Full name: Zetta Elliott
Birth date: 1972—I’m a Scorpio
Location: Ajax, Ontario (just outside of Toronto)
I write across a number of genres: children’s literature, speculative fiction, poetry, plays, memoir.
WiP or most recently published work:
I just finished a MG novel called Muñecas, and am working on Judah’s Tale, a sequel to my YA novel, A Wish After Midnight.
My poetry has been published in the Cave Canem anthology, The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South, Check the Rhyme: an Anthology of Female Poets and Emcees, and Coloring Book: an Eclectic Anthology of Fiction and Poetry by Multicultural Writers. My novella, Plastique, was excerpted in T Dot Griots: an Anthology of Toronto’s Black Storytellers, and my essays have appeared in The Black Arts Quarterly, thirdspace, WarpLand and Rain and Thunder. I won the Honor Award in Lee & Low Books’ New Voices Contest, and my picture book, Bird, was published in October 2008. I’ve also self-published several books including A Wish After Midnight, Stranger in the Family, Three Plays, One-Act Plays, and Ten-Minute Plays.
How frequently do you update your site?
Usually every other day, though blogging can be a great way to procrastinate…
Is your site designed for reader interaction?
Not really, aside from the links I put in my posts, the videos on my sidebar, and the option to leave comments.
Post of note, something in particular you want readers to check out:
My open letter to the children’s publishing industry
100 words or less how would you describe your work?
I’m really interested in dramatic writing, so whether I’m writing a play or a novel or a poem, I try to make it vivid and compelling—a story told from a different point of view using an authentic, unusual voice. My work is fairly traditional when it comes to form, but I hope people find it daring nonetheless; I try to say things out loud that we otherwise might only whisper among ourselves.
100 words on less please share your thoughts on the writing life:
There’s no one way to be a writer. And there’s a difference between being a writer and being an author. As Toni Morrison pointed out, you need permission to be the latter, but not the former. I’d encourage everyone to find a way to tell your own story. Don’t wait for it to miraculously appear in someone else’s book. And writing can be its own reward; don’t do it for fame or fortune, because authentic stories often don’t sell and/or bring in a lot of money. But they’re still worth telling, and we can learn a lot about ourselves (and each other) but putting our truth down on the page (or the web!).
Thanks, Zetta. Check out Neesha Meminger's recent review of A Wish After Midnight and congratualtions to her for her Cybils nomination.