Musa Okwonga is a poet, author, journalist, broadcaster, musician, social commentator, football writer and consultant in the fields of creativity and communications. After doing a law degree at Oxford University and then completing his training as a solicitor in the City of London, he began a career during which he has been relentlessly curious.
Musa has written articles, features and opinion pieces on culture, race, sexuality, gender, music, sport, politics and technology for a range of publications including Africa Is a Country, Complex, Devex, The Economist, ESPN, Foreign Policy, Prospect, The Blizzard, The Guardian, The Independent, The New Humanist, The New Statesman, and The New York Times.
The winner of the 1996 WHSmith Young Writers Competition, Musa is the author of two books on football, A Cultured Left Foot (Duckworths, 2007) and Will You Manage? (Serpent’s Tail, 2010), the first of which was nominated for the 2008 William Hill Sports Book of the Year. In 2014, he co-wrote and presented The Burden of Beauty, the BBC World Service’s flagship documentary about the World Cup in Brazil. He contributed to The Good Immigrant, an award-winning collection of essays about race and immigration in the UK, and to Change Gonna Come, a compilation of poetry and prose which won a 2018 YA Book Prize Special Achievement Award from The Bookseller.
He has published one collection of poetry, “Eating Roses For Dinner”, to mark his first ten years as a poet. He has been commissioned to write poems for the BBC World Service, the Football Association and Manchester City, and he has performed his work, among others, at Latitude, Bestival and Glastonbury Festivals, at the Southbank Centre and BBC Broadcasting House, the Tällberg Forum and the Palace of Versailles, the latter for an audience of EU environment ministers. He is also a regular tutor of poetry and creative writing tutor at the prestigious Arvon Foundation in the United Kingdom, and has delivered a masterclass on writing poetry for Sky Arts.
Musa has several years of communications experience, having worked as the Director for Press and Communications at the Institute for Philanthropy in London and New York, As a consultant, he provides businesses and charities with carefully-tailored advice on their communications strategies, having arranged features for their work with some of the media’s most prominent organisations, including the BBC, The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times. He has also worked with large companies, including Sainsburys and Ogilvy & Mather, on how to improve the creativity of their staff and their projects.
Musa has lectured at several universities and institutions of higher learning, including Edinburgh University, Heinrich Heine University Dusseldorf, the Institute for Philosophical Progress, Wurzburg, Schloss St. Martin, Graz, and the University of Zurich. He has been profiled by several media outlets including Channel 4, the Financial Times, the Times, and fans of his work include J.K. Rowling and Kate Tempest, who has remarked that “Musa is precise and all-encompassing in the same line. His poetry is intimate and erudite, passionate and beautiful.”
Musa’s music has been featured by Okayafrica, Indieshuffle and The 405, has been played by BBC6 Music and Xfm, and has been praised by Q Magazine as “a brilliant 21st century culture clash…like a globe-straddling Mike Skinner”. Ed Sheeran has said of his work that “He writes from the heart with no filter, and that’s what the best wordsmiths do. I’m a fan.” Musa has recently signed a publishing deal with Berlin-based Bosworth Music, and is co-founder of BBXO, a duo who make a genre of music they describe as “‘future blues’ – music of defiant happiness at a time when so much around us is so bleak.” He lives and works in Berlin.