
Maybe I'm missing something, but out of 24 winners I count two authors of color (both black), three out queer women (and two authors of explicitly homophobic books to balance them out). As long as I am running statistics in my head, I also get two authors of nonfiction,11 authors known primarily for their realistic fiction for young readers, 4 authors known primarily for fantasy or science fiction for adults, 1 author known primarily for suspense and mystery for young readers, 1 author known primarily for humor.

When compared with the Printz (11 winners, 4 winners of color -- 2 black, one Korean born American, one American of Taiwanese descent; no out authors), the Edwards starts looking like they are not really paying attention to representation when they make statements of lifetime achievement. And I don't just mean representation vis-à-vis the usual factors, but also genre. In those 11 years, Printz winners included one fantasy graphic novel, two post-apocalyptic novels (one far future and one near future), one humor novel, and a couple of really weird surrealist pieces. No mysteries, horror, nonfiction, romance, or thrillers. (Expanding to include the Printz honors-- which isn't fair, because the Edwards award only gets to honor one person the year, so I should be comparing apples to apples -- nets you a whole variety of things I'm not going to run statistics on right now, including several out authors, a heroic crown of sonnets, a couple of books which are at least kinda-kinda as far as fat politics goes, steampunk, autobiography, nonfiction, funny chicklit, and yes, Terry Pratchett. Also a wide variety of books about queerness written by straight people and books about people of color written by white people, but at least the books in question are awesome.)

In this light, I am more happy about the Pratchett award in the Edwards' just because that means they have finally given an award to humor, although personally I'd have been happier to see it go to someone like Pinkwater. Nancy Werlin would go a long way to approaching the dearth of representation for suspense and mystery. I can't even begin to approach the absence of horror from that list. I'm not fond of the genre myself, but even if you don't want to credit R. L. Stine, Christopher Pike, and Anthony Horowitz, you could give a little bit of love to John Bellairs. Chicklit would be well represented by Meg Cabot.
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