BookUp Welcomes New Teaching Artists for 2017-18 School Year

Over the past ten years, National Book Foundation has had the privilege of working with many talented writers through BookUp—published writers who are committed to sharing their love of reading with young people serve as our BookUp Teaching Artists, and facilitate this free, after-school program for middle school students at sites across the country. We're thrilled to welcome several new Teaching Artists to the team this year! 

Ibi Zoboi whose debut novel, American Street, is currently on the National Book Award Longlist for Young People's Literature (congratulations, Ibi!) will be teaching at our newest partnering site: CAMBA at Walt Whitman Middle School in East Flatbush. After working on our Summer Storytellers program, Amanda Panitch is joining us for the school year. Amanda is the author of two young adult novels, both of which were named Best Books for Teens by the New York Public Library: Damage Done and Never Missing, Never FoundAliya S. King, whose work includes co-authoring the New York Times bestseller, Keep the Faith, with Platinum recording artist Faith Evans, will be working with students in Brooklyn. Poet Sheila Maldonado, author of One-Bedroom Solo and the forthcoming That’s What You Get will be leading a bilingual program in the South Bronx.  And last but not least, Fatima Farheen Mirza whose debut novel, A Place for Us, the inaugural book acquired for publication by Sarah Jessica Parker’s new line of books, SJP for Hogarth, will be published next year. 

And that's just in NYC! Lilliam Rivera, award-winning author of the contemporary young adult novel, The Education of Margot Sanchez, will be working on our BookUp Los Angeles program, now in its second year. 

We can't wait to get started with this year's BookUp programs!

Teaching Artists:

Shawntai Brown
Shawntai Brown is a poet, playwright, and teaching artist with a Bachelor’s of Arts in creative writing from Western Michigan University. A Cass Tech-bred Detroit native, Shawntai’s comedic plays and narrative works have focused on faith, gender, race, sexuality and community. She is the author and co-director of eLLe Kalamazoo play project series, and former editor/organizer of the Voices theater project. Currently, she is enjoying her residency with Inside Out Literary Arts Project, but mostly she spends her days dreaming up interpersonal games, chopping vegetables and discouraging her rabbits from eating her sofa.
Shawntai teaches for BookUp Detroit at Marcus Garvey Academy and BookUp LGBTQ at the Ruth Ellis Center (Detroit).

Aliya S. King Aliya S. King is a freelance writer and author. Born and raised in East Orange, New Jersey, Aliya has held editorial positions at Billboard, The Source, and Ebony. As a freelance writer for nearly twenty years, her profiles, news stories and features have appeared in Elle, Nylon, Ebony, Vibe, Ms, Essence, Black Enterprise and many others. In 2007, Aliya co-authored the New York Times bestseller, Keep The Faith, with Platinum recording artist Faith Evans. She also co-authored Original Gangster with Frank Lucas, on whom the film American Gangster was based. Her first novel, Platinum, was published by Simon and Schuster in 2010. The sequel, Diamond Life, was published by Simon and Schuster in February of 2012. She is currently squeezing blood from a rock to get her third novel done. You can find Aliya everywhere @aliyasking. Even SnapChat. Although she doesn’t know how to snap.
Aliya teaches for BookUp NYC at CAMBA SONYC at Hudde Junior High.

Sheila Maldonado Sheila Maldonado is the author of the poetry collections, one-bedroom solo (Fly by Night Press, 2011) and that’s what you get, forthcoming from Brooklyn Arts Press. She is a CantoMundo Fellow and a Creative Capital awardee as part of desveladas, a visual writing collective. She has served as an artist-in-residence on Governors Island for the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and as a Cultural Envoy to Honduras for the US State Department. She teaches creative writing for the City University of New York and holds degrees in English from Brown University and poetry from the City College of New York. She grew up in Coney Island and lives in Washington Heights. She has taught and read and written with virtually every grade level of NYC student and is forever a city kid herself.
Sheila teaches for BookUp NYC at Kingsbridge Heights Community Center at ISLA.

Fatima Farheen Mirza
Fatima Farheen Mirza is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was a Teaching-Writing Fellow. She has taught creative writing and fiction courses at the University of Iowa and at the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio. Awarded the Michener-Copernicus Fellowship in 2016 and The Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research/Creative Achievement from The University of California, Riverside, she has also received residencies from The Marble House Project and The MacDowell Colony. Her debut novel will be published by SJP for Hogarth in 2019. 
Fatima teaches for BookUp NYC at I.S. 318 Eugenio Maria De Hostos.

Amanda Nowlin-Obanion
Amanda Nowlin-Obanion's stories and essays have appeared in Callaloo, Gulf Coast, Vandal, WhiskeyPaper, The Dallas Morning News, and the anthology Literary Cash. In December 2012, the Liars’ League NYC published and featured her story, “Boxing Day,” which was performed by Broadway's Maggie Lacy. She is the recipient of a Barbara Deming award and the TEX Emerging Writer Award judged by Joyce Carol Oates. Amanda earned an MFA from New York University and a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Houston. She lives in Huntsville, Texas near the state prison and teaches creative writing at Sam Houston State University. Amanda is currently completing her first novel.
Amanda teaches for BookUp Texas at Mance Park Middle School.

Amanda Panitch is a young adult author living in New York City. Her books, Damage Done and Never Missing, Never Found (Random House Books for Young Readers), have been called "disturbingly wonderful" (Entertainment Weekly on Damage Done), "a real page-turner" (New York Daily News on Damage Done), and "a tense, clever thriller" (Publisher's Weekly, starred review of Never Missing, Never Found). Both were named Best Books for Teens by the New York Public Library. She is currently at work on her third book.
Amanda teaches for BookUp NYC at STRIDE at University Settlement.

Lilliam Rivera Lilliam Rivera is an award-winning writer and author of the contemporary young adult novel The Education of Margot Sanchez (Simon & Schuster). The novel was recently nominated for a 2017 Best Fiction for Young Adult Fiction by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). Named a "2017 Face to Watch" by the Los Angeles Times, Lilliam is also a 2016 Pushcart Prize winner and a 2015 Clarion alumni with a Leonard Pung Memorial Scholarship. She has been awarded fellowships from PEN Center USA, A Room Of Her Own Foundation, and received a grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation and the Speculative Literature Foundation. Lilliam's work has appeared in Tin House, Los Angeles Times, and USA Today, to name a few. Lilliam lives in Los Angeles.
Lilliam teaches for BookUp Los Angeles at Foshay Learning Center.

Alicia Anabel Santos Alicia Anabel Santos is an Afrolatina lesbian storyteller, speaker, performance artist, producer, playwright, teaching artist and activist. Born in Brooklyn and a proud Dominican writer, Alicia works to tell stories that celebrate and honor women throughout Latin America. Alicia is the Founder of the New York City Latina Writers Group, and speaks on subjects which intersect identity, religion, sexuality, feminism, and social justice. In 2008 she joined Creador Pictures as Writer/Producer of its first documentary, AfroLatinos: An Untaught History. In 2011, she self-published her memoir, Finding Your Force: A Journey to Love and her one-woman show I WAS BORN was selected as part of the ONE Festival in New York. She has been a guest on NPR's Tell Me More and her work has been seen multiples magazines. She attended New York University, has a daughter in graduate school, and lives in the Bronx with her partner. She can be found on Twitter and Instagram: @diosadominicana.
Alicia teaches at BookUp LGBTQ at Hetrick Martin Institute (NYC).

Megan Stockton
Megan Stockton is a poet and publisher living in Detroit, Michigan. She is a co-editor at Weekday, an annual literary journal, and is a member of Problem Press, a collaborative writing and publishing project. Stockton's writing has appeared in Monster House Press, BigBig WednesdayThe StoolBearings: Works About Boundaries, Hypocrite Reader, and is forthcoming in Flint Magazine. She is currently working on her Masters of Creative Writing at Eastern Michigan University.
Megan teaches for BookUp Detroit at Carstens Academy of Aquatic Science and BookUp LGBTQ at the Ruth Ellis Center (Detroit).

Ibi Zoboi
Ibi Zoboi holds an MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her debut novel, American Street, was published by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers and has received five starred reviews. Her next YA novel, Pride, is due out in the Fall of 2018. Her middle grade debut, My Life as an Ice-Cream Sandwich is forthcoming from Dutton/Penguin Books. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, and their three children. You can find her online at
Ibi teaches for BookUp NYC at CAMBA SONYC at Whitman Middle School.