SAFIA ELHILLO

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Safia Elhillo is the author of The January Children (University of Nebraska Press, 2017), recipient of the 2016 Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets.

Sudanese by way of Washington, DC, she holds a BA from NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study and an MFA in poetry from the New School. Safia is a Pushcart Prize nominee, receiving a special mention for the 2016 Pushcart Prize; co-winner of the 2015 Brunel International African Poetry Prize, and listed in Forbes Africa's 2018 "30 Under 30." Her fellowships and residencies include Cave Canem, The Conversation, and SPACE on Ryder Farm.

Safia’s work appears in POETRY Magazine, Callaloo, and The Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-day series, among others, and in anthologies including The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop and Women of Resistance: Poems for a New Feminism. Her work has been translated into Arabic, Japanese, Estonian, Portuguese, and Greek, and has been commissioned by Under Armour and the Bavarian State Ballet. With Fatimah Asghar, she is co-editor of the anthology Halal If You Hear Me (Haymarket Books, 2019).

Safia has shared her work on platforms such as TEDxNewYork, the BBC World Service, the South African State Theatre, and Red Bull's Frontiers.


INSTAGRAM: @SafiaMafia
TWITTER: @MafiaSafia
FACEBOOK: @SafiaMafia

Safia Elhillo’s triumph is not that she sings about novel love and heartbreak, but that she does so in an unforgettable voice.
— Muzzle
The first sound of what will be a remarkable noise in African poetry. Safia Elhillo has already laid out in this collection a complex foundation for a rich and complex body of work. What is unmistakable is her authority as a poet—she writes with great control and economy, but also with a vulnerability that is deeply engaging. Above all, her poems are filled with delight—a quality of humor that is never trite but always honest and insightful.
— Kwame Dawes
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