Kenyan poet, scriptwriter, and editor Clifton Gachagua was born and raised in Nairobi and earned his undergraduate degree in biomedical science at Maseno University.
In his poems, Gachagua engages themes of intimacy, betrayal, and shifting landscapes. His debut poetry collection, The Madman at Kilifi (2014), was chosen for the inaugural Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets by the African Poetry Book Fund & Series. In his foreword to the collection, poet Kwame Dawes stated, “Gachagua’s poems are urgently present; they emerge out of sources like the radio, newspaper, television, as well as street stories and rumours. They seek to chart a changing society and while the effort is largely impossible to accomplish, the gesture is important. One of Gachagua’s whimsical speakers describes himself as a “cartographer of water,” and in this Gachagua seems to have found the fit metaphor for his art—quixotic, absurd, and yet necessary.” “Writing poetry […] has been about finding a way to live and sustain my life,” said Gachagua in a 2014 interview with Evan Mwangi for the Standard Digital News (Kenya). “There are certain ways language can make life’s obscurities, pains, and incoherence map-able. That’s always what I’m after.”
Gachagua is a member of the pan-African writing collective Jalada. A writer for the broadcast television shows Sumu La Penzi and Jane & Abel, he lives in Nairobi.
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