top of page
Kwame Alexander, credit Portia Wiggins Photography

(Portia Wiggins Photography)

Superstar of Young People's Literature

Kwame Alexander

7 p.m. Thursday October 6, 2022
Page Hall, University at Albany Downtown campus
135 Western Avenue
Albany NY 12203
View map

Free and open to the public. Masks are strongly encouraged.

Kwame Alexander, a household name among readers of children’s and YA literature, is the New York Times bestselling author of 35 books, including The Undefeated, winner of the Caldecott Medal and Newbery Honor, and The Crossover, winner of the Newbery Medal.


His new novel is The Door of No Return (Sept. 2022), the story of Kofi, an 11-year-old boy who is taken from the normal childhood and vibrant life of his West African village into the brutality of the Translatlantic Slave Trade. Rick Riordan (Percy Jackson series) called it, “Absolutely spellbinding... An unforgettable journey to be treasured and shared across generations.”


Major support and funding provided by the Carl E. Touhey Foundation.

Recent media

Kwame Alexander On The Book About Slavery He Was ‘Called To Write’ Forbes, Sept. 27, 2022

Kwame Alexander’s New Book About Slavery Focuses on Africa, Not America, New York Times, Sept. 22, 2022

Q&A with Kwame Alexander, Publishers Weekly, Sept. 22, 2022

Kwame Alexander's new book about slavery is 'Door of No Return', NPR's Morning Edition with Rachel Martin

About Kwame Alexander

Kwame Alexander is a poet, educator, and publisher whose other books include Swing, Becoming Muhammad Ali, co-authored with James Patterson, Rebound, which was shortlisted for prestigious UK Carnegie Medal. A regular contributor to NPR's Morning Edition, Kwame is the recipient of numerous awards, including The Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, The Coretta Scott King Author Honor, three NAACP Image Award Nominations, and the 2017 Inaugural Pat Conroy Legacy Award.


In 2018, he opened the Barbara E. Alexander Memorial Library and Health Clinic in Ghana, as a part of LEAP for Ghana, an international literacy program he co-founded. He is the writer and executive producer of "The Crossover" TV series on Disney+. 

Kwame Alexander, The Door of No Return

More praise for The Door of No Return

“Alexander lures you in and endears you to Kofi and his world in a way that has you fully invested in time and place...His writing is at once vivid and simple, lyrical and surgical, expressive and exacting, comforting and cutting. It hypnotizes and sobers, hypnotizes and sobers, in a rhythm as timeless as the talking drum that carries the tales of his people: Kum-PUM PUM! Kum-PUM PUM! I wish this book existed alongside Huckleberry Finn when I was in school. I am glad it exists now!” ―Lupita Nyong’o, Actress and Author

"Alexander turns the nightmare of the past into an epic story for all times and all people. The Door of No Return is a breathtaking, heartbreaking triumph and an instant classic."―Lev Grossman, New York Times bestselling author of The Magicians

“As I read The Door of No Return I kept thinking about how transformative it would have been to have had a book like this when I was young. This novel moves a devastating history beyond the realm of abstraction and fills our imaginations with characters who laugh, cry, love, learn, worry, and wonder. I will be thinking about this book for a long time. Kwame Alexander has given us a gift.”―Clint Smith, #1 New York Times bestselling author of How the Word Is Passed

“A riveting, not-to-be-missed trilogy opener that will leave readers invested in what is to come.” ― Kirkus Reviews

"Interweaving moments of joyful exuberance and heartbreaking sadness via sensate lines by turns sweet and stinging, Alexander’s sweeping novel conjures a captivating, resonant world of African tradition, life, and ancestral wisdom." ― Publishers Weekly

bottom of page