Elizabeth Acevedo

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Photo by Dezel Golart

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Author, National Book Award winner and four-time host of POL finals

Elizabeth Acevedo is a poet and novelist whose books are alive with Dominican-American and Afro- Caribbean culture and community and have at their centers teenage girls learning to navigate life, relaxing into and pushing against their upbringings. A National Poetry Slam Champion, Liz’s second book The Poet X won the National Book Award for young people’s literature in 2018. (And in case you haven’t read it—and if you haven’t, you should-- The Poet X is a novel in verse that tells the story of 15 year-old Xiomara as she wrestles with her mother’s expectations and discovers herself through slam poetry.)

Since The Poet X, Elizabeth Acevedo has written two more highly acclaimed books: With the Fire on High, a novel told in prose about Emoni a high school student who’s a mother and who’s also determined to become a chef. And now, most recently, Clap When You Land -- once again a novel in verse—that has as its jumping off point a tragic plane crash, the lies and secrets it reveals, and what’s lost and what’s found in the face of terrible grief. Clap When You Land looks at family and community across two cultures from the perspective of two generations of women—all fierce, capable and imperfect. Elizabeth Acevedo is as lively and charismatic a guest as she is a writer. In this podcast, she talks about her own family who inflamed her imagination with stories, her love for the Dominican Republic even as she understands its flaws, the profound difficulty of uprooting oneself and leaving one country for another, and the challenges and joy of having deep connections to multiple worlds.