Alicia D. Williams Award-winning author, teacher, and lover of chunky guacamole and good stories!

About the Author

Alicia D. Williams is an award-winning author of books that offer understanding, empathy, hope, and inspiration. The New York Times praised Genesis Begins Again as a “stunning debut novel… reminiscent of Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye,” and it received the Newbery Honor, Coretta Scott King-John Steptoe Award for New Talent, Kirkus Prize Finalist, and William C. Morris Prize Finalist Awards. It also appeared on numerous ‘best-of’ lists, choice awards, and Battle of the Books.

Her newest book Mid-Air is tells the story of how a tender-souled boy reeling from the death of his best friend struggles to fit into a world that wants him to grow up tough and unfeeling. Williams’ picture books, Jump at the Sun: The True Life Tale of Unstoppable Storycatcher Zora Neale Hurston and Shirley Chisholm Dared: The Story of the First Black Woman in Congress, have been greeted with starred reviews, with the latter winning the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award. Williams’ latest work, The Talk, earned both a Coretta Scott King Honor and Golden Kite Honor Awards.

Did we say drama? Why yes, Williams graduated from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York. She’s performed in commercials, off-off Broadway, a stint of sketch and stand-up comedy, and the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte. She also wrote a play, I Sing My Sister’s Song, which was read at the prestigious Columbia University.

Williams is a highly acclaimed storyteller of folktales and a writer and star of one-woman shows such as A Time to Remember, where she reenacts historical figures and events. She was also commissioned by the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library to present The Mourner’s Bench: The Story of Margaret Garner. These roles prepared Williams to record the audiobook for Genesis Begins Again, which was an Audie Awards Finalist.

As a keynote speaker, Williams loves to speak on themes such as the power of storytelling, finding your purpose, on becoming a writer, and mining your life for stories. Her love for education stems from conducting school residencies as a Master Teaching Artist of arts-integration. She infuses her passion for drama, movement, and storytelling to inspire students to write.

And like other great storytellers, she made the leap into writing–and well, her story continues. Williams loves laughing, traveling, and Wonder Woman. Alicia D. Williams has been featured in media outlets such as NPR, QC Nerve, The Charlotte Observer, and Smithsonian Folklife Magazine.


Suggested Topics

  • Genesis Begins Again
  • Jump at the Sun
  • Colorism 
  • Representation in kid-lit
  • The role of oral storytelling in African American culture

Raves and Reviews

Praise for Mid-Air

In lovely verse, Williams tells a powerful story of a young teenager struggling in the wake of a friend’s death. Isaiah’s fear is palpable and very relatable to those with a habit of freezing in stressful situations. Observing him overcome his fears, both of risky stunts and of showing people his true self, is incredibly empowering. This novel also skillfully deals with issues of absent fathers, friendship changes, and prejudice. Interspersed are Novgorodoff’s beautiful watercolor illustrations that perfectly complement the story. All characters read as Black. VERDICT A quietly stunning novel in verse about grief and learning to accept yourself. Recommended for all middle grade collections.”

– School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW, 3/1/24

Williams’ book, written in verse and adorned with vivid illustrations, portrays an accurate depiction of Black boyhood. This compelling novel, full of vulnerability and hope, is a must-read.”

– Booklist, STARRED Review, 2/15/24

Be like water,” Isaiah says. “Always,” Darius replies. These are the final words the boys say to each other before Darius takes off on his bicycle to break the Guinness world record for a wheelie. Isaiah is in charge of watching for cars, but a chaotic, unexpected confrontation ends with a tragic fatal accident. Williams (Genesis Begins Again, rev. 1/19) handles the sensitive topics of death, grief, racism, violence, and racial and gender expression with care, making sure the narrative doesn’t become overly dark and heavy. The novel’s focus on Isaiah’s inner world allows readers to witness the evolution of a thirteen-year-old Black boy dealing with life-altering events, navigating challenging relationships with friends and family and, finally, feeling comfortable enough to reveal his full self in the process.”

– HornBook, STARRED REVIEW, May/June Issue

Pastoral features such as expressive b&w illustrations by Novgorodoff (Long Way Down) and clear, accessible verse by Williams (Genesis Begins Again) skillfully juxtapose larger, heavier examinations of grief, identity, mental health, and racism, making for a heartfelt novel about an unmoored child seeking strength and self-forgiveness.”

– Publishers Weekly, 1/22/24

Black boy joy, hurt, anxiety, and perseverance relayed with charm.”

– Kirkus Reviews, 2/15/24


Praise for Jump at the Sun

A lively, joyfully rendered portrait of a literary legend.”
– Publishers Weekly, starred review

Williams’ narration is a readaloud dream….it will be a joyful guide for folklore enthusiasts”
– BCCB, starred review

This introduction to an American icon feels just right.”
Kirkus Reviews, starred review

A welcome addition to any picture book biography collection”
– School Library Journal, STARRED review


Praise for Genesis Begins Again

Reminiscent of Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye.”
— The New York Times

One of the best books I have ever read…will live in the hearts of readers for the rest of their lives.”
— Colby Sharp, founder of Nerdy Book Club

An emotional, painful, yet still hopeful adolescent journey…one that needed telling.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

I really loved this.”
Sharon M. Draper, author of the New York Times bestseller Out of My Mind

In the Media



Books by Alicia D. Williams

Genesis Begins Again
Jump at the Sun
La charla (The Talk)
Shirley Chisholm Dared

Contact Us

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