Amanda Johnston was born in East St. Louis, IL and raised in Austin, TX. She began writing poetry while living in Kentucky. Since then, her writing has been published widely and she has presented at numerous literary conferences and events.
Amanda earned a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Southern Maine. She is the author of two chapbooks, GUAP and Lock & Key, and the full-length collection Another Way to Say Enter (Argus House Press). Her poetry and interviews have appeared in numerous online and print publications, among them, Callaloo, Poetry, Puerto del Sol, Muzzle, Pluck!, No, Dear and the anthologies, Small Batch, Full, di-ver-city, The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South, and Women of Resistance: Poems for a New Feminism. Honors include the Christina Sergeyevna Award from the Austin International Poetry Festival, a joint finalist for the Freedom Plow Award for Poetry & Activism from Split This Rock, and multiple Artist Enrichment grants from the Kentucky Foundation for Women, Amanda is a member of the Affrilachian Poets and has received fellowships from Cave Canem Foundation and the Austin Project at the University of Texas. Johnston is a Stonecoast MFA faculty member, a cofounder of Black Poets Speak Out, and founder / executive director of Torch Literary Arts. She serves on the Cave Canem Foundation board of directors and currently lives in Texas.
Named one of Blavity’s 13 Black Poets You Should Know, Amanda’s work has been featured on Bill Moyers, the Poetry Society of America’s online series In Their Own Words, and the Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day series. In 2018, she was commissioned to curate a collection of poems for the Poetry Coalition on the theme Where My Dreaming and My Loving Live: Poetry & the Body.
She has facilitated creative writing workshops and presented at the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics, Hugo House, Langston Hughes House, Frye Museum, Carver Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Prizer Arts and Letters, NeoSoul Poetry Lounge, Nuyorican Poet’s Café, Kelly Strayhorn Theater, Pillsbury House Theater, Rude Mechanical Theater, and at numerous universities and literary venues across the country.