The Bill Konigsberg Award

I don’t know if I’m the WORST in the world at blog upkeep, but I’m certainly in the top 5%. I apologize. Life comes so fast these days and I’m so busy.

Which is why I never posted about The Bill Konigsberg Award, even though it was established five months ago. Mea Culpa.

The Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of the National Council of Teachers of English (ALAN) has established the Bill Konigsberg Award for Acts and Activism for Equity and Inclusion through Young Adult Literature.

The award will be presented each year to “an individual who has acted in selfless advocacy of marginalized youth through the creation, teaching, funding or other form of promotion of young adult literature.”

This all happened because of something that occurred last November at the NCTE Conference in Houston, Texas. I was on a panel about banned books and another panelist began making racist and homophobic remarks. The other panelists countered these remarks, and two days later, in a keynote address, I spoke about it. The text of the speech can be read here. Here’s a photo from moments after that speech.

after alan speech

During the speech, I called myself a “fierce papa bear.” That moniker has stuck. I’m not sure it fits, a hundred percent; after all I’M VERY YOUNG. (silence. crickets.)

Thank you for not saying anything.

I guess one reason I didn’t blog about this is because I don’t know what to say about it other than I was blown away by the reception, by the kindness of the anonymous donor who asked for the award to be set up, and by all those who have since donated to make sure the award remains in place for years to come.

Kids, especially those who have been marginalized, matter deeply to me. I will go to bat to make sure young people are heard, and that teens who are struggling know that they’re not alone.

I’m not sure I see myself as so much of an activist at this point in my life, but I am coming to understand that activism comes in many forms. My writing doesn’t feel to me like activism, but I guess anything that helps marginalized kids, especially LGBTQ kids, see themselves in a positive light is a form of activism.

So that’s all I have! I’m very appreciative and grateful for this award. It’s been a long, interesting journey, this life of mine. I don’t know what comes next, but I’m excited to live it and see what’s around the corner!