Ms. Shonda Buchanan

California, United States

Member Since: 05/02/2014

Pushcart Prize nominee, Oxfam Ambassador, USC Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities Fellow and City of Los Angeles (COLA) Department of Cultural Affairs Master Artist Fellow, Shonda Buchanan is the author of five books, including the award-winning memoir, Black Indian. Shonda is also a faculty member in Alma College’s MFA Program in Creative Writing.

An award-winning poet, fiction, nonfiction writer and educator, President of the Board of Trustees for Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center, Shonda is the recipient of the Brody Arts Fellowship from the California Community Foundation, a Big Read grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, several Virginia Foundation for the Humanities grants, the Denise L. Scott and Frank Sullivan Awards, and an Eloise Klein-Healy Scholarship. Consulting Curator Poet for The Broad Museum, Shonda is also a Sundance Institute Writing Arts fellow, a PEN Center Emerging Voices fellow and a Jentel Artist Residency fellow. Finalist for the 2021 Mississippi Review poetry contest, Shonda’s memoir, Black Indian, won the 2020 Indie New Generation Book Award and was chosen by PBS NewsHour as a "Top 20 books to read" to learn about institutional racism. Black Indian begins the saga of her family’s migration stories of Free People of Color communities exploring identity, ethnicity, landscape and loss. Her first collection of poetry, Who’s Afraid of Black Indians? was nominated for the Black Caucus of the American Library Association and the Library of Virginia Book Awards. 

An educator and journalist for over 25 years, founding Literary Editor of Harriet Tubman Press and an expert in African American and American Indian literature and culture, Shonda has freelanced for the Los Angeles Times, the LA Weekly, AWP’s The Writer’s Chronicle, Indian Country Today, Westways Magazine and The International Review of African American Art. Shonda is also published in Tab Journal, Inlandia Institute’s The Black Experience Anthology, the Mississippi Review, Urban Voices: 51 Poems from 51 American Poets, Black Renaissance/Renaissance Noire, Art Meets Literature: An Undying Love Affair, Phati’tude Literary Magazine, Red Ink, Strange Cargo: An Emerging Voices Anthology, Step into a World: A Global Anthology of New Black Literature, Arise! Magazine, Def Jam Poetry’s Bum Rush the Page, Geography of Rage: Remembering the Los Angeles Riots of 1992 and Rivendell. 

Education Specialist for the U.S. Department of State, consultant, grant and manuscript reviewer and/or judge for the Poetry Foundation, the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs and CavanKerry Press, Shonda has served as a judge for multiple writing contests including the Library of Virginia’s Poetry Book Awards, North Carolina Arts Council Poetry Fellowship, the George Floyd Youth Justice Poetry Contest, the Amanda Gorman Youth Poetry Contest, the Virginia Commission for the Arts Fiction Contest, the Metrorail Public Art Project Poetry Contest, NAACP ACT-SO Youth Poetry Contest, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards and the Creative Writing Youth Contest for the College Language Association. 

As a culture and literary arts ambassador and lecturer, Shonda has conducted workshops and presentations for the U.S. Government Accountability Organization, the U.S. Embassy of Brazil and Kuala Lumpur/U.S. Department of State, the Athens Institute for Education and Research in Athens, Greece, the Association of Writers & Writing Programs, Michigan Department of Education, California Poets in the Schools, the Hampton Roads Writers Conference (former Board member), the Poetry Society of Virginia (former Board member) and numerous others.  

In addition to her work as a literary activist, a teaching artist, diversity expert and a writing mentor, she has taught at Cal State Northridge and Mt. San Antonio College. Currently writing a Black Lives Matter book of poetry and a collection of poetry about the Mixed race settlers of Los Angeles, Shonda is also shopping her poetry book about Nina Simone. Engaged in the writer’s life, Shonda is also working on a novel, a Mixed race migration book, three screenplays and a second memoir about love, travel, spirituality and finding joy.

Former Interim Chair of the Department of English & Foreign Languages at Hampton University where she was an assistant professor for 13 years, Shonda Buchanan was the Fall 2017 Writer-in-Residence in the Department of English at William & Mary College. 

A national and international lecturer and workshop leader, Shonda received an MFA from Antioch University, and a MA and BA in English from Loyola Marymount University where she currently teaches as a Writing Instructor in the First Year Seminar Program and a Senior Lecturer in the African American Studies Department. Shonda is also a founding board member of the African American Alumni Association at Loyola Marymount University.

Descendant of African nations, Coharie, Choctaw and Eastern Band Cherokee and Europeans, Shonda lives and writes in Los Angeles on Tongva and Chumash lands. 

 For more information, visit, follow @shondabuchanan and sign up for her newsletter, For bookings, contact Shonda via

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Twitter Username: @shondabuchanan


  • Black Indian: A Memoir , Wayne State University Press (September 1, 2019)
  • Equipoise: Poems from Goddess Country , San Francisco Bay Press (July 15, 2017)
  • Who's Afraid of Black Indians? , Poetica Publishers (February 1, 2012)
  • Voices from Leimert Park Redux , Harriet Tubman Press (August 1, 2017)
  • Voices from Leimert Park , T'sehai Publishers (April 1, 2006)


  • Professor at Loyola Marymount University (August 2018 - )
  • Faculty Member at Alma College's MFA Program in Creative Writing (December 2022 - )


  • Bachelor of Arts in English from Loyola Marymount University (May 1997)
  • Master of Arts in English from Loyola Marymount University (December 2003)
  • Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Antioch University (June 2010)

Genres of Interest

Fiction, Creative nonfiction, Screenwriting, Children's literature , Poetry