Virginia Hamilton

Born on March 12, 1934, Virginia Esther Hamilton was born to Kenneth and Etta Belle (née Perry) Hamilton in Yellow Springs, Ohio.  The land upon which she was reared with her four older siblings had been in her mother’s family since the 1850s when her grandfather, Levi Perry, had been brought into Ohio.  As an infant, he was carried on the Underground Railroad into Ohio, a free state.

Growing up with extended family in the rural area of southwestern Ohio greatly influenced Virginia.  A bright child, she was strongly encouraged and supported to read and write.  Hamilton excelled so academically, it led her to graduate at the top of her class and earn a full-scholarship to Antioch College, a local institution of higher learning.  She transferred, in 1956, to the Ohio State University, where she majored in creative writing and literature. 

Two years later, she moved to New York City, where she worked a variety of positions, including as a museum receptionist.  In developing herself to become a published author, she studied fiction writing at the New School for Social Research under the guidance of Hiram Haydn, a founder of Atheneum Press.

For greater enlightenment...

Selected Bibliography


The House of Dies Drear 

The Time-Ago Tales of Jahdu 

The Planet of Junior Brown

W. E. B. Du Bois: A Biography

Time-Ago Lost: More Tales of Jahdu

M.C. Higgins, the Great 

Paul Robeson: The Life and Times of a Free Black Man

Arilla Sun Down 

Justice and Her Brothers – Justice Trilogy, book 1

Dustland – Justice Trilogy, book 2


The Gathering – Justice Trilogy, book 3

Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush 

Willie Bea and the Time the Martians Landed 

The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales 

The Mystery of Drear House 

In the Beginning: Creation Stories from Around the World 

Anthony Burns: The Defeat and Triumph of a Fugitive Slave 


The Dark Way: Stories from the Spirit World

Many Thousand Gone

Her Stories: African American Folktales, Fairy Tales, and True Tales 

When Birds Could Talk & Bats Could Sing: The Adventures of Bruh Sparrow, Sis Wren, and Their Friends

A Ring of Tricksters: Animal Tales from America, the West Indies, and Africa 

Second Cousins 

The Girl Who Spun Gold