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Visiting Authors

Below are a few of the authors who are participating in the LGBTQ Writers in Schools program this academic year (2020-21).

Whether you’re looking to for picture books about gender and diversity or novels that explore sexual identity and gender nonconformity, these authors’ books are a great place to start.

Arvin Ahmadi

Arvin Ahmadi is the author of Down and Across, Girl Gone Viral, and the forthcoming How It All Blew Up. He graduated from Columbia University and worked in the tech industry prior to becoming a full-time writer. When he’s not reading or writing books, he can be found watching late-night talk show interviews* and editing Wikipedia pages. He lives in New York City.

Jackson Bird

Jackson Bird is a YouTube creator and LGBTQ+ advocate dedicated to demystifying the transgender experience. His TED Talk “How to talk (and listen) to transgender people” has been viewed over a million times. Jackson is a recipient of the GLAAD Rising Star Digital Innovator Award and lives in New York City.

Tanya Boteju

Tanya Boteju is an English teacher and writer living on unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations (Vancouver, Canada). She believes feminism, diversity, committed educators, sassy students, and hot mugs of tea will save the day. Tanya may have been a drag king in her well-spent youth and knows that the queer community is full of magic and wonder. With her books, she hopes she’s brought some of that magic to those who need it most

Kacen Callender

Born and raised in St. Thomas of the US Virgin Islands, Kacen Callender is a bestselling and award-winning author of the middle-grade novels Hurricane Child and King and the Dragonflies, the young-adult novels This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story and Felix Ever After, and the adult novel Queen of the Conquered and its forthcoming sequel King of the Rising. They enjoy playing RPG video games in their free time.
Kacen currently resides in Philadelphia, PA.

Cheril N. Clarke

Raised in Miami and now living in southern New Jersey, Cheril N. Clarke is the author of five novels, two stage plays, and several children’s books. She has been featured in Curve Magazine, the nation’s best-selling lesbian magazine, The Princeton Packet, Philadelphia Gay News (PGN), A as well as Crain’s New York Business newspaper, among others. Clarke is a member of the Professional Speechwriters Association.

Adam Eli

Adam Eli is a community organizer and writer in New York City. He is the founder of Voices4, a nonviolent direct-action activist group committed to advancing global queer liberation, and was included in Out Magazine‘s 100 most influential queer people of 2018. He believes that when you mess with one queer, you mess with us all.

Joshua Jennifer Espinoza

Joshua Jennifer Espinoza is a trans woman poet living in California. Her work has been published in Poetry Magazine, The Paris Review, Denver Quarterly, Lambda Literary, PEN America, The Offing, and elsewhere. She is the author of THERE SHOULD BE FLOWERS (CCM 2016), Outside Of The Body There Is Something Like Hope (Big Lucks 2018), and I’M ALIVE. IT HURTS. I LOVE IT. (Big Lucks Books, 2019).

Camryn Garrett

Camryn Garrett was born and raised in New York. When she was thirteen, she was selected as a TIME for Kids reporter. Her writing has appeared in the Huffington Post, MTV, and Rookie Magazine. In 2015, she was named as one of MTV’s 8 Inspiring Teens Using Social Media to Change the World and in 2019, she was named one of Teen Vogue’s 21 Under 21 and a Glamour College Woman of the Year. She is a proud advocate of diverse stories and writers.

Candice Iloh

Candice Iloh is a first-generation Nigerian-American writer, teaching artist, and youth educator. She has performed her work around the country, most notably at Nuyorican Poets Café in New York City, the Women in Poetry & Hip Hop celebration at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum in Baltimore, and as part of the Africa In Motion performing arts series at the National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC. She is a graduate of Howard University and holds an MFA in writing from Lesley University. Her work has earned fellowships from Lambda Literary and VONA among many others. 

George Johnson

George M. Johnson is a writer and activist based in New York. They have written on race, gender, sex, and culture for Essence, the Advocate, BuzzFeed News, Teen Vogue, and more than forty other national publications. All Boys Aren’t Blue is their debut, and was an Amazon Best Book of the Year, an Indie Bestseller, a People Magazine Best Book of the Year, and optioned for television by Gabrielle Union. The New York Times called it an exuberant, unapologetic memoir infused with a deep but cleareyed love for its subjects. At the time of publication, George used he/him pronouns.

Leah Johnson

I’m an editor, educator, and author of books for young adults. My bestselling debut YA novel—and the inaugural Reese’s Book Club YA pick!–You Should See Me in a Crown is available now wherever books are sold, and my sophomore novel, Rise to the Sun​ is due out in 2021. While you wait for your copies to arrive, you can find me on Twitter ranting about pop culture, politics, and the greatest show of all time (Avatar: The Last Airbender, obviously!).

Adib Khorram

Adib Khorram is the author of Darius the Great Is Not Okay, which earned the William C. Morris Debut Award, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Young Adult Literature, and a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor, as well as a multitude of other honors and accolades. His followup, Darius the Great Deserves Better, received three starred reviews and was an instant Indie Bestseller. His debut picture book, Seven Special Somethings: A Nowruz, Story will be released February 16, 2021. When he isn’t writing, you can find him learning to do a Lutz jump, practicing his handstands, or steeping a cup of oolong. He lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where people don’t usually talk about themselves in the third person.

Vincent X. Kirsch

Vincent X. Kirsch is an author, illustrator, playwright, and designer. He is the author-illustrator of books for children, including How I Learned to Fall Out of Trees and Natalie & Naughtily. He lives in Beverly Hills.

Kyle Lukoff

I write books for kids and other people. Right now you can pre-order my debut middle grade novel Too Bright to See, due out 4/20/2020! Books you can read right now include A Storytelling of Ravens, When Aidan Became a Brother (which won the Stonewall Award!), the Max and Friends series, and Explosion at the Poem Factory. I spent 8 years as a school librarian, but now I write full time, assist in sensitivity readings and consultations, and present on the importance of children’s and youth literature all across the country. I write about transgender kids, collective nouns, poetry, and queer lives.

Roya Marsh

Roya Marsh, a native of the Bronx, New York, is a nationally recognized poet, performer, educator, and activist. She is the Poet in Residence at Urban Word NYC, and she works feverishly toward LGBTQIA justice and dismantling white supremacy. Marsh’s work has been featured on NBC, BET, Button Poetry, Write About Now Poetry, Def Jam’s All Def Digital, and Lexus Verses and Flow, and in Poetry magazine, Flypaper Magazine, Frontier Poetry, The Village Voice, Nylon, HuffPost, and The BreakBeat Poets Volume 2: Black Girl Magic (2018).

David Barclay Moore

David Barclay Moore was born and raised in Missouri. After studying creative writing at Iowa State University, film at Howard University in Washington, DC, and language studies at l’Université de Montpellier in France, David moved to New York City, where he has served as communications coordinator for Geoffrey Canada’s Harlem Children’s Zone and communications manager for Quality Services for the Autism Community. He has received grants from the Ford Foundation, the Jerome Foundation, Yaddo, and the Wellspring Foundation. He was also a semi-finalist for the Sundance Screenwriters Lab. David now lives, works, and explores in Brooklyn, NY.

Walter Naegle

Walter Naegle is the former partner of the American Civil Rights leader Bayard Rustin and is executive director of the Bayard Rustin Fund, which commemorates Rustin’s life, values, and legacy.

Abdi Nazemian

Abdi’s first novel, The Walk-In Closet, was awarded Best Debut at the Lambda Literary Awards. He has written two young adult novels, both published by Balzer + Bray / HarperCollins: The Authentics (2017) and Like a Love Story (2019), an Indie Next Pick, Junior Library Guild Selection, Stonewall Honor book, and a best book of the year from EW, Audible, Buzzfeed, YALSA, NYPL and more. Abdi lives in Los Angeles with his two children and husband and holds dual citizenship between the United States and Canada. Abdi is not the inspiration for Madonna’s children’s book “The Adventures of Abdi,” though he will forever insist that he is.

Chinelo Okparanta

Born in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, CHINELO OKPARANTA is the author of Happiness, Like Water. Her honors include an O. Henry Prize, a Lambda Literary Award, and finalist selections for the Young Lions, the Caine Prize, and the Rolex Mentors and Protégés Arts Initiative.

Mark Oshiro

Mark Oshiro is the award-winning author of Anger Is a Gift (2019 Schneider Family Book Award) and Each of Us a Desert, both with Tor Teen. Their middle-grade debut, The Insiders, is out in 2021. When not writing, they run the online Mark Does Stuff universe and are trying to pet every dog in the world.

Suzanne Parker

Suzanne Parker is a poet, non-fiction writer, editor, and writing teacher/coach. Her chapbook Feed was a winner of the Sunken Gardens Poetry Chapbook Award and was published in summer 2016 by Tupelo Press. Her poetry collection, Viral, was a winner of the Kinereth Gensler Book Award and was published by Alice James Books in Sept. 2013. Viral was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in Poetry and was also included on the American Library Association’s Rainbow List of recommended books of 2013.

Junauda Petrus

Junauda Petrus is a writer, pleasure activist, filmmaker, and performance artist, born on Dakota land of Black-Caribbean descent. Her work centers around wildness, queerness, Black-diasporic-futurism, ancestral healing, sweetness, shimmer, and liberation. Her debut novel, The Stars and the Blackness Between Them, earned a Coretta Scott King honor. She lives in Minneapolis with her wife and family.

Sarah Prager

Sarah Prager is a writer, activist, and speaker on LGBTQ+ history. Her widely praised first book on the subject, Queer, There, and Everywhere: 23 People Who Changed the World, received numerous accolades, including three starred reviews and being named a Best Book for Teens by the New York Public Library and Chicago Public Library. Her second book, Rainbow Revolutionaries: 50 LGBTQ+ People Who Made History, is for ages 8-12. Prager’s writing has appeared in The Atlantic, HuffPost, and many other publications. Prager also created Quist, a free mobile app for learning LGBTQ+ history, in 2013 and was invited to the White House to contribute on LGBTQ+ tech issues in 2014. Prager lives with her wife and their children in Massachusetts.

Meredith Russo

Meredith Russo was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, but now lives in Brooklyn with her awful cat. Between her novels and short fiction, Meredith has tackled everything from contemporary realism to nonfiction to eco-dystopian cyberpunk, but her focus has been and remains stories of transgender women and girls. Whatever she writes, her oath is that it will always feature a trans woman and that she will not reach an explicitly tragic ending.,Her debut novel, If I Was Your Girl, was a finalist for the Walter Dean Myers Diversity Award, the Lambda Literary Award, and won the 2016 Stonewall Award.

Hal Schrieve

Hal Schrieve grew up in Olympia, Washington, and has never met a werewolf. Xie has worked as an after-school group leader, a summer camp counselor, a flower seller, a tutor, a grocer, and a babysitter. Hal has had poetry in Vetch magazine, and is featured in Stacked Deck Press’s 2018 trans comics anthology We’re Still Here. Hal earned hir Master’s in Library Science from Queen’s College and works as a Children’s Librarian at New York Public Library.  Out of Salem, hir debut novel, received starred reviews from Kirkus and Publisher’s Weekly and was longlisted for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.  Hal lives in Brooklyn.

Meredith Talusan

Meredith Talusan is an award-winning journalist and author. They have written features, essays, and opinion pieces for many publications, including The New York Times, The Guardian, The Atlantic, VICE, Matter, Backchannel, The Nation, and the American Prospect. She has contributed to several books including the New York Times Bestselling Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture edited by Roxane Gay. Her memoir, Fairest, is out now from Viking / Penguin Random House.

Erica Waters

Erica Waters grew up in the pine woods of rural Florida, though she now resides in Nashville, Tennessee. She has a Master’s degree in English and works as a university writing tutor. When she’s not writing books, you can find her hanging out with her two dogs, Nutmeg and Luna, and forgetting to practice her banjo. Ghost Wood Song is her debut novel. Her second book, The River Has Teeth, will be published in 2021.

Julian Winters

Julian Winters is a best-selling and award-winning author of contemporary young adult fiction. His novels Running With Lions and How to Be Remy Cameron (Duet, 2018 and 2019 respectively), received accolades for their positive depictions of diverse, relatable characters. Running With Lions is the recipient of an IBPA Benjamin Franklin Gold Award. How to Be Remy Cameron was named a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard selection and received a starred review from School Library Journal. A former management trainer, Julian currently lives outside of Atlanta where he can be found reading, being a self-proclaimed comic book geek, or watching the only two sports he can follow–volleyball and soccer. His third novel for Duet Books, The Summer of Everything, will be released in September 2020, to be followed by Right Where I Left You from Viking Children’s/Penguin in 2022.


Yanyi is a poet and critic who has received fellowships from the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, Poets House, and the Millay Colony for the Arts. He formerly served as curatorial assistant at The Poetry Project and is associate editor at Foundry.

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