“Like a globe-straddling Mike Skinner.”
– Q Magazine
“His spoken word…is raw, authentic, sometimes brutally honest and beautifully optimistic.”
“Okwonga is both a renaissance man and football obsessive.”
– Simon Barnes, Chief Sports Writer, The Times, reviewing “A Cultured Left Foot”
“Musa amazed us, as within 24 hours, following a brief phone call, he had managed to write the perfect poem for our charity film. The poem Musa wrote tells the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust story brilliantly and we are so proud of the end result, especially Kelly.”
– Dame Kelly Holmes Trust
“Musa is extraordinary: charismatic, incisive, collaborative and dynamic. His guidance and momentum steadied our work for Kick It Out’s anti-homophobia campaign and made it actually happen. He was so shrewd. Quite simply, Musa made everything more effective.”
– Will Awdry, former Creative Director, Ogilvy and Mather
Musa Okwonga is a poet, author, sportswriter, broadcaster, musician, public relations consultant and commentator on current affairs, including culture, politics, sport, race, gender and sexuality. A scholarship student at Eton College, Musa studied law at Oxford University and then trained as a solicitor in the City before leaving the legal profession to pursue a career as a poet.
The winner of the 1996 WHSmith Young Writers Competition, Musa has been commissioned to write poems for the BBC World Service and the Football Association, and 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 has taught in several schools and has set his poetry to music, having collaborated with bass music producers LV, singer-songwriter Cerys Matthews and jazz musicians Arun Ghosh, Corey Mwamba and Soweto Kinch.
He 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. He has also written about football for The Blizzard and The New York Times, is a regular pundit for the BBC World Service, and currently writes about Manchester United for ESPN.
Musa contributes opinion pieces to Al-Jazeera America, The New Statesman, and The Independent on a range of issues, and has on several occasions been a guest on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme. He has been interviewed by Channel 4 News and Sky News, and he has given talks on social media and literature for BBC Radio 3 and 4, the latter at the Royal Society of Arts in London. He has also written for The Guardian, The New Humanist and the Financial Times.
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, and having acted as a consultant for Ogilvy & Mather. He provides companies and charities with carefully-tailored advice on their communications strategies, and he has arranged features for their work with some of the media’s most respected organisations, including the BBC, The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times.
Musa’s music has been featured by The Sunday Times, Drowned in Sound and Knowledge Magazine, 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”. He has also recorded an electronic EP, “The Nomadic”, with producer Greg Surmacz of Paper Tiger, to be released in 2015.
Profile photograph courtesy of Naomi Woddis (c) 2014.