Koleka Putuma is an award-winning poet, playwright and theatre director.
Her bestselling debut collection of poems Collective Amnesia is taking the South African literary scene by storm. Since its publication in April 2017, the book is in its 10th print run and is prescribed for study at tertiary level in South African Universities and Gothenburg University in Sweden. The collection is the recipient of the 2018 Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry, named 2017 book of the year by the City Press and one of the best books of 2017 by The Sunday Times and Quartz Africa. It is translated into Spanish (Flores Rara, 2019), German (Wunderhorn Publishing House, 2019), Danish (Rebel with a Cause, 2019), Dutch (Poeziecentrum, 2020), Swedish (Rámus förlag). Forthcoming translations: Portuguese (Editora Trinta Zero Nove), and Italian (Arcipelago itaca).
Her theatre works include UHM (2014) Woza Sarafina (2016), and Mbuzeni (2017/8). Her theatre for young audiences include Ekhaya (2 – 7 year olds), and SCOOP: Kitchen play for carers and babes, the first South African theatre work for audiences aged 0 – 12 months old.
Putuma was appointed as creative director for the 2019 Design Indaba Conference. She was recently shortlisted as one of four finalists for the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative for theatre. She is a Forbes Africa Under 30 Honouree, recipient of the Imbewu Trust Scribe Playwrighting Award, Mbokodo Rising Light award, CASA playwrighting award and the 2019 Distell Playwrighting Award for her play No Easter Sunday for Queers, published by Junkets in February 2020, and played to sold out audiences at the Market theatre in 2019.
Koleka Putuma is the Founder and Director of Manyano Media, a multidisciplinary creative company that produces and champions the work and stories of black queer artists and queer life.