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Speaking with Spoken Word Artist & Activist, Joy Elan

Joy Elan began writing when she was a child. She loved literature from a young age and knew that she would, one day, become a writer. Elan was also born with hearing loss which resulted in her wearing hearing aids since she was 15 months old. She graduated from UC Berkeley with a BA in African American Studies and then went on to get her Master's Degree in Education from Stanford University, all the while facing down and surmounting the obstacles she faced with her disability. Elan has become skilled with a pen and believes that words have power. Whether they are spoken or written, with that power comes responsibility.

Elan advocates for the rights of people of color, women, and people with disabilities all through the power of the pen. Her poems and novels speak of issues which impact people both locally and globally. In my correspondence with Elan, she wrote, "It is great to have a literary platform to speak and reach people in ways I never thought I could." And she, truly, does utilize her platform in powerful and informative ways. She had been involved with the publishing of 6 books, all related to issues of social justice.

Elan was introduced to the Soulful Chicago Book Fair through the African American Book Club and decided to get involved because of her belief in the importance to "travel to other places to meet new readers and celebrate their community." She will be flying all the way from Oakland California to share her written works and her performing prowess with Chicago.

If you'd like to learn more about Elan, come out to the book fair, this Sunday, July 16th to hear her performance!

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