Safia Elhillo is the author of The January Children (University of Nebraska Press, 2017), which received the 2016 Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets and a 2018 Arab American Book Award, and the chapbook The Life and Times of Susie Knuckles (2012). With Fatimah Asghar, she is co-editor of the anthology Halal If You Hear Me (Haymarket Books, forthcoming 2019).
Sudanese by way of Washington, DC, Elhillo earned a BA from NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study and an MFA in poetry at the New School. Her work has appeared in several journals and anthologies, including The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop (2015) and Women of Resistance: Poems for a New Feminism (2018).
Elhillo was a founding member of Slam NYU, the 2012 and 2013 national collegiate championship team, and was a three-time member and former coach of the DC Youth Slam Poetry team. Her work has been translated into several languages and commissioned by Under Armour and the Bavarian State Ballet. A Cave Canem fellow, she is the co-winner of the the 2015 Brunel International African Poetry Prize, and has been listed in Forbes Africa's "30 Under 30." In 2018, Elhillo was awarded a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation.