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Safia Elhillo with Elizabeth Acevedo, Clint Smith, and Alsarah

Safia Elhillo with Elizabeth Acevedo, Clint Smith, and Alsarah

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Date(s) - 03/04/2021
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

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Busboys and Poets


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Thursday, March 4, 2021, from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm CST.

Busboys and Poets present A DC HOMECOMING for SAFIA ELHILLO AND HER DEBUT YA NOVEL, “HOME IS NOT A COUNTRY.”

About this Event

Join us for the virtual celebration of author and poet SAFIA ELHILLO’s debut YA novel, HOME IS NOT A COUNTRY. (Make Me A World; on sale March 2, 2021; Ages 12+)

Marjan Naderi, the 2020 D.C. Youth Poet Laureate, will open up the event with a reading followed by a reading from Safia Elhillo from HOME IS NOT A COUNTRY. SPECIAL GUESTS Elizabeth Acevedo and Clint Smith will join Safia for a lively in-conversation after the reading. A musical offering from Alsarah will close out the evening.

About HOME IS NOT A COUNTRY: Nima doesn’t feel understood. By her mother, who grew up far away in a different land. By her suburban town, which makes her feel too much like an outsider to fit in and not enough like an outsider to feel like that she belongs somewhere else. At least she has her childhood friend Haitham, with whom she can let her guard down and be herself. Until she doesn’t. As the ground is pulled out from under her, Nima must grapple with the phantom of a life not chosen, the name her parents didn’t give her at birth: Yasmeen. But that other name, that other girl, might just be more real than Nima knows. And more hungry.And the life Nima has, the one she keeps wishing were someone else’s. . .she might have to fight for it with a fierceness she never knew she had.

SAFIA ELHILLO is the author of the poetry collection The January Children, which received the the 2016 Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets and a 2018 Arab American Book Award. Sudanese by way of Washington, DC, she holds an MFA from The New School, a Cave Canem Fellowship, and a 2018 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. Safia is a Pushcart Prize nominee, co-winner of the 2015 Brunel International African Poetry Prize, and listed in Forbes Africa’s 2018 “30 Under 30.” She is a 2019-2021 Stegner Fellow at Stanford University.

ELIZABETH ACEVEDO is the New York Times-bestselling author of The Poet X, which won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, the Michael L. Printz Award, the Pura Belpré Award, the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award, and the Walter Award. She is also the author of With the Fire on High—which was named a best book of the year by the New York Public Library, NPR, Publishers Weekly, and School Library Journal—and Clap When You Land, which was a Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor book & Kirkus finalist. She is a National Poetry Slam champion and holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Maryland. Acevedo lives with her partner in Washington, DC.

CLINT SMITH is a staff writer at The Atlantic. He is the author of the poetry collection, Counting Descent, which won the award for best poetry collection from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association and was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award and author of the forthcoming nonfiction book How the Word Is Passed (June, 2021). His writing has been published in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Poetry Magazine, The Paris Review and elsewhere. Clint received his B.A. in English from Davidson College and a Ph.D. in Education from Harvard University.

Free and open to all! RSVP to get the Zoom Link

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