The Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of the National Council of Teachers of English (ALAN) is pleased to announce that Stacey Barney has been awarded the 2020 Bill Konigsberg Award for Acts and Activism for Equity and Inclusion through Young Adult Literature.
The award was established in 2018 with Bill Konigsberg being the first recipient at the 2019 national convention. Award winners receive $300 and are recognized at the annual ALAN Breakfast. This year, Stacey Barney asked to donate the award amount back to ALAN.
Stacey Barney is an Executive Editor at Penguin Random House/Putnam Young Readers, and over the last fifteen years, she has worked with many talented authors to publish a diverse and inclusive list of books, demonstrating her unwavering commitment to highlighting historically marginalized voices.
A talented editor and an advocate for reflecting diverse cultures and experiences, Barney has worked on books for young readers, with many achieving met with great acclaim. The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh became a New York Times Bestseller. Traci Chee’s The Reader became a YALSA Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults pick in 2017. And Alex Villasante’s The Grief Keeper won a Lambda Literary Award just this year.
Speaking to her legacy, the nominating statement notes her “unwavering commitment to diversity, shining a spotlight on voices that have otherwise been ignored, shunned, or shamed by society for decades, while making them real, accessible, complex and integral components to a just and connected world.” Her nominator continues, “Her books are timeless; her work is tireless; her legacy has changed lives and will change lives for generations to come. If this isn’t the very definition of activism, I don’t know what is.”
Author James Brandon, discussing his experience working with Barney, writes “her commitment and perseverance to not only allow an author to find their true voice, but to allow that voice to tell a layered, honest, and thoughtful story of inclusion. This, to me, is the greatest form of activism a person can take; it lifts the author, who in turn, lifts the reader. Her books are not just part of a moment, they’re part of a movement.”
The evaluation committee was very impressed with Barney’s nomination and felt that her work within the publishing industry aligned perfectly with the purpose and spirit of the award. Committee Chair Josh Coleman, describing the committee’s selection, explains, “Barney does not merely exemplify the award’s tenets; she lives them out so tenaciously, that her work and legacy will undoubtedly shape our conception of the award to come.”
Members of the evaluation committee this year were Josh Coleman (Chair), Rucsandra Bitere, Robert Bittner, Eli Oldham, and Ryan Schey.