Visionary children’s book writer Zetta Elliott visits Minnesota

Zetta ElliottZetta Elliott, author of more than 20 books for young readers and an independent publisher, will be coming to the Twin Cities for five days, September 13-17. 

Her visit is co-sponsored by the University Libraries’ Archie Givens, Sr. Collection of African American Literature and Umbra: Search African American History

Elliott will work with students at Bancroft and Lucy Laney elementary schools in Minneapolis, lead a workshop on independent publishing in historically marginalized communities, lecture library students at St. Kate’s on the importance of diversity in children’s literature, and headline a reading and panel discussion at the Loft Literary Center.

Andrea Jenkins, who heads up the Libraries’ Transgender Oral History Project, and Umbra’s Junauda Petrus, are panelists for the discussion at the Loft. 

Highlights of Elliott’s visit include

  • A presentation to a class of library students at St. Catherine University on Tuesday, September 13, 7:00 p.m. at Mendel 106, St. Kate’s (2004 Randolph Ave., St. Paul). Free and open to the public.

In this talk, Dr. Sarah Park Dahlen will discuss the results of the Diversity Baseline Survey, and Dr. Zetta Elliott will talk about how racism and power affect the publishing industry, as well as how community-based and independent publishing may fill unmet needs.

  • A visit to Bancroft Elementary school in South Minneapolis the morning of Thursday, September 16, and a visit to Lucy Laney Elementary school in North Minneapolis the morning of Friday, September 17.
  • Attend the “Revolutionary Publishing” community workshop on Friday, September 16, 10:00 a.m to 12:00 p.m., at Lucy Laney Elementary School. If you plan to attend please send a note to hello@ancestrybooksmn.com with the subject line: “Zetta Elliott Workshop.” 
  • Reading and Panel on Elevating Absented Narratives on Saturday, September 17, 7:00 p.m., at the Loft Literary Center. Free and open to the public.

Elliott will share her work, and then join a panel with local community members on elevating stories that have been buried from the mainstream.

About Zetta Elliott

Born in Canada, Zetta Elliott moved to the United States in 1994 to pursue her Ph.D. in American Studies at NYU. Her poetry has been published in several anthologies, and her plays have been staged in New York, Chicago, and Cleveland. Her essays have appeared in the Huffington Post, School Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly.

She is the author of over 20 books for young readers, including the award-winning picture book Bird. Her urban fantasy novel, Ship of Souls, was named a Booklist Top Ten Sci-fi/Fantasy Title for Youth.

Three books published under her own imprint, Rosetta Press, have been named Best Children’s Books of the Year by the Bank Street Center for Children’s Literature. Rosetta Press generates culturally relevant stories that center children who have been marginalized, misrepresented, and/or rendered invisible in traditional children’s literature.

Elliott is an advocate for greater diversity and equity in publishing. She currently lives in Brooklyn.

Visit sponsors

This series of events is co-hosted by Ancestry Books, University of Minnesota Libraries Archie Givens, Sr. Collection of African American Literature/Umbra: Search African American History, Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy, Bancroft Elementary School, The Loft Literary Center, Minnesota Humanities Center, and the St. Catherine University Master of Library and Information Science Program and its American Library Association Student Chapter, Progressive Librarians Guild, and Student Governance Organization. Contact: shannongibney@gmail.com

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