Elizabeth Acevedo

Elizabeth Acevedo – Sara Siebert Memorial Keynote Speaker

Poet, novelist, and National Poetry Slam Champion, Elizabeth Acevedo was born and raised in New York City, the only daughter of Dominican immigrants. Her poetry is infused with Dominican bolero and her beloved city’s tough grit. She is the author of the New York Times best selling and award-winning novel, The Poet X (HarperCollins, 2018), winner of the 2018 National Book Award for Young Adult Fiction, the 2019 Pura Belpré Award, and the 2019 Michael L. Printz Award; and the forthcoming With the Fire on High (HarperCollins, May 7, 2019). Her poetry chapbook Beastgirl & Other Origin Myths (YesYes Books, 2016), a collection of folkloric poems centered on the historical, mythological, gendered and geographic experiences of a first generation American woman. From the border in the Dominican Republic, to the bustling streets of New York City, Acevedo considers how some bodies must walk through the world as beastly beings. How these forgotten myths are both blessing and birthright.

Acevedo is the winner the Horn Book Prize for Fiction and Poetry for The Poet X. The Horn Book Magazine review of the novel calls Acevedo’s debut verse novel “an arresting portrait of a young poet coming into her own.” They write: “Fifteen-year-old Xiomara, whose name means “one who is ready for war,” has been fighting her whole life.… In nearly every poem, there is at least one universal truth about adolescence, family, gender, race, religion, or sexuality that will have readers either nodding in grateful acknowledgment or blinking away tears. ‘It almost feels like / the more I bruise the page / the quicker something inside me heals.’” In another review, Justina Ireland observes: “This book crackles with energy and snaps with authenticity and voice. Every poem in this stunningly addictive and deliciously rhythmic verse novel begs to be read aloud. Xiomara is a protagonist who readers will cheer for at every turn. As X might say, Acevedo’s got bars. Don’t pass this one by.”

Acevedo’s poems have been published or are forthcoming in Poetry, Puerto Del Sol, Callaloo, Poet Lore, The Notre Dame Review, and others. Acevedo is a Cave Canem Fellow, Cantomundo Fellow, and participant of the Callaloo Writer’s Workshop. She’s given TedTalks and has been a featured reader nationally and internationally, including appearance at renowned venues such as The Lincoln Center, Madison Square Garden, the Kennedy Center of the Performing Arts, South Africa’s State Theatre, The Bozar in Brussels, the National Library of Kosovo and many others.

Acevedo holds a BA in Performing Arts from The George Washington University and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Maryland. She resides in Washington, DC with her husband.


Accolades for Elizabeth’s work:

The Poet X

“In nearly every poem, there is at least one universal truth about adolescence, family, gender, race, religion, or sexuality that will have readers either nodding in grateful acknowledgment or blinking away tears.” – Horn Book

“Poignant and real, beautiful and intense.” – Kirkus Review, starred review

2018 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature

2019 Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Literature Written for Young Adults

2019 Pura Belpré Author Award

With the Fire on High

“Acevedo has done it again: the multi-award-winning author of The Poet X (2018) here delivers perfection… This sophomore novel is simply stunning.” — Booklist, starred review

“[A] stunning sophomore novel from National Book Award and Printz winner Acevedo…. With evocative, rhythmic prose and realistically rendered relationships and tensions, Acevedo’s unvarnished depiction of young adulthood is at once universal and intensely specific.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review


Afternoon Speaker: Alex London

Alex London has written books for children, teens, even a few grown ups.

His young adult debut, Proxy, was an American Library Association Top Ten Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Readers and included on their 2014 Best Fiction For Young Adults list. Proxy is a 2015 Texas Lone Star Reading List and TAYSHAS Reading List selection, a 2016 Intermediate Sequoyah Masterlist selection in Oklahoma, and many other state reading lists across the country.

His newest young adult novel, Black Wings Beating, starts an epic fantasy trilogy that has been called “a must read” and “unputdownable”. ’ The New York Times called it “wondrous.” It has received starred reviews from Kirkus and School Library Journal, which recommended it for “all libraries that serve teens.” It’s a NBC Today Show Pick, a Kirkus Best Young Adult Fantasy of 2018 selection, a Seventeen Magazine best of 2018 pick, and Paste Magazine best of 2018 pick, and We Need Diverse Books 2018 Must Read. His mom also liked it, which is kind of a big deal.

For middle grade readers, as C. Alexander London, he’s the author of The Wild Ones series, Dog Tags and Tides of War series, as well as the Accidental Adventures and two titles in The 39 Clues series. He’s also the author of the graphic novel styled picture book, The Adventures of Wrong Man and Power Girl (illus. Frank Morrison) and the World Read Aloud Day picture book from LitWorld, New Day, New Friends.

His books for adults include One Day The Soldiers Came: Voices of Children in War and the National Jewish Book Award finalist, Far From Zion.

Alex was born in Baltimore, Maryland and moved to New York to attend Columbia University. He graduated with a degree in philosophy and earned his Masters Degree in Library Science from Pratt Institute.

He’s been a journalist reporting from conflict zones and refugee camps, a young adult librarian with New York Public Library, an assistant to a Hollywood film agent, and a snorkel salesman. He now lives with his family in Philadelphia, PA where he, his husband, and his daughter can be found wandering among the tress of Fairmount Park talking to the dog, who is the real brains of the whole operation.

Black Wings Beating

BLACK WINGS BEATING is the first book in the SKYBOUND series of YA fantasy set in a world of cut-throat falconry.

“brilliantly crafted”—The New York Times Book Review

“Epic thrills, heart-punching romance, and a marvel of a hero” –Adam Silvera, New York Times-bestselling author of They Both Die at the End

The people of Uztar have long looked to the sky with hope and wonder. Nothing in their world is more revered than the birds of prey and no one more honored than the falconers who call them to their fists.

Brysen strives to be a great falconer―while his twin sister, Kylee, rejects her ancient gifts for the sport and wishes to be free of falconry. She’s nearly made it out, too, but a war is rolling toward their home in the Six Villages, and no bird or falconer will be safe.

Together the twins must journey into the treacherous mountains to trap the Ghost Eagle, the greatest of the Uztari birds and a solitary killer. Brysen goes for the boy he loves and the glory he’s long craved, and Kylee to atone for her past and to protect her brother’s future. But both are hunted by those who seek one thing: power.

In this first young-adult fantasy novel in a trilogy, Alex London launches a soaring saga about the memories that haunt us, the histories that hunt us, and the bonds of blood between us.

Red Skies Falling, the second book in the Skybound series, will be published in September, 2019.

Alex London’s website