November 1, 2018

Many NYU alumni are known for their notable careers as authors. Today, in celebration of Author’s Day, we’re taking a look at one of our most-beloved alumni-authors, 1996 Distinguished Alumni Award Winner Judy Blume (STEINHARDT ’61).

A wildly popular author among adolescents and young adults, Blume is best-known for her novels Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret., Blubber, and Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. Most recently, she released her first adult novel in 17 years. In the Unlikely Event tracks three plane crashes that took place in the author’s hometown of Elizabeth, NJ while she was growing up.

It was recently announced that Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret., which was originally published in 1970, will be adapted for the big screen.


Blume attended Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, where she pursued a degree in teaching, but her creative energy required an outlet.

"You write because you have to, because it’s inside you and it has to come out."
—Judy Blume (STEINHARDT ’61)

Blume felt compelled to write about subjects that other authors found taboo, such as puberty, budding sexuality, and tragedy. Her stories have hit home with young adult readers. She was awarded the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters in 2004 and the Library of Congress' Living Legends award in 2000. NYU also honored Blume in 1996 with the Distinguished Alumni Award.

The Distinguished Alumni Award is presented to a respected and distinguished graduate of any school, college, or division of NYU who has demonstrated extraordinary achievement and/or service in his or her professional, vocational, social, and cultural endeavors, and who deserves acknowledgement as embodying the spirit of distinction that brings pride to the University.