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Kwame Alexander Appointed to Lead Chautauqua Literary Arts

Kwame Alexander Appointed to Lead Chautauqua Literary Arts

Chautauqua Institution today announced the appointment of ​#1 New York Times Bestselling Author ​Kwame Alexander to the role of Michael I. Rudell Artistic Director of Literary Arts. Alexander will also serve as​ the Inaugural​ Writer-in-Residence at Chautauqua.

A poet, educator, publisher, ​and Emmy-nominated producer, ​ Alexander is​ ​​the author of​ 40 books, ​including ​Why Fathers Cry at Night: A Memoir;​​​ ​​The Caldecott Medal and Newbery Honor-winning picture book The Undefeated, illustrated by Kadir Nelson;​ Becoming Muhammad Ali, co-authored with James Patterson; and the Newbery Medal-winning middle grade novel, The Crossover,​ now a television series on Disney+​. His books have long been a staple on lists for both the Institution’s Young Readers program and its Battle of the Books. ​Alexander, the former Innovator-in-Residence at the American School in London,​ made his Chautauqua debut in a week dedicated to “The Life of Literature” in August 2023.

As director of Chautauqua’s Literary Arts program, which has its roots in the 145-year-old Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle (CLSC), Alexander will provide strategic vision and leadership for all Literary Arts programs, with a focus on amplifying Chautauqua’s position as a national force in the literary arts. In addition to the CLSC, Chautauqua Literary Arts programs include the Writers’ Center, Writers’ Festival, Poetry Makerspace, and two annual literary prizes, The Chautauqua Prize and the Chautauqua Janus Prize.

Senior Vice President and Chief Program Officer Deborah Sunya Moore said Alexander’s expertise and networks will help the Institution realize a vision for the Literary Arts as a key driver of patron engagement. “Kwame quickly fell in love with both the place and community Chautauqua currently is, and the aspiration of who we want to be and serve. We are delighted that he will lean into our shared aspirations to provide extraordinary learning opportunities and experiences for a broadening community of people that love literature, including those who are honing their own writing craft,” Sunya Moore said.

“My experience at Chautauqua last summer went beyond impactful,” Alexander said. “The bookish me found the conversations creatively life-giving. The people I met, several of whom I’ve remained engaged with, were incredibly thoughtful​ and heartfelt with support for my mission to change the world, one word at a time​. My muse was so moved by the experience that I tried to bottle up all that inspiration​ and take it home​. Accepting this position, this honor, is me opening the bottle and pouring into this place — this community — all the imagination, innovation, and literary inventiveness I can dream up to further inspire the best in humanity.”

In addition to providing leadership for Chautauqua’s existing literary arts programs, Alexander will also support new initiatives, including Chautauqua Travels. He will serve as the trip expert for the 2024 Literary Ireland departure.

Alexander begins his service to Chautauqua on December 1, 2023.

Learn more about the Chautauqua Institition and Chautauqua Literary Arts.

Author Study with Kwame Alexander & Special Guest Judy Blume!

Virtual Livestream Event: Wed. Dec 6, 2023, 1pm EST / 10am PST

Author Study with Kwame Alexander  Special Guest Judy Blume

Join us on Wednesday, December 6, 2023, at 1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT for Author Study with Kwame Alexander and special guest, the legendary Judy Blume, recently named as one Time’s 100 Most Influential People of the Year in 2023!

Our 45-minute virtual livestream session is a unique opportunity to engage with and learn from two dynamic #1 New York Times best-selling, award-winning authors. Kwame will read from his National Book Award long-listed novel, Booked, then speak with Judy on how she creates such compelling characters throughout her beloved collection of 29 best-selling books that have sold more than 90 million copies in 39 languages.

We’ll also do a character writing craft lesson, followed by a LIVE Q&A, taking questions from select attendees in the chat!

  • Classroom / School / Library Registration: $375
  • Title I Classroom / School or Homeschoolers Registration: $250

This event will also include an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter.

In order to give participants a unique and more personalized experience, space for this virtual livestream event is limited. Register today at to secure your spot!

Note: This event is intended for grades 4-12 and will run 45 minutes (1:00-1:45pm ET / 10:00 - 10:45am PT). Each registration provides access through a unique URL and passcode as a single login to the virtual livestream, which can be used from one device for viewing in an individual classroom or library, or broadcast to a school-wide assembly. The login cannot be used on multiple devices concurrently. However, the single login can be used if your school or organization is set up to broadcast from one device into multiple classrooms. Please see FAQs on the event page for additional details.

THE CROSSOVER Receives Two Emmy® Nominations!

Young Teen Series & Writing for a Young Teen Program

We did a thing. A big thing. The actors. The writers. The directors. The producers. The whole family of creatives. We put our hearts and souls on the page and the stage. Because the story mattered. Our story mattered.

And, this happened. So, no matter what’s next, we are Emmy nominated y’all.

Say what? I said, We. Are. Emmy. Nominated. TWICE.

Appreciate y’all for the support and love! Time to get a new tux…

~ Kwame

The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) today announced the nominations for the 2nd Annual Children’s & Family Emmy® Awards. The Crossover received two nominations, in the categories of Young Teen Series and Writing for a Young Teen Program!

Congratulations to the entire production team, cast, and crew of The Crossover series, streaming now on Disney+!

THE CROSSOVER Receives Two Emmyreg Nominations



UPDATE: Thanks to all who joined our October 24 Author Study with Kwame Alexander!

Our next Author Study event will take place on Wednesday, December 6, 2023, featuring Kwame in conversation with the legendary Judy Blume!

General registration opens Monday, November 6, 2023 - stay tuned to and for details, including the registration link!

Join us on Tuesday, October 24, 2023, at 1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT for AUTHOR STUDY WITH KWAME ALEXANDER, a special virtual reading, book talk, and Q&A livestream event with the #1 New York Times best-selling, Newbery medal-winning author of The Crossover, The Door of No Return, Becoming Muhammed Ali, Rebound, The Undefeated, and more!

Every year, Kwame receives thousands of speaking engagement requests, for both in-person and virtual appearances, from schools and libraries all across the country and around the world. In response to this demand, we’ve created this special event to bring Kwame into your classrooms at an exclusive rate.

Kwame will be discussing Booked and The Crossover as we prepare to celebrate the 10th anniversary of its publication next year, but also fielding questions about all of his works (don't worry, no spoilers!) from select attendees LIVE in the chat. We’re bringing in some surprise guests and featuring giveaways during the livestream as well!

This event is intended for grades 3-9. Each registration provides access to the virtual livestream, which can be used for a classroom, library, or broadcast to a school-wide assembly. The login cannot be used on multiple devices concurrently.

NOTE: In order to give participants a unique and more personalized experience, space for this virtual livestream event is limited.

Register at!

Coming Soon: The HAIKU Collection

NEW Eyewear Collab Arriving Early December 2023!

Coming Soon The HAIKU Collection

Y’all know I LOVE eyewear. I mean LOVE. 32 pairs and counting. So, I had this idea (actually, Angel had the idea…): Why not create a line of fly eyewear? FLYWEAR! Yes! So, I did. That’s right, the HAIKU collection, created in collaboration with the incredible team at Kirk & Kirk!

Handcrafted in Italy, each style comes beautifully packaged with, yup, you guessed it, an original Haiku penned by Moi.

Y’all ain’t see this coming. Oh my!

- Kwame

Head to and sign up to receive news & updates, including VIP pre-order access!

WHY FATHERS CRY podcast hosted by Kwame Alexander premieres Sunday, September 24!

WHY FATHERS CRY podcast hosted by Kwame Alexander premieres Sunday, September 24

Snapshots of a man
learning how to love…
one conversation at a time.

Get ready, y’all: the premiere episode of Kwame Alexander's new podcast Why Fathers Cry drops this Sunday, September 24!

Featuring intimate conversations anchored in poetry, we’re kicking things off with the incredible Bryant Terry, a James Beard Award-winning educator, author, founder + Editor-in-Chief of 4 Color Books... and they get INTO it. How their origins and upbringing shows up in the ways they parent their own kids, the power of community, and what connects us to ourselves… and each other.

Subscribe and listen wherever you get your podcasts, and learn more at

Special thanks to our sponsors Brain Lair Books ( and Kirk & Kirk Eyewear (

Produced for Big Sea Entertainment by Sarah Grace McCandless. Studio audio engineering by Edgar Diaz. Post-production by Jeremy Brieske at Burst Marketing. Theme music, "Saint State Street," composed by Joshua Gabriel and Bryant Terry.



Honored and thrilled to share that Kwame Alexander and Damani Johnson received a 2023 Humanitas award nomination for The Crossover ("X's & O's" episode), in the category of Children's teleplay (live-action or animation)!

Since 1974, The Humanitas Prizes have been awarded to honor professional film and television writers whose work exemplifies the art of screenwriting while exploring the human condition in a nuanced, meaningful way.

Congratulations to the entire production team, cast, and crew of The Crossover series, streaming now on Disney+!

Upcoming Summer Events!

Join Kwame in Atlanta, Chautauqua, & Martha's Vineyard!

Upcoming Summer Events

Heading back out on the road for a series of upcoming events. If you're planning to be in Atlanta, Chatauqua, or Martha's Vineyard, we'd love to see you!

Saturday, July 29
National Book Club Conference
11:00am ET
Atlanta Marriott Buckhead Hotel & Conference Center
Atlanta, GA

Wednesday, August 2
Chautauqua Institution Lecture Series
10:45am ET
Chautauqua Amphitheatre
Chautauqua, NY

Saturday, August 5 and Sunday, August 6
Martha's Vineyard Book Festival
Chilmark Community Center Festival Grounds
Martha's Vineyard, MA

2:30pm ET, Sat. 8/4: "Reckoning with Identity in Memoir: The Self on the Page" panel discussion featuring Kwame Alexander (Why Fathers Cry at Night), Nicole Chung (A Living Remedy), Christian Cooper (Better Living Through Birding), Michelle Miller (Belonging); moderated by Emily Greenhouse, Editor, The New York Review of Books.

8:30am ET, Sun. 8/5: Kwame Alexander in conversation with Angela Ards, discussing his latest book, Why Fathers Cry at Night: A Memoir in Love Poems, Recipes, Letters, and Remembrances.

Sunday, August 6
15th Annual AAMBC Literary Awards
7:00pm ET
Riverside EpiCenter
Austell, GA

Monday, August 7
An Evening with Kwame Alexander
In conversation with host and moderator, WABE's Rose Scott, discussing Kwame's memoir, Why Fathers Cry at Night: A Memoir in Love Poems, Recipes, Letters, and Remembrances.
6:00pm ET
Fulton County Library
Atlanta, GA

Kwame On Tour: Why Fathers Cry at Night

Book Release May 23, Tour Begins May 24!

Kwame On Tour Why Fathers Cry at Night

We invite you to join us on Kwame's tour in celebration of his memoir, Why Fathers Cry at Night (on sale May 23).

Each stop will be a unique experience, as Kwame shares selections from the book, followed by an intimate conversation with an incredible group of partners, including Christine Platt (NYC), NPR's Ayesha Rascoe (DC), Chef Gregory Gourdet (Portland, OR), W. Kamau Bell (Berkeley, CA), Joy Bryant (Los Angeles, CA), Tracey Michae'l Lewis-Giggetts (Philadelphia), and Victoria Christopher Murray (Atlanta, GA).

"We'll explore lessons we’ve learned - and unlearned - and the ones we are still learning. Stories about longing, love, and loss. Journeys guided by faith and forgiveness - of others, yes, but also of self - past, present, and future. Aspects of fatherhood from a multitude of perspectives. And how getting vulnerable and getting real is the connective tissue that binds us together, gives us strength, defines our purpose, and feeds our soul."

- Kwame

Wednesday, May 24
6:30pm: The 92nd Street Y
New York City, NY
In conversation with acclaimed author and advocate Christine Platt
Tickets & Additional Event Info
NOTE: In-person and Virtual Livestream Ticket Options!

Thursday, May 25
6:30pm: Planet Word Museum (in partnership with East City Bookshop)
Washington, DC
In conversation with NPR's Ayesha Rascoe
Tickets & Additional Event Info

Tuesday, May 30
7:00pm: Powell's City of Books
Portland, OR
In conversation with James Beard award-winning author and chef Gregory Gourdet
Additional Event Info

Wednesday, May 31
7:00pm: First Congregational Church (in partnership with Mrs. Dalloway's Bookstore)
Berkeley, CA
In conversation with stand-up comedian, director, and executive producer W. Kamau Bell
Tickets & Additional Event Info

Thursday, June 1
7:00pm: Barnes & Noble at The Grove
Los Angeles, CA
In conversation with actress, writer, and producer Joy Bryant
Tickets & Additional Event Info

Tuesday, June 6
7:30pm: Free Library of Philadelphia
Philadelphia, PA
In conversation with author and educator Tracy Michae'l Lewis-Giggetts
Registration & Additional Event Info

Thursday, June 8
7:00pm: Inman Park Church (in partnership with A Cappella Books)
Atlanta, GA
In conversation with New York Times best-selling author Victoria Christopher Murray
Tickets & Additional Event Info

Thursday, June 15
Asheville Ideas Fest (June 13-17)
Asheville, NC
Tickets & Additional Event Info

***JUST ADDED!!!***
Saturday, June 17
4:00pm: Buxton Books
Charleston, SC
In conversation with Charleston Literary Festival Director Sarah Moriarty
RSVP & Additional Event Info

Tuesday, June 27
Aspen Ideas Festival (June 24-30)
Aspen, CO
Tickets & Additional Event Info

Teachers & Librarians VIP Event

Facebook LIVE on Tues. May 16, 7:30pm!

Why Fathers Cry at Night Facebook Live Event for Teachers and Librarians, Tuesday, May 16, 730pm ET

Teachers, Librarians, Educators, and Administrators!

As a special thank you for all your years of support, we're hosting a special VIP Facebook livestream just for you on Tuesday, May 16, at 7:30pm ET! Join Kwame Alexander for a LIVE discussion plus Q&A about his forthcoming memoir, Why Fathers Cry at Night.

In an intimate and non-traditional (or "new-fashioned") memoir, Kwame Alexander shares snapshots of a man learning how to love. He takes us through stories of his parents: from being awkward newlyweds in the sticky Chicago summer of 1967, to the sometimes-confusing ways they showed their love to each other, and for him. He explores his own relationships—his difficulties as a newly wedded, 22-year-old father, and the precariousness of his early marriage working in a jazz club with his second wife. Alexander attempts to deal with the unravelling of his marriage and the grief of his mother's recent passing while sharing the solace he found in learning how to perfect her famous fried chicken dish. With an open heart, Alexander weaves together memories of his past to try and understand his greatest love: his daughters.

Full of heartfelt reminisces, family recipes, love poems, and personal letters, Why Fathers Cry at Night inspires bravery and vulnerability in every reader who has experienced the reckless passion, heartbreak, failure, and joy that define the whirlwind woes and wonders of love. Available in store on May 23 or for pre-order now.

Get an exclusive sneak peek: join us on Kwame's Facebook page LIVE at 7:30pm ET on Tuesday, May 16!

Join Us on May 10, 12p ET, for a Live Q&A with Kwame: Top 15 Questions about THE CROSSOVER!

Hosted by Follett for Teachers, Librarians, and Students: Register Today!

Join Us on May 10, 12p ET, for a Live QA with Kwame Top 15 Questions about THE CROSSOVER

In partnership with Follett, Kwame is doing a live Q&A on Wednesday, May 10, at 12p ET, for teachers, librarians, and students, to talk about The Crossover, his best-selling, award-winning book and recently premiered Disney+ series. Hear first hand about about how the show was developed, what it’s like working with an entertainment giant, what it takes to adapt a novel for the screen, and more!

If you're a teacher or librarian with students interested in submitting questions for Kwame, collect and share them on Instagram or Twitter using #ReadStrong by Sunday, May 7, or submit them during registration. Kwame will choose 15 questions to answer live!

Plus, we’ll also choose one lucky registrant to receive a grade-level collection of Kwame Alexander Bookfest, which includes six copies of five age-appropriate titles curated by Kwame himself for a unique book club experience!

Register today and watch it from your classroom or library and find out whose questions were chosen. If you can’t attend live, we encourage you to still register so you can be entered into the giveaway and receive a link of the recording after the event to show it to your students at a later date.