Safia Elhillo


SAFIA ELHILLO is the author of The January Children (University of Nebraska Press, 2017), which received the Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets and an Arab American Book Award. She also wrote Girls That Never Die (One World/Random House, 2021) and the novel in verse Home is not a Country (Make Me A World/Random House, 2021). With Fatimah Asghar, she is co-editor of the anthology Halal If You Hear Me (Haymarket Books, forthcoming 2019). Sudanese by way of Washington, DC, she earned a BA from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study and an MFA in poetry at the New School.

Her work has appeared in several journals and anthologies, including The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop and The Penguin Book of Migration Literature. She was a founding member of Slam NYU, the 2012 and 2013 national collegiate championship team, and was a three-time member and former coach of the DC Youth Slam Team. Her work has been translated into several languages and commissioned by Under Armour, Cuyana, and the Bavarian State Ballet. A Cave Canem fellow, Safia is the co-winner of the 2015 Brunel International African Poetry Prize, and was listed in Forbes Africa’s “30 Under 30.” In 2018, she was awarded a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. She is currently a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University and lives in Oakland, California.

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