Award-winning writer speaks at Penn State

Story posted February 9, 2023 in CommRadio, News by Alison Patton

STATE COLLEGE, Pa.—The Penn State Black Student Caucus hosted the Pioneering Black History Through Writing event with guest speaker Kwame Alexander on Tuesday in the HUB-Robenson Center.

Alexander has written 37 books, including the award-winning book “The Crossover”.

Before the event began, Alexander mentioned being nervous about speaking in front of the small auditorium of students, staff and community members.

“I’m nervous, but I’m nervous all the time. My goal is to not just inform, but to inspire. So, I am just trying to figure out how I am going to inspire—what am I going to say that will hopefully impact you all,” Alexander said.

Once the event began, Alexander discussed the lack of success he had with getting his career kicked off. He struggled to get his book “The Crossover” published through a company, so he self-published it instead.

The book won the Newbery award, which gives honors to children’s literature.

The event rounded out with a question panel led by the event’s hosts before finishing off with audience questions.
Audience member Ish Sesay said Alexander’s stories left a lasting impression.

“It really made me think about my life and society. It made me think about how I am going about society and how I … and based off my goals and. It was very poetic. I know that sounds cliché, but I really enjoyed it. I really liked his work,” Sesay said.

“The Crossover” is coming to Disney Plus this year and Alexander is a screenwriter for the show.

Alison Patton is a second-year student majoring in broadcast journalism. You can email her at