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


Winner of an American Library Association ALEX Award and Friends of American Writers Award, Kalisha Buckhanon is most known for a trilogy of novels on African-American youth: SOLEMN, CONCEPTION and UPSTATE. Her next novel, SPEAKING OF SUMMER, pulls readers into a woman's quest for answers and justice about her twin sister's death in Harlem, with answers found in revelations about past and history in small town America. She is also seen on ID Channel, BET and TV One as an expert in true crime cases involving women. 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, which remains a favorite of teachers, librarians and youth nationwide. Nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Hurston-Wright Foundation Legacy Award, Buckhanon's works are seen in Fiction International, Oxford American, Black Renaissance Noire, The Root, SheKnows, Kweli, pluck!, Per Contra, Michigan Quarterly Reviewand more. 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 2008. She 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.


“Kalisha Buckhanon has no problem taking readers into the lives of those we often pass by.”  | Essence Magazine

- Essence Magazine


Kalisha has been a guest of American Writers Museum, University of Chicago Emerging Writers Series, University of Chicago Gender Studies Department, Northwestern Lane Humanities Series, Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College-CUNY, School of the Art Institute-Chicago M.F.A Program, Gwendolyn Brooks Black Writing and Literature Conference, Chicago State University M.F.A. Program, New York University’s Institute of African American Affairs, University of Arkansas for the late E. Lynn Harris, Waubonsee Community College, Oakton College Women’s and Gender Studies Conference, University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, American Library Association Conference, National Council of Teachers of English Conference, National Book Club Conference, Union League Club Chicago, Literature For All of Us (Chicago), Kankakee Community College, Kankakee Public Library, New York Public Libraries, Brooklyn Public Library, Free Library of Philadelphia, Chicago Public Libraries, South Street Seaport Museum and Neighborhood Writing Alliance. She has also taught writing, humanities, literacy and more to all ages and levels throughout New York City, Chicago and her native Kankakee, Illinois. 

For inquiries, contact:

MacMillan Speakers
175 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10010



  • Workshops and conversations on creating
  •  Lectures on American culture and society, women's issues, Black history and consciousness,  Black women's work and culture, and justice matters.