Biography of Elizabeth Acevedo

Elizabeth Acevedo is a writer of young adult fiction, best known for her novel in verse, The Poet X.

Acevedo is the only daughter of Dominican immigrants and was raised in New York City; she identifies as Afro-Latina. She loved poetry and hip-hop from an early age, and began performing in her local community at age fourteen. She told the Smithsonian, “My neighborhood, ‘Harlem Adjacent’ as I like to call it, was predominantly black and Latino. People from all over the Caribbean. I grew up in a place that was very stratified and very clear. Go one, two avenues over from our house, and its Riverside Drive and Columbia professors—a very different socioeconomic class. It’s New York City and this huge melting pot. I grew up with an understanding of difference, and the haves and have-nots.”

Acevedo received her BA in Performing Arts from George Washington University and her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Maryland. For a time she was a Teach for America English teacher in Prince George County, Maryland, which was when she started thinking about writing for young people who told her they didn’t like reading because they rarely, if ever, saw themselves in books.

She has participated in the Callaloo Writers Workshops, was a National Poetry Slam Champion, has given TED Talks, and has appeared at numerous venues to read her works.

Her books include a work of poetry, Beastgirl and Other Origin Myths (2016), The Poet X (2018), With the Fire on High (2019), and Clap When You Land (2020).

Acevedo currently lives in New York City with her husband.

Study Guides on Works by Elizabeth Acevedo

Published in 2018, The Poet X is a young adult realistic fiction novel by Dominican-American poet and author Elizabeth Acevedo. The novel—specifically the protagonist Xiomara, who goes by "X"—draws on Acevedo's own experience growing up in New...