General Session & All-Attendee Event Speakers
At NCTE’s first-ever virtual Annual Convention you’ll have the opportunity to hear from inspiring speakers who care about literacy as much as you do. The art of teaching and learning writing, reading, speaking, and listening is multifaceted, complex, and rich with possibility. That’s why each year we select keynote speakers who bring a range of perspectives to the mic: 2020 is no exception. We’re thrilled to share this stellar lineup with you.
Stay tuned for more announcements in the coming months. #NCTE20 will feature various prominent authors who will speak, motivate, and inspire us in these trying times. Times listed for Live and Scheduled Sessions are in Eastern Time.
Andrea Davis Pinkney
Saturday, November 21 | 7:00-9:00 pm ET
Author, Martin Rising: Requiem For a King
Trevor NoahThursday, November 19 | 6:00-7:15 pm ET
Trevor Noah is the host of the Emmy® and Peabody® Award-winning The Daily Show on Comedy Central. He is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, which received the Thurber Prize for American Humor and two NAACP Image Awards. The Audible edition of Born a Crime, performed by Trevor, remains one of the top-selling and highest-rated Audible performances of all time. To date, Born a Crime has sold more than 1 million copies across all formats.
In 2020, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah received six Primetime Emmy nominations, including Outstanding Variety Talk Series. He has written, produced, and starred in eleven comedy specials, most recently including the Netflix special Son of Patricia, for which he also received a Grammy nomination for Best Comedy Album.
Trevor’s stand-up success has spanned to sold-out shows across five continents. He hosts the Webby Award-winning podcast series On Second Thought: The Trevor Noah Podcast, exclusively on Luminary. In April 2018, he launched The Trevor Noah Foundation, a youth development initiative that enhances youth preparedness for higher education or entry into the workforce.
Kali Fajardo-AnstineFriday, November 20 | 8:00-9:15 pm ET
Kali Fajardo-Anstine is from Denver, Colorado. Her fiction has appeared in The American Scholar, Boston Review, Bellevue Literary Review, The Idaho Review, Southwestern American Literature, and elsewhere. Fajardo-Anstine has received fellowships from MacDowell Colony, the Corporation of Yaddo, and Hedgebrook. She received her Master of Fine Arts from the University of Wyoming and has lived across the country, from Durango, Colorado, to Key West, Florida.
Juan Felipe HerreraFriday, November 20 | 8:00-9:15 pm ET
Juan Felipe Herrera is the 21st Poet Laureate of the United States (2015–2016) and the first Latino to hold the position. From 2012 to 2014, Herrera served as California State Poet Laureate. Herrera’s many collections of poetry include Every Day We Get More Illegal; Notes on the Assemblage; Senegal Taxi; Half of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems, which received the PEN/Beyond Margins Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award; 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can’t Cross The Border: Undocuments 1971–2007; and Crashboomlove: A Novel in Verse, which received the Americas Award. His books of prose for children include SkateFate; Calling the Doves, which won the Ezra Jack Keats Award; Upside Down Boy, which was adapted into a musical for young audiences in New York City; Cinnamon Girl: Letters Found Inside a Cereal Box; and Jabberwalking, which won an International Latino Book Award. His nonfiction work Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes was a 2015 Pura Belpré Author Honor Book. Herrera is also a performance artist and activist on behalf of migrant and indigenous communities and at-risk youth.
Joy HarjoSaturday, November 21 | 11:00 am-12:15 pm ET
Joy Harjo’s nine books of poetry include An American Sunrise, Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings, How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems, and She Had Some Horses. Harjo’s memoir Crazy Brave won several awards, including the PEN USA Literary Award for Creative Non-Fiction and the American Book Award. She is the recipient of the Ruth Lilly Prize from the Poetry Foundation for Lifetime Achievement, the 2015 Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets for proven mastery in the art of poetry, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America, and the United States Artist Fellowship. Harjo’s latest is a book of poetry from Norton, An American Sunrise.
Andrea Davis PinkneySaturday, November 21 | 7:00-9:00 pm ET
Andrea Davis Pinkney has had an illustrious thirty-year career in various facets of the publishing industry. Pinkney is the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of numerous books for children and young adults, including Martin Rising: Requiem for a King, The Red Pencil, and Rhythm Ride: A Trip through the Motown Sound. Her work has garnered multiple Coretta Scott King Book Awards, the Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor, and the Parenting Publications gold medal, among other citations. She is a four-time NAACP Image Award nominee, and recipient of both the Regina Medal and the Arbuthnot Honor Award, for her singular body of work and distinguished contribution to the field of children’s literature. Additionally, she has served in a variety of leadership and executive roles, including her current role as vice president and executive editor at Scholastic, where she has served since 2005.
Patrisse Khan-CullorsSunday, November 22 | 12:00-1:30 pm ET
Patrisse Khan-Cullors is an artist, organizer, and freedom fighter from Los Angeles, California. Cofounder of the Black Lives Matter Global Network and founder of the Los Angeles-based grassroots organization Dignity and Power Now, she is also a performance artist, Fulbright scholar, popular public speaker, and a Sydney Peace Prize recipient. For 20 years, Khan-Cullors has been on the frontlines of criminal justice reform, and is currently leading Reform L.A. Jails, a ballot initiative that was won in March 2020. She is currently the faculty director of Prescott College’s new Social and Environmental Arts Practice MFA program, which she developed by nesting a curriculum focused on the intersection of art, social justice, and community organizing that is first of its kind in the nation. Khan-Cullors is also the author of the instant New York Times bestseller, When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir, with asha bandele.
Jeff ChangSunday, November 22 | 12:00-1:30 pm ET
Jeff Chang has been a hip-hop journalist for more than a decade and has written for The San Francisco Chronicle, The Village Voice, Vibe, The Nation, URB, Rap Pages, Spin, and Mother Jones. He was a founding editor of Colorlines Magazine, senior editor at Russell Simmons’s 360hiphop.com, and cofounder of the influential hip-hip label SoleSides, now Quannum Projects. He was also previously the executive director of the Institute for Diversity in the Arts at Stanford University. He is the coauthor of the forthcoming young adult adaptation of Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation. He lives in California.
Jeff Chang will interview Patrisse Kahn-Cullors during the Sunday General Session
Keynote speakers will speak during our traditional meal function times (breakfasts and luncheons). This year these events are included in your convention registration and do not require a ticket and additional fee.
Friday, November 20 | 12:30-2:00 pm ET
Author, Sigh, Gone: A Misfit's Memoir of Great Books, Punk Rock, and the Fight to Fit In
Sunday, November 22 | 9:00-10:15 am ET
National Ambassador for Young People's Literature
Aida SalazarFriday, November 20 | 12:30-2:00 pm ET
Aida Salazar is an award-winning author and arts activist whose writings for adults and children explore issues of identity and social justice. She is the author of the middle-grade verse novels, The Moon Within (International Latino Book Award Winner), The Land of the Cranes (Fall 2020), and the biographical picture book, Jovita Wore Pants: The Story of a Revolutionary Fighter (Spring 2021), all published by Scholastic. She is slated to coedit, with Yamile Saied Méndez, Calling the Moon: A Middle Grade Anthology on Menstruation by Writers of Color (Candlewick Press 2022). She is a founding member of Las Musas, a Latinx kidlit debut author collective. Her story, By the Light of the Moon, was adapted into a ballet production by the Sonoma Conservatory of Dance and is the first Xicana-themed ballet in history. She lives with her family of artists in a teal house in Oakland, California.
Phuc TranFriday, November 20 | 12:30-2:00 pm ET
Phuc Tran has been a high school Latin teacher for more than twenty years, while simultaneously establishing himself as a highly sought-after tattoo artist in the Northeast. Tran graduated Bard College in 1995 with a BA in Classics and received the Callanan Classics Prize. He taught Latin, Greek, and Sanskrit in New York at the Collegiate School and was an instructor at Brooklyn College’s Summer Latin Institute. Most recently, he taught Latin, Greek, and German at the Waynflete School in Portland, Maine. His 2012 TEDx talk “Grammar, Identity, and the Dark Side of the Subjunctive” was featured on NPR’s Ted Radio Hour. He has also been an occasional guest on Maine Public Radio, discussing grammar, classic literature, and Strunk and White’s legacy. He currently tattoos at and owns Tsunami Tattoo in Portland, Maine, where he lives with his family. He is the author of a memoir, Sigh, Gone: A Misfit’s Memoir of Great Books, Punk Rock, and the Fight to Fit In.
Angie ThomasSaturday, November 21 | 9:30-10:45 am ET
Angie Thomas was born, raised, and still resides in Jackson, Mississippi, as indicated by her accent. She is a former teen rapper whose greatest accomplishment was an article about her in Right-On Magazine with a picture included. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Belhaven University and an unofficial degree in hip-hop. She can also still rap if needed. She is an inaugural winner of the Walter Dean Myers Grant 2015, awarded by We Need Diverse Books (diversebooks.org). Her award-winning, acclaimed debut novel, The Hate U Give, is a #1 New York Times bestseller and a major motion picture from Fox 2000, starring Amandla Stenberg and directed by George Tillman, Jr. Her second novel, On the Come Up, is on sale now.
Chanel MillerSaturday, November 21 | 12:30-2:00 pm ET
Chanel Miller is a writer and artist who received her Bachelor of Arts in Literature from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her critically acclaimed memoir, Know My Name, was a New York Times bestseller, a New York Times Book Review Notable Book, and a National Book Critics Circle Award winner, as well as a best book of 2019 in Time, The Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, NPR, and People, among others. She is a 2019 Time Next 100 honoree and a 2016 Glamour Woman of the Year honoree under her pseudonym, “Emily Doe.”
Jerry PinkneySaturday, November 21 | 12:30-2:00 pm ET
Jerry Pinkney is the illustrator of the 2020 Orbis Pictus Award winner, A Place to Land: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Speech That Inspired a Nation. The legendary author’s and illustrator’s many accolades include the Caldecott Medal, five Coretta Scott King Awards, five Coretta Scott King Honor Awards, four New York Times Best Illustrated Books, and four gold medals from the Society of Illustrators. He served on the National Council of the Arts, is a trustee emeritus of the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, and has taught at the Pratt Institute, the University of Delaware, and the University of Buffalo. He lives in Westchester, New York.
Kate & Jol TempleSaturday, November 21 | 12:30-2:00 pm ET
Kate and Jol Temple are internationally awarded children’s authors whose books have been translated into more than 20 languages. Their recent picture book, Room on Our Rock, is an allegory about empathy and refugees. It can be read front-to-back or back-to-front for two different perspectives. The book received the NCTE Charlotte Huck Award for outstanding fiction with the potential to transform children’s lives. It was also listed as a Notable Books for a Global Society by the Children’s Literature and Reading Special Interest Group of the International Literacy Association; named a Notable Children’s Book in the Language Arts by the Children’s Literature Assembly; and selected for the ILA 2020 Teachers’ Choices Reading List.
Kate and Jol live in Sydney, Australia, with their two sons. They regularly visit schools and writers’ festivals to discuss ideas with young readers and writers. When they’re not writing, Kate pretends to play the piano and Jol makes little egg-carton shelters for his Star Wars characters.
Barry WittensteinSaturday, November 21 | 12:30-2:00 pm ET
Barry Wittenstein is the author of A Place to Land: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Speech That Inspired a Nation, winner of the 2020 Orbis Pictus Award. He has written several picture books, including Waiting for Pumpsie and The Boo-Boos That Changed the World: A True Story about an Accidental Invention (Really!). Barry lives in New York City.
Jason ReynoldsSunday, November 22 | 9:00-10:15 am ET
Jason Reynolds is a #1 New York Times bestselling author, a Newbery Award Honoree, a Printz Award Honoree, a two-time National Book Award finalist, a Kirkus Award winner, a two-time Walter Dean Myers Award winner, an NAACP Image Award winner, and the recipient of multiple Coretta Scott King honors. Reynolds is also the 2020–2021 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. His many books include When I Was the Greatest, The Boy in the Black Suit, All American Boys (cowritten with Brendan Kiely), As Brave as You, For Every One, the Track series (Ghost, Patina, Sunny, and Lu), Look Both Ways, and Long Way Down, which received a Newbery Honor, a Printz Honor, and a Coretta Scott King Honor. He lives in Washington, DC. You can find his ramblings at JasonWritesBooks.com.
Valerie KinlochSunday, November 22 | 10:30-11:45 am ET
NCTE President-Elect Valerie Kinloch currently holds the positions of Renée and Richard Goldman dean and professor, School of Education, University of Pittsburgh; executive member, AERA Consortium of University and Research Institutions; and co-chair, Remake Learning Council. Prior to assuming the deanship at the University of Pittsburgh, Kinloch served as professor of literacy studies, associate dean, Ohio State University; assistant professor, literacy studies, Teachers College-Columbia University.
Ebony FlowersSunday, November 22 | 10:30-11:45 am ET
Ebony is a cartoonist and an ethnographer. She was born and raised in Maryland. She holds a BA in Biological Anthropology from the University of Maryland College Park and a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she wrote her dissertation as a comic (mostly). Her expertise is in qualitative research and evaluation, picture-based methods, curriculum studies, and S.T.E.A.M. education. Ebony is a 2017 Rona Jaffe Award recipient, a 2019 Ignatz Award recipient for Promising New Talent, and a 2020 Believer Award recipient for Fiction. She was also nominated for a 2020 NAACP Image Award for Literacy (Young Adult Fiction). She lives in Denver, CO.
Thursday, November 19 | 7:30–8:30 p.m. ET
Founder, Center for the Education and Equity of African American Students
Gloria BoutteThursday, November 19 | 7:30–8:30 p.m. ET
Gloria Boutte is a Carolina Distinguished Professor at the University of South Carolina. Her scholarship and teaching focus on equity pedagogies. Boutte has authored/edited African Diaspora Literacy: The Heart of Transformation in K–12 Schools and Teacher Education (2019 AESA Critics Choice Award), Educating African American Students: And How Are the Children?; Resounding Voices: School Experiences of People from Diverse Ethnic Backgrounds; and Multicultural Education: Raising Consciousness. She has received prestigious Fulbright Scholar and Fulbright Specialist awards. She is the founder of the Center for the Education and Equity of African American Students.
Kimberly N. ParkerThursday, November 19 | 7:30–8:30 p.m. ET
Kimberly N. Parker currently prepares preservice teachers as the assistant director of the Teacher Training Center at Shady Hill School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Parker taught in public schools, universities, and graduate schools for 18 years, and served on several committees for the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and the New England Association of Teachers of English (NEATE). As a Heinemann Fellow (2016–2018), Parker documented her successful work detracking her English language arts classroom for students of color. Her continuing scholarship is focused on the literacy lives of Black youth, particularly of Black boys. She is a cofounder of #DisruptTexts. She can be found on Twitter at @TchKimpossible.
Jerry CraftThursday, November 19 | 7:30–8:30 p.m. ET
Jerry Craft is the New York Times bestselling author and illustrator of the graphic novels New Kid and Class Act. New Kid is the winner of both the 2020 John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature and the Kirkus Prize for Young Readers’ Literature. He was also awarded the Coretta Scott King Author Award for the most outstanding work by an African American writer. He was born in Harlem, grew up in New York City, and currently lives in Connecticut with his two sons and two beagles.
Tiffany D. JacksonThursday, November 19 | 7:30–8:30 p.m. ET
Tiffany D. Jackson is the critically acclaimed author of young adult novels, including the Coretta Scott King–John Steptoe New Talent Award-winning Monday’s Not Coming, the NAACP Image Award-nominated Allegedly, Let Me Hear a Rhyme, and her 2020 title GROWN. She received her bachelor of arts in film from Howard University and her master of arts in media studies from the New School. She has over a decade in TV/film experience. The Brooklyn native is a lover of naps, cookie dough, and beaches, currently residing in the borough she loves, most likely multitasking.
justin a. reynoldsThursday, November 19 | 7:30–8:30 p.m. ET
justin a. reynolds has always wanted to be a writer. The earliest documentation of this desire was recorded on a sheet of green kindergarten paper, which can be found prominently displayed in his mom’s office. Opposite of Always, his debut novel, was an Indies Introduce Top Ten Debut, a School Library Journal Best Book of 2019, translated in 17 languages, and is being developed for film with Paramount Players. Prior to his writing career, justin worked as a registered nurse in hematology, oncology, and orthopedics. He resides in northeast Ohio with his family, and enjoys sports and dancing terribly.
Julia E. TorresThursday, November 19 | 7:30–8:30 p.m. ET
Julia E. Torres is a veteran language arts teacher and librarian in Denver, Colorado. Julia facilitates teacher development workshops rooted in the areas of antiracist education, equity and access in literacy and librarianship, and education as a practice of liberation. Julia works with students and teachers locally and around the country with the goal of empowering them to use literacy to fuel resistance and positive social transformation. Julia also serves on several local and national boards and committees promoting educational equity and progressivism. She is the current NCTE Secondary Representative-at-Large, an Educolor Collective steering committee member, a Book Love Foundation board member, and an Educator Collaborative Book Ambassador.
Eric VelasquezThursday, November 19 | 7:30–8:30 p.m. ET
Illustrator Eric Velasquez was born and grew up in Spanish Harlem. He earned his BFA from the School of Visual Arts and has been illustrating for over 30 years. Among his more than 30 children’s books, his first picture book The Piano Man, written by Debbie Chocolate, won the Coretta Scott King – John Steptoe Award for New Talent. In 2010 Eric was awarded an NAACP Image award for his work in Our Children Can Soar—a collaboration with twelve notable children’s book illustrators. Eric also wrote and illustrated Grandma’s Records and its follow-up Grandma’s Gift, which won the 2011 Pura Belpre’ Award for illustration and was nominated for a 2011 NAACP Image Award. His newest illustrated books are Ruth Objects: The life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Doreen Rappaport, Strong Voices Fifteen American Speeches Worth Knowing, with introductions by Tonya Bolden, and She Was The First: The Trailblazing Life of Shirley Chisholm by Katheryn Russell-Brown. Eric Velasquez lives and works in New York and teaches book illustration at the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC. For more information please visit his website EricVelasquez.com.
Reneé WatsonThursday, November 19 | 7:30–8:30 p.m. ET
Renée Watson is a New York Times bestselling author. Her young adult novel, Piecing Me Together (Bloomsbury, 2017) received a Coretta Scott King Award and Newbery Honor. Her children’s picture books and novels for teens have received several awards and international recognition. She has given readings and lectures at many renowned places including the United Nations, the Library of Congress, and the US Embassy in Japan. Her articles on teaching and arts education have been published in Rethinking Schools and Oregon English Journal. Renée grew up in Portland, Oregon, and currently lives in New York City.
Tobi JacobiSaturday, November 21 | 12:30-1:45 p.m. ET
Tobi Jacobi is a professor of English and director of the University Composition Program and the Community Literacy Center at Colorado State University. She coordinates the SpeakOut! Writing Workshop Program for community writers working from spaces of confinement and recovery. Her scholarship on prison literacy and community writing appears in journals such as Reflections, Community Literacy Journal, The Journal of Correctional Education, Feminist Formations, and Radical Teacher and in edited collections. Her coedited book Women, Writing, and Prison came out in 2014; she is currently working on a collaborative literacy remix project that blends contemporary pedagogy with archival prison texts.
John TiedemannSaturday, November 21 | 12:30-1:45 p.m. ET
John Tiedemann is an associate professor at the University of Denver, where he teaches in the University Writing Program. For eight years, he served as faculty director of the Social Justice Living and Learning Community. In 2007, he cofounded the DU Community Writing Center, with locations in the Saint Francis Center and The Gathering Place, two daytime shelters for the homeless.
Veronica HouseSaturday, November 21 | 12:30-1:45 p.m. ET
Veronica House founded the Conference on Community Writing in 2015 and launched the Coalition for Community Writing in 2018. She is faculty in the Program for Writing and Rhetoric at the University of Colorado Boulder and founded CU’s Writing Initiative for Service and Engagement program—the first community-engaged Writing and Rhetoric courses for first-year students—which was awarded the Campus Compact of the Mountain West’s Engaged Program Award. She has worked with faculty at colleges and universities across the country to design community-engaged courses and programs. Veronica is the author of Medea’s Chorus: Myth and Women’s Poetry Since 1950 (2014) and coeditor of the Community Literacy Journal. She has received numerous teaching awards, including Campus Compact’s Engaged Scholar Award; University of Colorado’s Women Who Make A Difference Award; and her writing program’s Award for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching. Her recent teaching, community work, and scholarship focus on food localization, critical food literacy, environmental communication, and institutionalization of community-engaged pedagogy.