Shailja Patel

Trained as a political economist, accountant, and yoga teacher, Kenyan writer Shailja Patel has swum many oceans: shark-infested currents of corporate London, swirling seas of monastic life, high surf of slam poetry, riptides of global activism. She always returns to her natal waters – the Indian Ocean off the coast of East Africa. Shailja’s poetry and theatre have won awards on three continents, been translated into 12 languages, and toured internationally. Her book, MIGRITUDE, is forthcoming from Kaya Press in October 2010. Her latest play, Bwagamoyo, was selected for the 2010 Sundance Theatre Lab. She is a founding member of Kenyans for Peace, Truth and Justice. Her groundbreaking project to train Kenyan activists in advocacy garnered a LEAP grant from New Tactics In Human Rights, one of only seven awarded globally, and is now a fully-fledged social justice fellowship program in Kenya. CNN says Patel “exemplifies globalization as a people-centered phenomenon of migration and exchange.” The Gulf Today (United Arab Emirates) calls her “the poetic equivalent of Arundhati Roy.”

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