Sheri J. Booker

Sheri Booker (CNF, Poetry) | Baltimore, MD

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Sheri J. Booker is an award-winning author and educator from Baltimore, Maryland. Sheri began crafting poems at a very young age, which eventually led her to the world of spoken word and performance poetry. She published her first book of poetry, One Woman, One Hustle, (Book Her 2003) as a junior in college. She is also the author of the poetry vook, I am the Poem (Vook 2011). She has traveled the U.S. reciting her poetry.

After losing her great Aunt Mary at the age of 15, she began working at a funeral home in Baltimore. Her nine-year experience in the business became the basis for her memoir, Nine Years Under: Coming of Age in an Inner City Funeral Home (Gotham 2013). She was the recipient of the 2014 NAACP Image award for Outstanding Literary Work by a Debut Author for her memoir. Nominated for a Hurston-Wright Literary Award in Nonfiction, Nine Years Under: Coming of Age is a Powerlist bestseller and was a Booklist Editor’s Choice pick.

A dedicated educator, Booker has taught at Stevenson University, Community College of Baltimore County, and the Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women. There she taught a course called Mind, Body, and Soul, a character education curriculum that she designed to help educate the “whole girl”. In 2014, she received an Ncourage Educator Award for outstanding teaching.  Sheri has lived and worked in rural South Africa, where she taught African Women journalism skills and worked at an international literary magazine.

Sheri has appeared on Tv One and the Word Network and she has been featured in Essence Magazine, the New York Times, Baltimore Magazine, Huffington Post,  Last fall, she graced the cover of The Baltimore Sun Magazine after being named one of 50 Women to Watch. Sheri was recently appointed speechwriter for the Honorable Mayor Kasim Reed, Mayor of the City of Atlanta. She holds a B.A. in political science from Notre Dame of Maryland University and a M.F.A. in creative nonfiction from Goucher College.


Nine Years Under (Avery, 2014). CNF, Memoir
I am the Poem (Vook, 2011). Poetry. Video/Digital Text.
One Woman, One Hustle (Book Her, 2002). Poetry.
One Woman, One Hustle (Book Her, 2002). Poetry.

Press & Reviews

“Alternately creepy and captivating”
The Associated Press

“A darkly comic memoir of life and death in urban America.”
Booklist Starred Review

Nine Years Under is a sparkling debut— brimming with love and bursting with life. Booker’s Baltimore is equal parts The Wire and The Cosby show. She doesn’t shrink from the realities of life in inner city funeral home, but she is also a loving witness, documenting the big hearted community that takes care of its own. Told with compassion, wit, and good old fashioned story telling, Sheri Booker gives us unforgettable characters who will make you laugh right up until they break your heart.”
—Tayari Jones, author of Silver Sparrow

“You’ve never read a book like Nine Years Under. I fell in love with Sheri, a plucky and nervy teenager who took a risk that changed her life. Through love, laughter, and tears, Sheri takes you to a world many of us will never experience. And she does it with lively writing, awesome characters and a sharp sense of humor. Who knew the world of death was filled with so much life?”
—Aliya S King, author of Diamond Life

“In Nine Years Under, Sheri Booker has accomplished quite a feat. She somehow was able to bring a tremendous amount of light and life to a story about the strange and often dark business of death. For that, I applaud her.”
—Jason Reynolds, coauthor of My Name Is Jason: Mine Too

“In Nine Years Under, Booker poetically infiltrates the private world of black funeral home culture. The book serves as a magic intersection of this mysterious mortuary milieu, the black church and middle class black Baltimore to spin a story that Booker is uniquely positioned to set to prose. You will laugh and cry; be horrified and hopeful. But at the end of a dark ride through valleys of suppressed emotion, every reader will realize that at the end of the darkest and most violent of rainless thunder storms, our own tears can set up rainbows of promise.”
—Jeff Johnson, author of Everything I’m Not Made Me Everything I Am

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