Koleka Putuma is a multi-award-winning theatre practitioner, writer and poet. Her work tackles themes such as homophobia, womanhood, race and the dynamics of relationships, religion and politics. Her poetry is sharp and thought provoking, unique in its form, language and structure. Every line, a powerful statement of what she stands for.
Her bestselling debut collection of poems Collective Amnesia took the South African literary scene by storm. Since its publication in April 2017, the book is in its 12th print run and is prescribed for study at tertiary level in South African Universities and across the world.
Collective Amnesia received the 2018 Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry, was 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), French (éditions LansKine).
In April 2021, Manyano Media published her sophomore collection of poems, Hullo, Bu-Bye, Koko, Come In, with forthcoming translations in Dutch, Danish and French.
Her theatre works include the stage adaption of Hullo, Bu-bye, Koko, Come In, UHM, Woza Sarafina, Mbuzeni and No Easter Sunday For Queers. 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.
In 2022, Putuma was awarded the Standard Bank Young Artist Award - a first time award for Poetry. She is a Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative finalist for theatre, a Forbes Africa Under 30 Honoree, recipient of the Imbewu Trust Scribe Playwriting Award, Mbokodo Rising Light award, CASA playwriting award and the 2019 Distell Playwriting Award for her play No Easter Sunday for Queers. She has been commissioned to write poetry for major campaigns such as Spotify Premium "Unleash The Sounds", UN Global Goals, Wellcome Trust: Covid Living, Jameson "Dedela Abanye", Standard Bank and more.
Koleka Putuma is the Founder and Director of Manyano Media, a multidisciplinary creative company that empowers and produces stories by black queer women.