Best known for her children’s book, Nappy Hair, Carolivia is a novelist, professor, scholar of epic literature, and publisher at Street to Street Epic Publications.
Her most recent novel, Asenath and the Origin of Nappy Hair, celebrates four of her great loves: her hometown Washington, DC, her African American Culture, her Jewish heritage, and the inspiration of the epic literary genre from the streets to the academy.
Her first novel, Thereafter Johnnie (1991), was recently identified as one of five hidden pearls of African American literature. Her other writings include: Always an Olivia, her autobiographic tale of Jewish and African ancestry; the libretto of Let Freedom Sing: The Story of Marian Anderson (composer Bruce Adolphe); Little Georgia and the Apples; and the Selected Poetry of Angelina Weld Grimke.
Carolivia grew up in the Mayfair and Kenilworth neighborhoods of Washington, DC, and moved to the Takoma neighborhood of Washington with her family in the 1960s. She marched with Dr. Martin Luther King in 1963, studied at Howard University with fellow student, Stokely Carmichael, an architect of the Black Power Movement, and is descended from runaway Virginia slaves, Sephardic Jewish exiles, and the Wampanoag Nation.
While teaching at Harvard University in 1988, she became the first professor in the United States to teach a course in hip hop, and is known for her presentations that connect hip hop with Homeric epic tradition.
Her doctorate in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory is from the University of Pennsylvania, and she teaches classes in epic poetry in universities, online and in person for home schooled youth . . . and for anyone else who will listen!!!
It’s clear that Carolivia can’t finish an academic degree unless she is somewhere in Pennsylvania. The BA she started at Howard University in Washington, DC was completed at Eastern University of St. Davids, Pennsylvania. The MA she started at American University was completed at Villanova. And the Ph.D. she started at Catholic University was completed at the Penn.
Since 2010 Carolivia has been publishing the works of several novelists, story tellers, and science professionals under the imprint, Street to Street Epic Publications. About half of these works are by and about communities of African Jews in African and Israel. For more information about these publications please see the website, EpicCenterStories.org.