Sandra Jackson-Opoku

Sandra Jackson-Opoku is an award-winning novelist, playwright, screenwriter, and food and travel writer. She is the author of novels: The River Where Blood is Born, and Hot Johnny (and the Women Who Loved Him. She also coedited the anthology, Revise the Psalm: Work Celebrating the Writing of Gwendolyn Brooks. Her fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and dramatic works are widely published and produced. Jackson-Opoku is the recipient of a Billops-Hatch Research Fellowship, the Alyce Hunley Whayne Visiting Researchers Travel Award, a Mississippi Department of Archives and History Family Genealogy Fellowship, an Animals and Culture Creative Grant, and a Lifeline Theatre Adaptation Fellowship. Other honors include a US National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, the Coordinating Council of Literary Magazines/General Electric Award for Younger Writers, an American Library Association Black Caucus Award, a City of Chicago Esteemed Artist Award, and a Pushcart Prize nomination. Sweet Potato Crimes, her culinary cozy mystery novel won the 2023 Malice Domestic Minotaur Award for a First Mystery novel. It is expected to be published in 2025.

Special subjects

* African Diaspora foodways (US, Europe, Caribbean, Africa) * Vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, lactose-, and gluten-free diets

Languages spoken


Regular work

Novelist Fiction writer (short story, flash) Playwright Screenwriter Food and travel writer

Advisory boards / Awards

Advisory Board, Gwendolyn Brooks Center for Black Literature and Creative Writing Selected Awards: * Key West Literary Seminars Fellowship, 2020 * Longlisted, Mslexia Women's Short Story Competition, 2020 * Esteemed Artist Award in Literary Arts, Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, 2020 * Newcity Lit50: Who Really Books In Chicago, 2020 * Longlisted, David T. K. Wong Fiction Fellowship, 2020 * Fiction Nominee, Pushcart Prize for “Blue Mermaid,” 2021 * Listed on Jada Pinkett Smith’s Black History Instagram lineup for The River Where Blood is Born, 2021 * NPS Artist Residence in the Everglades, Commended Artist, 2021 * Reva & David Logan Foundation Artist Grant, Semifinalist, 2021 * Stage 32 Diversity Springboard Screenwriting Contest, Quarterfinalist, 2021 * Globe Soup Story Award, 2022 * Institute for Writers, First Pages Thriller Contest, 5th place winner, 2023 * The Plentitudes Journal Fiction Contest, 2nd place winner, 2023 * Circle of Confusion Writers Discovery Fellowship, 2023 * Hearst Foundation James Baldwin Award at MacDowell Arts, 2023

Commercial interests

Recipe testing

Sandra Jackson-Opoku