Keynote Speaker

Elisabet Velasquez

Photograph of Elisabet Velasquez on swing holding book When We Make It
Photo credit: Jonathan Rojas Media / Hazard Photography

Elisabet Velasquez is a Brooklyn Born Boricua. She is a mother of two. Her poems are an exploration of her life.

Velasquez has performed at venues including: Lincoln Center Out Of Doors, Brooklyn Museum, Museum Of Natural History, The Nuyorican Poets Cafe, Princeton University, James Madison University, Harvard University and The Amber Rose Slut Walk 2017. Her work has been featured on  TIDALNBC, Now This, Latina Magazine, Vibe Magazine, Muzzle MagazineCentro Voces. She is a VONA Alum, 2017 Poets House Fellow. She is the winner of Button Poetry’s 2017 Poetry Video Contest and a 2019 Frost Place Fellow.

When We Make It is her debut novel and tells the story of Sarai, “a first-generation Puerto Rican eighth grader who can see with clarity the truth, pain, and beauty of the world both inside and outside her Bushwick apartment. Together with her older sister Estrella, she navigates the strain of family traumas and the systemic pressures of toxic masculinity and housing insecurity in a rapidly gentrifying Brooklyn. Sarai questions the society around her, her Boricua identity, and the life she lives with determination and an open heart, learning to celebrate herself in a way that she has been denied” (Penguin Randomhouse).

Of When We Make It, New York Times bestselling author Jacqueline Woodson writes, “The energy. The clarity. The beauty. Elisabet Velasquez brings it all! Her voice is FIRE!.” We are grateful to Elisabet Velasquez for joining us at Macksey 2022!


Cover of When We Make It by Elisabet Velasquez

When We Make It (2021) by Elisabet Velasquez

Elisabet Velasquez will read from her 2021 debut novel, When We Make It. We are pleased to announce that Macksey attendees will receive a complimentary autographed copy of the book.