An Authors Guild Foundation virtual event celebrating literary icons:

Margaret Atwood and Judy Blume

2020 Honorees for Distinguished Service to the Literary Community

On May 26, 2020, we presented a live conversation and celebration with Margaret Atwood and Judy Blume, the Authors Guild Foundation’s 2020 Honorees for Distinguished Service to the Literary Community. 

In this time of crisis, we are proud to honor two authors who have prevailed against censorship, fought for the literary community, and demonstrated the power of a great book. Each in her own unique way, Margaret Atwood and Judy Blume have transformed the way we see books and the way we see ourselves.

Award-winning author Andrea Davis Pinkney moderated the discussion with Margaret and Judy, with appearances by special guests.

This free event was presented by the Authors Guild. If you are in a position to do so, we encourage you to make a tax-deductible contribution of any size to the Authors Guild Response Fund, which is co-chaired by Margaret and Judy. The AG Response Fund is taking donations to support our advocacy work to ensure authors are protected and provided the assistance, resources, and information they need during the COVID-19 crisis.

MARGARET ATWOOD, whose work has been published in more than 45 countries, is the author of more than 50 books of fiction, poetry, critical essays, and graphic novels. Her latest novel, The Testaments, is a co-winner of the 2019 Booker Prize.  It is the long-awaited sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, now an award-winning TV series. Her other works of fiction include Cat’s Eye, finalist for the 1989 Booker Prize; Alias Grace, which won the Giller Prize in Canada and the Premio Mondello in Italy; The Blind Assassin, winner of the 2000 Booker Prize; The MaddAddam Trilogy; and Hag-Seed. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, the Franz Kafka International Literary Prize, the PEN Center USA Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Los Angeles Times Innovator’s Award. She lives in Toronto.

JUDY BLUME is one of America’s most beloved authors. Her 29 titles include Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret, the five-book series about the irrepressible Fudge, and Forever. She’s been a funny and knowing voice for children and adolescents—particularly for girls and young women—for five decades. Over that time, her work has also widened to encompass the experiences of adult women and men. Her bestselling novels Wifey, Summer Sisters, and In the Unlikely Event proved Blume could boldly swim in the waters of both adult and children’s literature.

Together, her books have sold more than 85 million copies in 32 languages, and have been a touchstone for countless young readers, many of whom have been inspired, as grownups, to write their own books. She was awarded the Library of Congress Living Legends award in 2000 and the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters in 2004.  In 2009, the NCAC honored and paid tribute to Blume’s long-standing defense of free speech and her courageous battles against all kinds of censorship.  The American Academy of Arts and Letters awarded her the E.B. White Award for achievement in children’s literature in 2017.  And, in 2018, Blume was presented with the Carl Sandburg Literary Award by the Chicago Public Library Foundation for literary works that have shaped generations and made indelible contributions to literature.

Four years ago, Blume and her husband, George Cooper, longing for a bookstore in Key West where they live, founded the independent, non-profit Books & Books @ The Studios.  These days Blume can be found working most days at her shop.  “After 50 years of writing, I’m enjoying meeting so many readers and introducing them to some of my favorite authors.”

Judy has served for over 25 years on the board of the Authors Guild in various capacities, including vice president, and is currently an advisory member of the board.

ANDREA DAVIS PINKNEY is the New York Times bestselling an award-winning author of numerous books for children and young adults. Her work has received multiple Coretta Scott King Book Award citations, and she is a four-time nominee for the NAACP Image Award. Ms. Pinkney is the recipient of both the Regina Medal and the Arbuthnot Honor Award for her distinguished contribution to the field of children’s literature. Additionally, she is Vice President, Executive Editor at Scholastic. Ms. Pinkney has been named among the “25 Most Influential Black Women in Business” by The Network Journal, and is included in the “50 Over 50 Extraordinary Women” noted by Good Housekeeping and Woman’s Day magazines.