Candice Iloh (they/them) is the award-winning author of young adult novels, Every Body Looking, Break This House, and Salt the Water. A 2020 National Book Award Finalist and 2021 Printz Honoree, Iloh is a first-generation Nigerian-American writer whose books center home. In 2018, they were awarded a Critical Breaks residency with Hi-ARTS to develop and perform a one-night-only stage production of ADA: On Stage, a multi-media one-person-show, introducing the audience to in-progress themes of their now critically-acclaimed debut novel. They are a proud alum of the Rhode Island Writers Colony and their work has earned fellowships from Lambda Literary, VONA, Kimbilio Fiction and, most recently, The PEW Center for Arts & Heritage for 2023-2025. Iloh is a former high school creative writing teacher who has previously taught young people of every age, from pre-K through high school. Their debut picture book, EMEKA: EAT EGUSI! will be published by Simon & Schuster in 2026.
In 2013, Iloh earned a fellowship to study with Ruth Forman at the Voices of Our Nation Arts (VONA) Foundation poetry workshop for writers of color. In 2015, they studied with Cathy Park Hong at the Home School Writer’s Conference, which they attended as a Lambda Literary fellow. In 2016, they were invited to the Rhode Island Writers Colony, a residency for writers of color under the Artistic Directorship of Jason Reynolds, to work on their debut novel. The Howard University alum holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing for Young People from Lesley University during which they debuted their first one-person-show.
With 10+ years under their belt as an educator, Iloh has served as a workshop facilitator with Voices UnBroken, a slam coach with Split This Rock, and teaching artist with The American Poetry Museum. Most recently, they completed a three-year residency (2016 – 2019) as a Writer-in-Residence at the Bronx Academy of Letters supporting high school students in the production of new and fresh youth-centered magazine content. Throughout their work, Iloh has remained engaged with the communities they work and live in by mentoring young people creatively within public school classrooms, athletic programs, detention centers, and youth shelters.
Candice is currently touring their third novel, Salt the Water, and will be teaching Introduction to Nontraditional Contemporary Young Adult Fiction at Penn University in Fall 2024. They live in Philadelphia with their partner and two cats, Charlie & Maxinne.