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Events and Media

Award-winning Author • Educator • Speaker

Events and Media

Award-winning Author • Educator • Speaker














TEDx Talk - "Iowa Nice" Interrupted, Iowa from an African American perspective.






Wednesday, April 17 - 9am to 4pm

Keynote Speaker, Workplace Wellbeing Conference

Iowa Healthiest State Initiative 

Des Moines, IA 

Thursday, April 18 - 2pm to 3pm

CultureAll Open Book with Abena Sankofa Imhotep

Pella, IA

Saturday, April 20 - 1pm to 3pm

Keynote Speaker, St. Paul AME Church Gospel Tea Brunch 

Des Moines, IA 

Sunday, September 22-25

Okoboji Writers Retreat 

Great Lakes of Okoboji, IA



We Are Iowa - "The Color Purple"

January 8, 2024

The African American Museum of Iowa and FilmScene are partnering for a pay-what-you-can showing of "The Color Purple." Watch the interview here.

Des Moines Public Library - I'm a Rosie Reader Early Literacy Initiative 

January 4, 2024

Principal Willie Montgomery and author and early literacy advocate Abena Imhotep share tips and tricks on encouraging your child to read.


We Are Iowa - Meet the recipient of the 2023 Iowa Author Award

November 6, 2023

Author recognized for children's book. Watch the interview here.

Iowa Author Award

October 20, 2023

Author Abena Sankofa Imhotep receives the prestigious 2023 Iowa Author Award in the children's book category for Omari's Big Tree and the Mighty Djembe.


Fearless, Business Record - Leading Fearlessly: Books that shaped the women we have become

October 16, 2023

October is National Book Month and local leaders share a book that influenced them or helped shape their confidence.


Insight on Business - Writer, Podcaster, Consultant & Educator meet Abena Imhotep

August 25, 2023

She is one of the most outspoken people I knowAbena Imhotep was last on our broadcast in 2019 urging people to treat every Friday as "Black Friday". Meaning they should make it a point to shop at Black owned businesses each week.  And, it works. Today we're here to talk about her new book, "Omari's Big Tree and the Mighty Djembe".

Des Moines Register - Iowa Juneteenth Neighbors Day

June 17, 2023

Abena Sankofa Imhotep, author of "Omari's Big Tree and the Mighty Djembe" talks with illustrator Meanz Chan and Glo Rose, author of "Dad How Do I Hope?" at the Des Moines Public Library booth during the Iowa Juneteenth Neighbor's Day Celebration at Western Gateway Park on Saturday, June 17, 2023, in Des Moines.

dsm Magazine - A Broader Cast of Characters: Iowa authors create new children's books rooted in inclusive themes

May 2, 2023

Abena Sankofa Imhotep’s first children’s book, “Omari’s Big Tree and the Mighty Djembe,” explores themes of tradition, family and community.

Greater Des Moines Partnership - Make Time To Visit Local Author Abena Sankofa Imhotep at the 2023 DSM Book Festival

March 10, 2023

For the past few years, Abena Sankofa Imhotep has worked on their first book, “Omari’s Big Tree and the Mighty Djembe,” gaining inspiration from becoming a grandparent and working in an afterschool literacy program. The idea for the book came after the Midwest derecho in August of 2020.

Business Record - Belonging

March 10, 2023

Author, activist and executive director of Sankofa Literary & Empowerment Group Abena Imhotep challenged the “unassailable cultural narrative” of “Iowa nice.”

Urban Experience Magazine - Abena Imhotep, author of Omari's Big Tree and the Mighty Djembe

March 1, 2023

10 Questions for Abena Sankofa Imhotep

Worst Things First Podcast - The Literary Emancipator

February 20, 2023

W.T.F.P's fourth season arrives with the presence of the multi-layered ABENA SANKOFA IMHOTEP, a highly revered creator, public speaker and empowerment facilitator currently enjoying the success of her most recently authored children's book "Omari's Big Tree and the Mighty Djembe."

Iowa Public Radio - Exploring the Power of Names

January 27, 2023

Author Abena Sankofa Imhotep, who serves as the executive director of Sankofa Literary and Empowerment Group and Sankofa Literary Academy, decided to legally change her name to embrace her West African heritage. "There's nothing more powerful than knowing who you are," she said.

Iowa Public Radio Talk of Iowa - Iowa families share unique holiday traditions

December 22, 2022

There are plenty of time-honored traditions across cultures, but some households put their own twist on the holiday season.


Hello Iowa - Meet the Author: Abena Sankofa Imhotep

December 20, 2022

Reading is critical for learning, and a new book can help emerging readers improve their skills. Author Abena Sankofa Imhotep shares details about a new children’s book Omari’s Big Tree and the Mighty Djembe.

Iowa Public Radio Talk of Iowa - Derecho makes for a silver lining in Des Moines author's children's book

November 29, 2022

Des Moines-based author and advocate Abena Imhotep seeks to promote literacy and lifelong learning in her community by celebrating works by Black authors.


The Culture Buzz - Abena Sankofa Imhotep, Omari's Big Tree and the Mighty Djembe

October 9, 2022 Abena Sankofa Imhotep shares insights about the creation of her excellent children's book, Omari's Big Tree and the Mighty Djembe. This story shares themes of friendship, legacy, and heritage.


Fearless, Business Record - Just Say No!

March 13, 2022

A conversation on saying "no" and why it can sometimes be the better choice.

Black Iowa News - Black Iowa activist, TEDx speaker: 'Survival is our cultural ethos'

February 3, 2022

Celebrating Black History Month: Black Iowa News invited Black Iowans to share their feelings about the importance of teaching Black history, voting rights and more — in their own words. The Declaration.


dsm Magazine - Abena Imhotep's Top Spots

January 18, 2022

Here, Imhotep shares some of her favorite local spots where you can experience the city’s rich diversity.


Black Iowa News - Unfastening the gates: Racial justice is focus of first semester at Drake University's Bright College

November 1, 2021

“This is a longing that I’ve had forever, and I know it’s the right place and the right time,” she said.


Black Iowa News - Unfastening the gates: Drake University's Bright College prioritizes diverse students

October 30, 2021

When Imhotep, who gave a TEDx Des Moines talk last year, first heard that Bright College would challenge typical recruitment methods, upend antiquated ideas about model students and revamp college financing to recruit a diverse student body to work collaboratively, excitement overtook her.

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Praise & Reviews

Eric P., Nationwide

"Abena, I loved the session we had today. Thank you so much for the perspective shift at the end. That change in thought process helps reframe the work and advocacy I can strive for. You are a dynamo."
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