Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Sandra Jackson-Opoku  

Pen Name: None

Genre: C:ADULT Fiction Poetry

Born: 1953 in Chicago, Illinois


Illinois Connection

Jackson-Opoku was born and raised in Chicago. She attended Columbia College in Chicago for three years, majoring in Journalism.

Biographical and Professional Information

Sandra Jackson-Opoku is an award-winning poet, journalist and novelist. She has authored two novels and edited ''Revise the Psalm: Work Celebrating the Writing of Gwendolyn Brooks'' with Illinois author, Quraysh Ali Lansana. Her fiction, poetry, articles, essays, and scripts have appeared in ''Essence Magazine'', ''Los Angeles Times'' Travel Section, ''Ms. Magazine'', ''The Literary Traveler'', ''Islands Magazine'', and others. Her work has earned awards like the SCBWI Kimberly Colen Award for New Children’s Writing, an American Antiquarian Society Fellowship for Creative Writers, the National Endowment for the Arts Fiction Fellowship, an Africa Writers Fellowship from the Ragsdale Foundation, a CCLM/General Electric Fiction Award for Younger Writers, and an Illinois Arts Council Finalist Award. Her first novel, ''The River Where Blood is Born,'' earned the American Library Association Black Caucus Award for Best Fiction and second novel, ''Hot Johnny and the Women Who Loved Him,'' was an ''Essence Magazine'' bestseller. Jackson-Opoku also teaches literature and creative writing at schools, universities, workshops, and youth programs around the world. She has been on faculty at Columbia College Chicago, the University of Miami, Nova Southeastern University, and the Writer’s Studio at the University of Chicago. She currently teaches in the English Department at Chicago State University where she serves as Fiction Coordinator of the Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library


-- '''''The River Where Blood is Born''''' *Black Caucus Award for Best Fiction, American Library Association, 1998