CNN calls Shailja Patel “the people-centered face of globalization”. An internationally acclaimed Kenyan poet, playwright, activist, and public intellectual, her performances have received standing ovations on four continents. Trained as a political economist, accountant and yoga teacher, she uses text, voice, body, and critical thinking to delve for truth and dissect power. 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, and her political essays appear in Le Monde Diplomatique and The New Inquiry, among others. Her work has been translated into 16 languages, and appears in No Serenity Here, the groundbreaking multilingual Chinese–African poetry anthology. Honors 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 Nations Poetry 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 2012, she was Kenya’s poet for Poetry Parnassus, in the London Cultural Olympiad. Migritude has been published in Italy and Sweden, and was was shortlisted for the prestigious Camaiore Poetry Prize in Italy.
“Illuminates with compelling artistry and eloquence the shameful secrets of Empire’s history.”
- – -Howard Zinn, “A Peoples’ History Of The United States”
“A vibrant, gendered, wordsmith’s voice, speaking Africa, Asia, the metropole, history, the present – the world. Shailja Patel is that rare thing – an activist poet in prose and verse.”
- - Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Avalon Professor in the Humanities, Columbia University
“A work of unwavering moral conscience, a battle cry for justice, expressed through a poetic talent that deserves a global audience.”
- - Dennis Brutus
Shailja Patel news
On February 27, the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center will unveil its first in-depth look on Indian Americans and their contributions to United States history. “Beyond Bollywood” will be on display at the Smithsonian for one year before touring libraries, community centers, and museums throughout the country. Among the exhibit’s featured artists will be Kaya […]
On February 9, Kaya author Shailja Patel appeared on the UC Davis radio station’s New Day Jazz, to discuss her book Migritude. To hear her interview (and a great set of jazz and soul), visit New Day Jazz host Justin Desmangles’s blog here.
From South Asian Kenyans struggling under the threat of expulsion, to Samoan girls on the cusp of womanhood, to a word-obsessed, multiracial Aussie piecing together his family’s past through fragments of letters and half-forgotten stories. The characters found in Kaya Press books are as provocative and nuanced as the writers who give them voice. Celebrate […]
Participate in Kaya Press’ “Animating Poetry Contest – Vote for Your Favorite!” contest on Facebook for a chance to win a signed copy of Shailja Patel’s tour-de-force book Migritude. Students from Parsons the New School for Design were asked to interpret one of Patel’s poems “Shilling Love” in Ken Tanabe’s Motion Graphics 2 class. Check […]