Elizabeth Acevedo

Elizabeth is an Afro-Latina  Dominican-American poet and author. She was born to Dominican immigrants and raised in New York. She obtained a BA in Performing Arts from George Washington University and a MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Maryland.   At the age of 12 she decided she wanted to be a rapper and wrote her first lyric. At 14 she competed in her first poetry slam. In 2016 she became a National Slam Champion. She has performed at the Lincoln Center, Madison Square garden, the Kennedy Center as well as other places. She has delivered several TED talks and her videos have been featured in numerous magazines and articles.  Elizabeth went from slam champion to writing novels.

Elizabeth is the Author of three Young adult novels. She chose to focus on young adults because she was an eighth grade teacher and she believes that is an exciting group to write for because of the hope that young adults choose to have. She won the National Book Award, for The Poet X! It is also a New York Times’ bestseller. She is the Author of “With the Fire on High” and her third novel “Clap when you Land,” is set to be released on May 2, 2020. The upcoming novel is about two sisters growing up unaware of each other while living in different countries but who learn of each other when their father dies. One lives in the Dominican Republic and one in New York City. Elizabeth has stated “As a child of immigrants, as a black women, as a Latina, as someone whose accented voice holds certain stories, I always feel like I have to prove that I am worthy enough and there will never be an award or accolade that will take that away.”  The cover for Acevedo’s novel has recently been reveled and Elizabeth says “and then I saw the girls and the beautiful shades of brown of their skins. It’s not every day you see such a display of Caribbean beauty on a cover. But beyond that, the fact that both my birthplace I chose to live in are represented on the same cover, made me emotional. For once, most of my essence has been captured in one gorgeous book cover, and I’m sure the actual book will resonate with so many, not because they might have my same background, but because the story itself is not uncommon in most Latinx communities.”

Makensie Shay McDaniel

Project RACE Teen President Emeritus

Picture Credit: wbur.org