Kalisha Buckhanon is a writer, speaker and commentator creating stories and media about African-Americans, women, love, and justice.

(photo: DeJohn Barnes)

Winner of an American Library Association ALEX Award and Friends of American Writers Award, Kalisha Buckhanon is most known for her trilogy of novels on Black youth in America: SOLEMN, CONCEPTION and UPSTATE. Her next novel, SPEAKING OF SUMMER, pulls readers into a woman's quest for answers and justice about her sister's disappearance from Harlem, leading to revelations about women’s lives in urban America and family history in a small town. She is also seen on ID Channel, BET and TV One as an expert in true crime cases involving women. In 2005 she was introduced in such media as The Guardian/Observer and Essence, which named her one of "Three Writers to Watch," and featured on the cover of Mosaic Literary Magazine in 2009.

In 2018 the National Book Foundation/Art for Justice initiative chose UPSTATE as an inaugural Literature for Justice title, for works shedding light on mass incarceration. UPSTATE's audiobook won an Audie Award in Literary Fiction for Buckhanon and its actors Chadwick Boseman and Heather Simms. Icon Terry McMillan gave Kalisha a Young Author Award at the National Book Club Conference for this modern classic and favorite of teachers, librarians and youth nationwide. The book was nominated for the Hurston/Wright Foundation Legacy Award in Debut Fiction and listed on New York Public Library’s List of Best Books for Teens.

Nominated for a Pushcart Prize and recipient of Illinois Arts Council Fellowship, Kalisha's stories and essays are seen in Fiction International, Oxford American, Black Renaissance Noire, The Root, SheKnows, Kweli, pluck!, Per Contra, Michigan Quarterly Review and more. A native of Kankakee, Illinois, and member of Phi Beta Kappa, Kalisha has a B.A. and M.A. in English from University of Chicago with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from The New School in New York City.