Mahogany L. Browne

Acclaimed Performance Poet
Visionary & Activist
NAACP Image Award Finalist

Readings &
Lecture Topics
  • Black Girl Magic
  • Limbs & Language: a generative writing workshop
  • Woke, and other ways to engage with your community
  • Poems as a form of resistance
  • An evening of Black Girl Magic
  • An Evening with Mahogany L. Browne

Biography

“Out of necessity, Mahogany L. Browne has become her own revolution: she is one of those people who sees things in the world that need to change and actually makes real moves to change them. While there can only ever really be one Mahogany L. Browne, we’d be very lucky to have more poets/humans who are as fiercely visionary, hardworking, and resourceful as her.” —Ploughshares

“A searing voice that commands attention.” —Dhonielle Clayton

Writer, organizer, vocalist, performance poet, and educator Mahogany L. Browne is the author of poetry and fiction. Her YA poetry book Black Girl Magic celebrates a black girlhood that is “free, unforgettable, and luminous” (School Library Journal), while her children’s book Woke Baby is for all the littlest progressives who grow up to change the world; both were published in 2018 by Roaring Brook/Macmillan. Her most recent books include the YA titles Vinyl Moon (Penguin Random House, 2021) and Chlorine Sky (Penguin Random House, 2021). Her poetry collections are Chrome Valley (W. W. Norton, 2023); I Remember Death By Its Proximity to What I Love (Haymarket Books, 2021); Kissing Caskets (YesYes Books, 2017); and the NAACP-nominated chapbook Redbone (Willow Books, 2016). Of Redbone, Ross Gay wrote: “What I may love most about Redbone is the way it strains formally, with syntax and diction, with voice and perspective, searching for the right space on the page to make of this complex family story which, like most family stories, is made of sweetness and plain old hurt a kind of bearable song. It’s such a moving act. Such a caring and true telling. Such a singing.”

Browne has co-edited the anthology The Breakbeat Poets Vol. 3: Black Girl Magic, declared by Dazed as “one of the most important volumes of poetry in recent years.” She is also the author of the the YA anthology WOKE: A Young Poets Guide To Justice (Roaring Brook Press, 2020), co-edited with Elizabeth Acevedo and Olivia Gatwood.

Born in Oakland, California, Browne dropped out of high school after being told not to write poetry during a English honors class. Using her personal experiences with addiction, racism, sexism and oppression to inspire her own brand of shameless authentic work, Browne’s performances create a platform for women and girls to feel empowered and heard.

She has a MFA in Writing and Activism from Pratt Institute, where she founded the Women Writers of Color Reading Room and became the director of the Black Lives Matter program. She is the publisher of Penmanship Books, curator of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe Friday Night Slam, and artistic director at Urban Word NYC (a non-profit youth literary organization). Browne is one of the founders of the socially active literary collective #BlackPoetsSpeakOut (with Amanda Johnston, Jonterri Gadson, Jericho Brown, and Sherina Rodriguez Sharpe), created out of urgency and as a response to the non-indictment of the Mike Brown’s murderer.

Her work has appeared in Poetry, Bustle, BET, Academy of American Poets, and other venues. She has also released five LPs, including a live album, Sheroshima. She received fellowships from All Arts, Arts for Justice, Air Serenbe, Baldwin for the Arts, Cave Canem, Hawthornden, Poets House, Mellon Research, Rauschenberg, Wesleyan University, & UCross. Browne has been featured in PBS NewsHour reading her poem “Black Girl Magic” and in HBO’s Brave New Voices. She has toured internationally as a member of Global Poetics, an international arts exchange.

Mahogany L. Browne is the founder of Woke Baby Book Fair, a traveling diverse reading campaign, and is the first-ever poet-in-residence at the Lincoln Center. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Short Bio

Mahogany L. Browne, a Kennedy Center’s Next 50 fellow, is a writer, playwright, organizer, & educator. Browne received fellowships from All Arts, Arts for Justice, Air Serenbe, Baldwin for the Arts, Cave Canem, Hawthornden, Poets House, Mellon Research, Rauschenberg, Wesleyan University, & UCross. Browne’s books include Vinyl Moon, Chlorine Sky (optioned for a play by Steppenwolf Theater), Black Girl Magic, and banned books Woke: A Young Poet’s Call to Justice and Woke Baby. Founder of the diverse lit initiative Woke Baby Book Fair, Browne currently tours Chrome Valley (highlighted in Publishers Weekly and The New York Times) and is the 2024 Paterson Poetry Prize winner. She holds an honorary Doctor of Philosophy degree awarded by Marymount Manhattan College in 2024, is the inaugural poet-in-residence at Lincoln Center, and is at work on her first adult fiction and fourth YA novel-in-verse in Brooklyn, NY.

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