Christopher Okemwa is a lecturer of poetry and drama at Kisii University, Kenya. He is the founder and director of a local Kenyan CSO, Kistrech Theatre International. He is the founder and director of Kistrech International Poetry Festival in Kenya. He is also the founder and director of KICHLA (Kistrech Children’s Literature Association) of Kenya. He is a World Poetry Movement’s coordinator of poetry events in Africa.

Okemwa has published ten poetry books, including The Gong (Nsemia Inc., 2010), Purgatorius Ignis (Translated to French by Alice-Catherine Carls; Foreword by Sukrita Paul Kumar; Nsemia Inc., 2016), Ominous Clouds (Translated to Norwegian by Gunnar Waerness, to Finnish by Jyrki K. Ihalainen & to Greek by Christos R. Tsiailis; Foreword by Marilena Zackheos; Nsemia Inc., 2018); The Pieta (Translated to Armenian by Hermine Navasardyan; sponsored by Sona Van, 2019); Love from Afro Catalonia (Translated to Catalan by Pau Sabaté; Kistrech Theatre International, 2020),  Izabrane Pesme:Selected Poems (Translated to Serbian by Milutin Djurickovic; Alma and Sunčani Breg, Belgrade, 2020); Tisztítótűz/Purgatory (Translated to Hungarian by Balázs F. Attila; AB ART Publisher, Budapest, 2020); and Between the Walls and Empty Spaces (Demer Press, Netherlands, 2021).

OKemwa has published the following children’s books: a novella for children, Sabina and the Mystery of the Ogre, which won the 2015 Canadian Burt Award for African Literature (Kenya), its sequel, Sabina the Rain Girl (Nsemia Inc., 2019) which was selected for the UN SDG 2 Zero Hunger reading list in April 2021, a short story collection, Chubot, the Cursed One and Other Stories (Nsemia Inc., 2011),which has been selected by the UN SDG to be presented at the Sharjah Children’s Book Festival in UAE, May 2022; The Visitor at the Gate (Paulines Africa, 2009); Let us Keep Tiger (Paulines Africa, 2010), which won the 3rd position in the Kenyan Jomo Kenyatta Literature Prize in 2011; and The Village Queen (Paulines Africa, 2010). Also for children, Okemwa has written five folktales of the Abagusii people of Kenya in Ekegusii language, namely Ogasusu na Oganchogu (The Hare and the Elephant), Ogasusu na Okanyambu (The Hare and the Chameleon), Ogasusu na Okanyang’au (The Hare and the Hyena), Okang’ombe, Okanyang’au na Ogakondo (The Cow, the Hyena & the Monkey), and Kerangeti na Kerantina (Kerangeti & Kerantina).

Okemwa has published four oral literature text books, Riddles of the Abagusii People of Kenya: Gems of Wisdom from the African Continent (Nsemia Inc., 2011), The Proverbs of the Abagusii of Kenya: Meaning & Application (Nsemia Inc., 2012), Otenyo, a play (Nsemia Inc., 2016) and Oral Poetry of the Abagusii of Kenya (Foreword by John S. Akama; Nsemia Inc., 2020).

Okemwa has co-translated from English to Swahili the works of the following international writers:  The Finnish Poet Inger Mari Aikio’s The Wind Passes Over Me / Upepo Hupepea Juu Yangu, poems (Nsemia Inc. Publishers, 2018, Ontario/Nairobi); The Hungarian poet Balázs F. Attila’s Blue / Zamawati, poetry collection (Kistrech Theatre International, 2019); Serbian writer Milutin Djurickovic’s How the Twins Grew Up, a collection of short stories /Jinsi Mapacha Walivyokua, Mkusanyiko wa hadithi fupi za watoto, (Kistrech Theatre International, 2020); and Hungarian writer István Turczi’s Somewhere Budapest/Mahali Fulani Mjini Budapest (Kistrech Theatre international, 2022).

Okemwa is the editor of large international anthologies: The 1112-page poetry anthology, Musings During a Time of Pandemic: A World Anthology of Poems on COVID-19 (2020); 1300-page poetry anthology, I Can’t Breathe: A Poetic Anthology of Social Justice (2021); The Griots of Ubuntu: An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry from Africa (2022); Voices from the Woods: An Anthology of Poems from East Africa and Beyond (EAEP, 2022);  and Coming Out of Isolation: A World Anthology of Poems on Resilience, Hope and Triumph (2022). He is the editor of annual Kistrech International Poetry Festival Magazine, 2013-2019, and co-editor of In the Murk of Life: An Anthology of Poetry published by Nsemia, 2019.

OKemwa’s poems have appeared in the Kistrech International Poetry Festival Magazine, Kisii, Kenya; The Noyan Tapan, Armenian weekly newspaper; Mwangaza, The Journal of Literature Students Association University of Nairobi, Kenya; Echoes Across the Valley, a Kenyan poetry anthology published by EAEP; Art Grakanutyun, Armenian Poetry Anthology; Amaravati Poetic Prism, an International Multilingual Poetry Anthology, 2017-2019; The Fund for Cultural Education and Heritage- FEKT; The International Poetry Shelter, Ithaca & Huifeng Poetry Project; Kenya Scholars and Studies Association, KESSA; International Association of Writers-Pjetër Bogdani; and World Poetry Magazine of China; editor and curator of multi-lingual Russian poetry magazine, RADAR, No. 1 Kenya, 2021; and Spring’s Blue Ribbon: International Poetry, Gino Leineweber (ed), 2021.

Okemwa has written forewords and introductions to the following works: John Akama’s The Untold Story: Gusii Survival Techniques and Resistance to the Establishment of British Colonial Rule, 2019, Nsemia Inc. Publishers, Nairobi;  Okoegerera Ekegusii Association’s Omogusii: Oboroso, Chinyangi N’emeyega Ya Mwanyagetinge, 2019, Africa Herald Publishing House, Kendu Bay, Kenya; Christopher Okemwa’s Musings During a Time of Pandemic: A World’s Anthology of Poems on COVID-19; Christopher Okemwa’s I Can’t Breathe: A Poetic Anthology of Social Justice; and Anuradha Bhattacharyya’s poetry collection, Corona Doldrums, 2021, Authorpress, India; Christopher Okemwa’s The Griots of Ubuntu: An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry from Africa (2022); Christopher Okemwa’s Voices from the Woods: An Anthology of Poems from East Africa and Beyond (2022); Christopher Okemwa’s Coming Out of Isolation: A World Anthology of Poems on Resilience, Hope and Triumph (2022); and Alfred Nyamwange’s The Girl of Red Beauty (2022).

Okemwa participated at a poetry workshop at Poets’ House, Northern Ireland, that was run by Janice Fitzpatrick and her late husband James Simmons in 1991; participated at the 20th International Poetry Festival in Medellin (Colombia) in 2010 sponsored by Prince Claus Fund; was a guest poet at the 27th Biennale Poetry Festival in Liege (Belgium) in 2012; was a guest-poet at the 3rd Spring and Poetry Festival in Istanbul (Turkey) in 2018; was a visiting poet at the International Poetry Festival of Hanoi (Vietnam) in 2019; and was a creative writing resident at Faber Writers’ Residency in Catalonia (Spain) in 2019, a residency that gave birth to a collection of poems, Love from Afro Catalonia.

Okemwa earned his PhD degree in performance poetry from Moi University, Kenya. He also holds an MA and a Bachelor of Education degree in literature from the University of Nairobi, Kenya.