Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Kalisha Buchanon  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction

Audience: Adult;

Born: 1977 in Kankakee, Illinois

-- Website --
-- Kalisha Buchanon on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Kalisha was born in Illinois.

Biographical and Professional Information

Kalisha received her BA from the University of Chicago, She has taught literacy and writing to children and adults in New York, Chicago and her home town of Kankakee, Illinois.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Upstate: A Novel
ISBN: 0312332696

St. Martin's Griffin. 2006

"Baby, the first thing I need to know from you is do you believe I killed my father?"

So begins Upstate, a powerful story told through letters between seventeen-year-old Antonio and his sixteen-year-old girlfriend, Natasha, set in the 1990's in New York. Antonio and Natasha's world is turned upside down, and their young love is put to the test, when Antonio finds himself in jail, accused of a shocking crime. Antonio fights to stay alive on the inside, while on the outside, Natasha faces choices that will change her life. Over the course of a decade, they share a desperate correspondence. Often, they have only each other to turn to as life takes them down separate paths and leaves them wondering if they will ever find their way back together.

Startling, real, and filled with raw emotion, Upstate is an unforgettable coming-of-age story with a message of undeniable hope. Brilliant and profoundly felt, it is destined to speak to a new generation of readers.

Conception: A Novel
ISBN: 031233270X

St. Martin's Press. 2008

In the same vein of Kalisha Buckhanon’s critically-acclaimed debut novel Upstate, again she shares an emotionally beautiful story about today’s youth that magnifies the unforgettable power of hope and the human spirit.

Buckhanon takes us to Chicago, 1992, and into the life of fifteen-year-old Shivana Montgomery, who believes all Black women wind up the same: single and raising children alone, like her mother. Until the sudden visit of her beautiful and free-spirited Aunt Jewel, Shivana spends her days desperately struggling to understand life and the growing pains of her environment. When she accidentally becomes pregnant by an older man and must decide what to do, she begins a journey towards adulthood with only a mysterious voice inside to guide her. When she falls in love with Rasul, a teenager with problems of his own, together they fight to rise above their circumstances and move toward a more positive future. Through the voice of the unborn child and a narrative sweeping from slavery onward, Buckhanon narrates Shivana’s connection to a past history of Black women who found themselves at the mercy of tragic circumstances.

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)

The author will speak by telephone, or Skype, with bloggers & book clubs. You can make requests at

Media Requests to

St. Martin's Press 175 Fifth Avenue New York, New York 10010 Email Phone 212.674.5151 Fax 212.674.6132