Maya Houston


Aya de León directs the Poetry for the People program in the African American Studies Department at UC Berkeley. Kensington Books publishes her award-winning feminist heist series, which includes SIDE CHICK NATION (2019), the first novel published about Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Aya’s first children’s chapter book, EQUALITY GIRLS AND THE PURPLE REFLECTO-RAY (2020), is about a girl who uses her superpowers to confront the president’s sexism. This winter, Kensington will publish A SPY IN THE STRUGGLE, about FBI infiltration of an African American eco-racial justice organization. Aya’s work has also appeared in Ebony, Guernica, Writers Digest, VICE, The Root, Ploughshares, and on Def Poetry. She is a regular contributor to Mutha and Bitch Magazines.

Aya is at work on several projects, including an African American/Indigenous middle grade time travel novel. Her other project of contemporary realistic fiction is GOING DARK, a young adult Black/Latina spy girl series in which some of the books are heavily influenced by comic book and gaming culture. Aya is an alumna of Cave Canem and VONA. Visit her online at, on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, where she writes about race, class, gender, culture and climate action.

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