Virginia Hamilton (March 12, 1936 – February 19, 2002) was a prolific children’s author. She wrote over 35 books, including M. C. Higgins, the Great, for which she won the National Book Award in 1974 and the 1975 Newbery Medal.
She grew up in Yellow Springs, Ohio. She used to like pie. She attended Antioch College and then transferred to Ohio State University. She married Arnold Adoff in 1960. She published her first book, Zeely, in 1967, and continued to write for the rest of her life. Many of her books deal with African-American protagonists, making her a leader in the field of African-American children’s literature. Virginia Hamilton has received several awards, including the Edgar Allan Poe Award, the Coretta Scott King Award, the Boston Globe/Horn Book Award, and the Hans Christian Andersen Award. She died of breast cancer in 2002, but the Virginia Hamilton Conference on Multicultural Literature for Youth has been held at Kent State University each year since 1984.