English Teachers and Literacy Educators from around the Nation to Gather for the National Council of Teachers of English 2021 Annual Convention Featuring Literary Leaders - National Council of Teachers of English

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English Teachers and Literacy Educators from around the Nation to Gather for the National Council of Teachers of English 2021 Annual Convention
Featuring Literary Leaders


Contact: Stacey Finkel, media@ncte.org, 703-304-1377


November 18, 2021—The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) kicks off its 2021 Annual Convention today with former First Lady and bestselling author Michelle Obama opening the event. The event will take place virtually November 18–21.

Thousands of educators will participate in the annual conference, which will feature inspiring presentations from established literary voices, new authors, and literacy educators leading pedagogy and research. NCTE has brought together an illustrious group of keynote and featured speakers who will share their life experiences and guidance each day. The theme for the 2021 NCTE Annual Convention is “Equity, Justice, and Antiracist Teaching.” There will be more than 500 sessions during the Convention.

The remarks from Obama, First Lady of the United States from 2009 to 2017, will open the Convention and focus on Becoming, her #1 international bestselling memoir. Becoming has been adapted into an edition for young readers and is the basis for Becoming: A Guided Journal for Discovering Your Voice.

“I’m so thrilled to join NCTE’s Annual Convention,” Mrs. Obama said. “Teachers and books have played such an important role in my life, challenging me to expand my mind, walk in someone else’s shoes, and recognize the truth in stories that aren’t my own. With a world that’s seemingly growing more complicated by the day, English teachers play an even more critical role in helping us make connections with the world around us — and each other. I’m excited that Becoming is a part of so many classrooms today, spurring new discussions and helping students see the truth and value in one another’s stories.”

To close out the conference, NCTE has selected Amanda Gorman, the youngest inaugural poet in US history. Gorman’s performance of her poem “The Hill We Climb” at the 2021 US presidential inauguration received critical acclaim and international attention. Gorman is a committed advocate for the environment, racial equality, and gender justice. Her work aligns with the conference theme.

“As the daughter of a phenomenal teacher, I believe the value of educators cannot be overstated. Our schools and academic institutions have faced tremendous difficulty over the past two years, which is why it is so vital that we join together now to celebrate and support our students, as well as their teachers and families everywhere. I’m honored to be speaking at the NCTE Annual Convention this year alongside so many incredible talents, highlighting the power of poetry and how language is at the very root of change,” said Amanda Gorman.

“We could not be more excited about this event, as it gives our members a unique opportunity to step out of their classrooms and find support in one another. The lineup of speakers and content we will be sharing this year is unprecedented. With so many of our educators back in school in person, this time together is more important than ever,” NCTE Executive Director Emily Kirkpatrick said.

Additional keynote speakers include:

  • Colson Whitehead, author of the book Harlem Shuffle. He is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of 10 works of fiction and nonfiction, and a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, for The Nickel Boys and The Underground Railroad, which also won the National Book Award. A recipient of MacArthur and Guggenheim fellowships and the 2020 Prize for American Fiction from the Library of Congress, he lives in New York City.
  • George M. Johnson, author of the new memoir We Are Not Broken. Johnson has written for major outlets that include Teen Vogue, Entertainment Tonight, NBC, The Root, BuzzFeed, Essence, Ebony, THEM, and The Grio. They have also served as Guest Editor for BET.com’s Pride Month. They were awarded the 2019 Salute to Excellence Award by the National Association of Black Journalists for their article “When Racism Anchors Your Health” in Vice Magazine and named to The Root 100 Most Influential African Americans in 2020. They are the author of the bestselling memoir All Boys Aren’t Blue.

There is still time to participate in the 2021 NCTE Annual Convention. To register, visit convention.ncte.org.

About NCTE

The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) is devoted to improving the teaching and learning of English and the language arts at all levels of education. For more than 100 years, NCTE has worked with its members to offer journals, publications, and resources; to further the voice and expertise of educators as advocates for their students at the local and federal levels; and to share lesson ideas, research, and teaching strategies through its Annual Convention and other professional learning events.