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CNN calls Shailja Patel “the people-centered face of globalization.” An internationally acclaimed Kenyan poet, playwright, activist and public intellectual, Patel has received standing ovations for her performances 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.
Her U.S. publishing debut, Migritude, based on her acclaimed one-woman show, has been published in the United States, Sweden and Italy. Migritude went to #1 on Amazon's bestsellers in Asian Poetry, and was a Seattle Times bestseller. It was short listed for Italy's Camaiore Poetry Prize and won Best Book Design in the American Design Awards.
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 have been published by The New Inquiry and Le Monde Diplomatique, among others. Her work has been translated into 16 languages. Patel is a founding member of Kenyans For Peace, Truth and Justice, a civil society coalition that works for an equitable democracy in Kenya. The African Women's Development Fund named her one of Fifty Inspirational African Feminists, 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 South African anti-apartheid activist Dennis Brutus. In 2012, she was selected as Kenya's poet for Poetry Parnassus, in the London Cultural Olympiad.