Parmele, NC, US
Washington, DC, US
Eloise Greenfield was born in Parmele, North Carolina, on May 17, 1929. While she was still an infant, her family moved to Washington, D.C., where she has lived ever since. Ms. Greenfield studied piano as a child and teenager. She loved music, movies, and books. She began a search for satisfying work in her early twenties and found it in writing.
Marriage, two children (named Monica and Steve), and a full time civil service job might have made another person abandon writing, but Eloise Greenfield discovered, along with her love for moving words around on paper, a purpose. There were far too few books that told the truth about African-American people. Ms. Greenfield wanted to change that. Her writing — indeed her every activity within the African-American community — has reflected the seriousness of her involvement. The many honors she has received — including the 1990 Recognition of Merit Award presented by the George G. Stone Center for Children's Books in Claremont, California; and an honorary degree from Wheelock College in Boston, Massachusetts — are testimony to the skill she brings to advancing her goals.
In addition to writing herself, Eloise Greenfield has found time to work with other writers. She headed the Adult Fiction and Children's Literature divisions of the D.C. Black Writers' Workshop (now defunct), a group whose goal was to encourage the writing and publishing of Africa-American literature. She has given free workshops on the writing of African-American literature for children, and, under grants from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, has taught creative writing to elementary and junior high school students. Ms. Greenfield is now a member of the African-American Writers Guild.
Eloise Greenfield enjoys working with and for young people. Through her work she wants to give them words that nourish the spirit — “words to love, to grow on.”