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K-State Today

April 15, 2020

Award-winning author Zetta Elliott to speak on Saturday, April 18

Submitted by Karin Westman

Zetta Elliott

Award-winning author Zetta Elliott will be the keynote speaker for the seventh biennial interdisciplinary conference on children’s literature in English, Education, and Library Science, scheduled from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 18.

This year's conference will be held via Zoom due to COVID-19 and limited university operations.

Elliott is the author of picture books, poetry, and middle-grade and young adult fiction. Born and raised in Canada, Elliott has lived in the U.S. for over 20 years. She earned a doctorate in American studies from New York University in 2003, and she has taught at the Ohio University, Louisiana State University, Mount Holyoke College, Hunter College, Bard High School Early College, and Borough of Manhattan Community College.

This year's conference theme is "Fantastic Identities in Children's and Young Adult Literature." For her keynote presentation, Elliott will speak on "Magic, Mystery, and History: Forging Radical Black Girl Identities in Fantasy Fiction."

"Zetta Elliott is an inspiring speaker, a powerful activist-critic and a wellspring of creativity. I'm thrilled that she's bringing her unique combination of talents to this year's conference," says Philip Nel, university distinguished professor of English and director of the program in children's literature. "To build a better future, we first have to imagine it. As Zetta's work shows us, decolonizing — and diversifying — our imaginations is a great place to start." 

Caitlin Hymans, first-year graduate student in English and co-president of the Children's and Adolescent Literature Community, a department-sponsored student organization in English, agrees.

"I am so delighted to assist in hosting my first ChALC conference featuring Zetta Elliott, Hymans said. "Elliott has produced groundbreaking work in the field of diverse children's literature, using fiction and fantasy genres to advocate for diverse representation in YA novels and as a tool to celebrate unique, diverse identities. I believe that through discussing Elliott's work, we will glean many insights into literature for young readers." 

In addition to Elliott's keynote lecture, the conference features a joint presentation by Lotta Larson, associate professor, and Vicki Sherbert, assistant professor, in curriculum and instruction in the College of Education. Larson and Sherbert will present on "Rethinking Literacy: Teaching Reading and Writing in Times of Change."

Conference attendance fulfills requirements for "Service to the Profession: Professional Growth" for undergraduate students in education.

The conference is free and open to students, faculty, staff and community members, but advance registration is required. To register and receive the Zoom link and passcode to attend, visit tinyurl.com/kstatechalc2020 by 5 p.m. Friday, April 17.

The conference is sponsored by the Children's and Adolescent Literature Community, the Department of English in the College of Arts and Sciences, and the K-State Student Governing Association.