Shailja Patel

Kenyan poet SHAILJA PATEL was trained as a political economist, accountant and yoga teacher. She honed her poetic skills in performances that have received standing ovations on four continents.

Her US publishing debut, Migritude, based on her acclaimed one-woman show, went to #1 on Amazon’s bestsellers in Asian Poetry, and was a Seattle Times bestseller – extremely rare for a poetry collection.

Patel has been African Guest Writer at Sweden’s Nordic Africa Institute and poet-in-residence at the Tallberg Forum, Sweden’s alternative to Davos. She has appeared on the BBC World Service, NPR and Al-Jazeera. Her work has been translated into 16 languages. Honours include a Sundance Theatre Fellowship, a Creation Fund Award from the National Performance Network, the Fanny-Ann Eddy Poetry Award from IRN-Africa, the Voices of Our NationsPoetry Award, a Lambda Slam Championship, and the Outwrite Poetry Prize.

Patel is a founding member of Kenyans For Peace, Truth and Justice, a civil society coalition which works for an equitable democracy in Kenya. In 2011, the African Women’s Development Fund named her one of Fifty Inspirational African Feminists for the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, ELLE India Magazine selected her as one of its 25 New Guard Influencers, and Poetry Africa honored her as Letters To Dennis Poet, continuing the legacy of renowned poet-activist Dennis Brutus.