Award-winning poet and theatre practitioner Koleka Putuma (1993) has taken the South African literary scene by storm with her bestselling debut collection of poems Collective Amnesia.
Since its publication in April 2017, the book is in its 9th print run and has been prescribed for study at tertiary level in South African Universities and Gothenburg University in Sweden. It was recently translated into Spanish and released in Madrid by Flores Rara. Collective Amnesia was named 2017 book of the year by the City Press, one of the best books of 2017 by The Sunday Times, and named one of ten outstanding African books translated into Spanish by El País in Madrid.
She is a 2018 Forbes Africa Under 30 Honoree. Recipient of the 2018 Imbewu Trust Scribe Playwriting Award. She was recognized as a Rising Star at the 2017 South African Mbokodo Awards. Recipient of the 2017 CASA playwrighting award. She is the recipient of the 2016 PEN South Africa Student Writing Prize. She has been named one of the young pioneers who took South Africa by storm by The Sunday Times, one of 12 future shapers by Marie Claire SA, the groundbreaking new voice of South African poetry by OkayAfrica, and one of 100 young people disrupting the status-qou in South Africa by independent media. She has recently been appointed as the theatre producer for Design Indaba.
Putuma’s work insists on visibility and offering healing. In it, she explodes the idea of authority in various spaces – academia, religion, politics, relationships – to ask what has been learnt and what must be unlearnt. She is particularly interested in how narrative making can be a catalyst for healing, resistance and excavating memory.