Born: February 12, 1964
Ohio connection: Birth
Jacqueline Woodson was born in 1964 in Columbus, Ohio. She grew up in Greenville, South Carolina and Brooklyn, New York. She received a B.A. in English from Adelphia University in 1985, and also studied at the New School for Social Research. Writing has been a passion for Woodson since childhood. She was the literary editor of her school’s magazine in the fifth grade and has been writing ever since. She writes largely about people who are forgotten or who are on the fringes in mainstream America: the poor, minorities, homosexuals, young girls. She describes them as the people “who exist on the margins.” As an African-American woman and a lesbian, she writes from firsthand experience. She sees her characters as struggling to find their own individuality, seeking their own value as people. She states that she “feels compelled to write against stereotypes, hoping people will see that some issues know no color, class, sexuality.” Most of Woodson’s books are for children and young adults. Some of her children’s books are We Had a Picnic This Sunday Past, The Other Side, Our Gracie Aunt and Coming On Home Soon. Her first published book, Last Summer with Maizon, is the first of a trilogy for young adults. Others in the trilogy are Maizon at Blue Hill and Between Madison and Palmetto. Some of her other young adult titles are The Dear One, If You Come Softly, The House You Pass on the Way, Locomotion, Miracle’s Boys, and Behind You. She has written a novel for adults: Autobiography of a Family Photo. Woodson has also been a faculty member at several colleges, has worked as an editorial assistant, and as a drama therapist for runaway children in East Harlem, New York. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.
MacDowell Colony fellowship, 1990 and 1994; Fine Arts Work Center, Provincetown, MA, fellow, 1991-92; Kenyon Review Award for Literary Excellence in Fiction, 1992 and 1995; Best Books for Young Adults, American Library Association (ALA), 1993, for Maizon at Blue Hill; Publishers Weekly Best Book award, 1994; Jane Addams Children's Book Award, 1995 and 1996; Coretta Scott King Honor Book, ALA, 1995, for I Hadn't Meant to Tell You This, and 1996, for From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun; Granta Fifty Best American Authors under 40 Award, 1996; Lambda Literary Award for best fiction and best children's fiction, 1996; Lambda Literary Award, Children/Young Adult, 1998, for The House You Pass on the Way; Booklist Editor's Choice award; American Library Association Best Book award; American Film Institute award; Los Angeles Times Book Award for young adult fiction and Coretta Scott King Book Award: Text, 2001, for Miracle's Boys; nominee for National Book Award in young people's literature category, 2002, for Hush; Boston Globe-Horn Book Award nominee in fiction and poetry category, 2003, for Locomotion. Margaret A. Edwards Award for Lifetime Achievement, 2006.