Naomi Shihab Nye
Award-winning Palestinian-American Poet,
Writer, Anthologist, and Educator
Naomi Shihab Nye describes herself as a “wandering poet.” She has spent 37 years traveling the country and the world to lead writing workshops and inspiring students of all ages. Nye was born to a Palestinian father and an American mother and grew up in St. Louis, Jerusalem, and San Antonio. Drawing on her Palestinian-American heritage, the cultural diversity of her home in Texas, and her experiences traveling in Asia, Europe, Canada, Mexico, Central and South America and the Middle East, Nye uses her writing to attest to our shared humanity.
Naomi Shihab Nye is the author and/or editor of more than 30 volumes. Her books of poetry include 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East , A Maze Me: Poems for Girls, Red Suitcase, Words Under the Words, Fuel, and You & Yours (a best-selling poetry book of 2006). She is also the author of Mint Snowball, Never in a Hurry, I’ll Ask You Three Times, Are you Okay? Tales of Driving and Being Driven (essays); Habibi and Going Going (novels for young readers); and Baby Radar and Sitti's Secrets (picture books). Other works include eight prize-winning poetry anthologies for young readers, including Time You Let Me In, This Same Sky, The Space Between Our Footsteps: Poems & Paintings from the Middle East, and What Have You Lost? Her collection of poems for young adults entitled Honeybee won the 2008 Arab American Book Award in the Children’s/Young Adult category. Fall of 2011 saw the publication of two new books, There Is No Long Distance Now (a collection of very short stories) and Transfer (poems).
Naomi Shihab Nye has been a Lannan Fellow, a Guggenheim Fellow, and a Witter Bynner Fellow (Library of Congress). She has received a Lavan Award from the Academy of American Poets, the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award, the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, the Paterson Poetry Prize, four Pushcart Prizes, and numerous honors for her children’s literature, including two Jane Addams Children’s Book Awards. . In 2011 Nye won the Golden Rose Award given by the New England Poetry Club, the oldest poetry reading series in the country. Her collection 19 Varieties of Gazelle was a finalist for the National Book Award. She is a regular columnist for Organica. Her work has been presented on National Public Radio on A Prairie Home Companion and The Writer’s Almanac. She has been featured on two PBS poetry specials: “The Language of Life with Bill Moyers” and “The United States of Poetry” and also appeared on NOW with Bill Moyers. She has been visiting writer for full semesters for The Michener Center for writers at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Hawai’I at Manoa. In January 2010 Nye was elected to the Board of Chancellors of the Academy of American Poets. In October 2012 she was named laureate of the 2013 NSK Prize for Children’s Literature.
"In the current literary scene, one of the most heartening influences is the work of Naomi Shihab Nye. Her poems combine transcendent liveliness and sparkle along with warmth and human insight. She is a champion of the literature of encouragement and heart. Reading her work enhances life."— William Stafford
"Naomi Shihab Nye breathes poetry like the rest of us breathe air. When she exhales, the world becomes different. Better.— The Grand Rapids Press