YALSA Election: An Interview with Printz Award Committee Candidate Rob Bittner

Get ready to vote! The YALSA election runs from March 19 through April 25, and to help you be an informed voter, we’re sharing interviews with each of the 2014 candidates for YALSA Award Committees.YALSA_173x79

This week we are focusing on the Michael L. Printz Award Committee, which honors the best book and up to four honor books written for teens, based entirely on literary merit, each year.

Candidates, who will be presented in alphabetical order, were asked to craft “Twitter-length” responses (i.e. around 140 characters). Full biographical information on all of the candidates can be found on the sample ballot.

Today we have an interview with Rob Bittner.

Name and current position: My name is Robert Bittner. I am a PhD Candidate in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in beautiful Vancouver, BC.

Why did you decide to run for a YALSA selection committee?

I am a YA lit enthusiast to the extreme, and being able to serve on a selection committee, to honour books that will withstand the test of time, would be an incredible privilege.

In a nutshell, what will you bring to the committee?

I bring along in-depth knowledge of lit studies from my years of studying, as well as an intense appreciation of exceptional books. I’ve also got a few years of reviewing under my belt by this point!

What experience do you have with materials selection and evaluation?

I’ve served on other selection committees (BC Book Prize, Stonewall Book Award, Newbery) and have been reviewing books and putting together booklists for LGBT organizations in my community for many years.

What makes you a good fit for this committee in particular?

My history of studying YA lit and working with various groups on issues of diversity and youth cultures will allow me to fit in and bring specialized insight to the Printz committee.

How do you plan to manage the reading load required by selection committee participation?

Much like my reading for the Newbery, I plan to drink a lot of coffee, read continuously, and take notes regularly. Basically, I will be doing what I normally do, even when I’m not on a committee!

What have been some of your favorite past winners of this particular award?

Postcards from No Man’s Land; American Born Chinese; Going Bovine; Where Things Come Back

What books should have won the award, but didn’t?

This is always a dangerous question to ask and an even more perilous question to answer. I can’t possibly come up with an answer that won’t put me on someone’s naughty list!

What else do voters need to know about you?

Voters need to know that I work hard, I can bring specialized knowledge of LGBT issues and youth culture to the table, and I promise to play nice with the other committee members!

This interview was cross-posted on The Hub and the YALSAblog.