Late in August, the YALSA Board voted to approve Board Document 33. For a two-year pilot period, the Margaret A. Edwards Award Celebration will be moved from its current iteration as an event at the Annual Conference to the YALSA Symposium, beginning at the November, 2019 Symposium in Memphis, TN.
The Margaret A. Edwards Award, established in 1988, honors an author, as well as a specific body of his or her work, for significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature. The annual award is administered by YALSA and sponsored by School Library Journal magazine. It recognizes an author’s work in helping adolescents become aware of themselves and addressing questions about their role and importance in relationships, society, and in the world. The Edwards award celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2018.
The rationale for this change is outlined in Board Document 33. By moving the Edwards Celebration from Annual to the YALSA Symposium, we believe that there will be a greater focus on the accomplishment made by the winner of the prestigious award. Having the Edwards Celebration among so many other options at the Annual Conference can create difficulties for those wanting to attend but unable, whether due to timing or cost of multiple ticketed events. Another benefit to moving the Edwards Celebration to the Symposium is the addition of the Member Awards to this event. We would like to highlight the significant accomplishments of members and invite them to be celebrated in an appropriate venue. We have received the endorsement of School Library Journal in piloting the changes to the event.
Related to this, back in February, the YALSA Board had approved a proposal to eliminate the requirement for an author to accept the Edwards Award in person as a condition of the award. School Library Journal also endorsed this change.
A group will be formed in the coming months to explore the best ways to enact these changes and plan an event befitting the Edwards and Member Awards recipients.