On Sunday, September 24th prolific children and teens writer Robin Stevenson was awarded the prestigious Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence for 2023!
She has authored a total of 30 books of fiction and nonfiction—including Pride: The Celebration and the Struggle and My Body, My Choice: The Fight for Abortion Rights, young adult novel When You Get the Chance, and many more.
Not only is she a talented and successful writer, she is also a passionate advocate for equality and justice and has used related challenges as a focus in her books—particularly rights surrounding LGBTQ+ and women’s reproductive rights.
“Joining the rather awe-inspiring list of writers who have received this award would be an incredible honour at any time, but it is particularly meaningful to me right now, as we live through this time of escalating attacks on LGBTQ+ rights,” Stevenson said.
“As part of this transphobic and homophobic backlash, we are seeing coordinated efforts to undermine young people’s access to diverse books. In the United States, book bans have become widespread, and hate-filled rhetoric and attacks on the freedom to read are on the rise in Canada as well.”
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The award jury on the selection of Robinson noted her importance in the literary community and the significant positive impact her words have on her audience.
“We were particularly moved by the advocacy alive in her stories featuring young LGBTQIA+ characters, and by the activist work Ms. Stevenson does to speak in schools and volunteer in non-profit organizations,” the jury said.
“Ms. Stevenson strives, in both her creative projects and community life, to uphold women’s reproductive rights, expand queer representation in children’s and YA literature, to fight censorship and to mentor the next generation of queer writers.”
Stevenson’s writing has been translated into numerous languages and published in more than a dozen countries. She has won a number of awards, including Silver Birch Award, the Sheila A. Egoff award, and a Stonewall Honor to name a few.
More than anything else, she believes everyone deserves a voice, representation, and respect—which she will continue to fight for and write about, even as her books are challenged by school districts and libraries.
Stevenson was born in England and moved to Ontario as a child. She relocated to the island 20 years ago and lives here with her partner and teenage son. She is actively involved in the community, including volunteering in refugee sponsorship, through the Private Sponsorship of Refugees program at ICA (Intercultural Association of Greater Victoria).
She recently delivered a series of talks and writing workshops at downtown high school, the Pacific School for Innovation and Inquiry.
Currently, she is working on a book called QUEER HISTORY A-Z, which comes out with Kids Can Press in the spring, and a picture book is scheduled to be released with Orca in 2025.
You may see her writing in Victoria’s many cute coffee shops or out walking her dog!
To stay up to date on all things Robin Stevenson, check out her website.