Written by Yilin “Elaine” Ge ’25 and Jiating “Milly” Zhang ’25
The New York Times bestselling author of National Book Award finalist American Street Ibi Zoboi visited The Ethel Walker School from November 7 to November 10, 2023 and worked with the Visiting Writer Seminar students. Throughout her visit, she taught and inspired the Walker’s community to “create dangerously.” Furthermore, she shared her story with poetry and taught students to find their creative outlets. Most of her literary works involved themes of identity and culture, coming from her experiences as a Haitian immigrant.
Ibi Zoboi was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and immigrated to the United States with her mother. Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, she developed her appreciation for storytelling and literature, eventually leading her to pursue a career as a writer. Most of her works are based on teens, making them relatable and engaging for Walker’s students. In Zoboi’s reading on Friday night, students were deeply drawn to her alluring words on her work in progress as she expanded on her idea on female rage, teaching us that “writing is like acting.” Students in the Visiting Writer Seminar ended the amazing night by leading a discussion with Zoboi asking her insightful questions on various topics.
Zoboi is also the author of Pride, a contemporary remix of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and middle-grade debut My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich. She is the editor of Black Enough: Stories of Being Young and Black in America. She co-authored the Walter Award and L.A. Times Book Prize-winning novel-in-verse Punching the Air with Exonerated Five member Yusef Salaam. Her debut picture book, The People Remember, received a Coretta Scott King Honor Award. Her most recent books include Star Child: A Biographical Constellation of Octavia Estelle Butler, Okoye to the People: A Black Panther Novel for Marvel, and Nigeria Jones.