Lanre Akinsiku is the author of Blacktop Vol. 1-4 (Penguin Young Readers, 2016-2017), a young adult series which won recognition from the New York Public Library, Publishers Weekly, and the Junior Library Guild. His fiction and essays have appeared in NPR, the Washington Post, the Kenyon Review, Zocalo Public Square, Gawker, and elsewhere. He’s taught creative writing at Cornell University, Rowan University, and the University of Pennsylvania (Spring 2020), and regularly teaches creative writing workshops for kids and adults around the country. He holds an MFA in fiction from Cornell University, where he received a 2017 James McConkey Creative Writing Award and a 2017 Sampson Teaching Fellowship for Teaching Excellence. His forthcoming young adult novel will be published by HarperCollins in 2020.
YOUNG ADULT FICTION
BLACKTOP: JUSTIN. NEW YORK, NY: GROSSET AND DUNLAP.
Published June 7, 2016
Justin has a list of goals stashed under his mattress. Number 1 is "figure out life plans." Number 5 is "earn Zen Master rating in WoW." Nowhere on that list is "play the crew from Ghosttown," but that's the type of trouble that always seems to finds him.
The debut title from LJ Alonge's new basketball series pulses with action on and off the court. With wit, humor, and honesty, Justin unfolds over one hot summer.
(2017). Boomerang. The Kenyon Review.
(2017). Writing Past the White Gaze. NPR.
(2015). The Price of Blackness. Gawker.
(2012). Dribbling My Way to Acceptance. KCRW.
(2012). Namibia. Zocalo Public Square.
(2012). Zimbabwe. Zocalo Public Square.
UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA
Adjunct Instructor (January 2020 - June 2020)
Designed and facilitated upper-level creative writing course – titled “Breaking the Rules” – in which students will read and discuss literature that breaks the rules of conventional fiction by defying genre, mixing media, and troubling our understandings of “standard english.” Readings will include work by Ishmael Reed, George Saunders, Fran Ross, Karen Russell, Marlon James, and Lydia Davis, among others. The class will function as a kind of writing lab, a space where students will do weekly writing that challenges them to experiment with the content and form of their writing, and helps them develop their own writing aesthetic.
Adjunct Instructor (August 2019 - December 2019)
Facilitated upper-level creative writing course (Writing Children’s Stories) in which students learned how to use a variety of narrative techniques to write picture books and middle grade/young adult books; respond to novels and poems using a variety of critical/creative approaches; and lead discussion-based classes that allowed students to give constructive, in-depth feedback to their peers
Co-planned creative writing retreat for Writing Arts students
LEDA SUMMER INSTITUTE AT PRINCETON
Writing Instructor (June 2019 - December 2019)
Facilitated a college-level writing course for high-achieving high school students, with a focus on teaching college-level argumentation, multi-stage revision processes, and complex textual analysis
12 GATES ART GALLERY
Facilitator (October 2018 - December 2018)
Created syllabus and facilitated creative writing classes for adult writers with a range of creative writing experience
Guided critical discussions on race, class, gender, power and privilege in response to course readings, as well as discussions about textual connections between visual art and literature
Lecturer (August 2014 - May 2017)
Created syllabus and facilitated sophomore-level creative writing course in which students learned how to engage contemporary short stories and poems, with a particular focus on African-American and immigrant writing; use the techniques of fiction/narrative writing in their own creative work; and lead discussion-based classes that allowed students to give constructive, in-depth feedback to their peers
Created syllabus and facilitated multimedia, sophomore-level creative non-fiction course in which students learned how to cultivate an “authentic” writing voice, develop a writing revision-based writing process, engage in critical self-reflection – with particular attention to student experiences with race, class, gender and sexuality – and discuss these issues in an open and safe classroom environment