Place of birth
Place of residence
United Kingdom
National identity
United Kingdom

Nick Makoha

Short biography
Poet Nick Makoha's debut, Kingdom of Gravity, was shortlisted for the 2017 Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection. His poems appear in anthologies such as Being Human, Seven New Generation African Poets, Ten: New poets from Spread the Word, and numerous magazines including The Poetry Review, Rialto, and the Boston Review. He lives in London.

Nick Makoha fled Uganda's civil war and Idi Amin's tyranny as a boy. The childhood hobby of poetry gave way to a sense of vocation when he completed a degree in biochemistry in the UK. On daring to quit his London banking job, he set fire to his suits. He says, 'I did this to remind me that I did not want an easy way back. I wanted to give my all to the art of writing.'

He has lived in Kenya, Saudi Arabia and currently resides in London. He represented Uganda at Poetry Parnassus as part of the Cultural Olympiad held in London. A former Writer in Residence for Newham Libraries, his 1-man-Show My Father & Other Superheroes debuted to sold-out performances at 2013 London Literature Festival and is currently on tour. He has been a panelist at both the inaugural Being a Man Festival (Fatherhood: Past, Present & Future) and Women of the World Festival, (Bringing Up Boys).

In 2005 award-winning publisher Flippedeye launched its pamphlet series with his debut The Lost Collection of an Invisible Man. A selection of poems from The Kingdom Of Gravity appeared in the pamphlet The Second Republic as part of the anthology Seven New Generation African Poets (Slapering Hol Press). Nick was joint winner of the 2015 Brunel African Poetry prize and has poems that appear in the The Poetry Review, Rialto, The Triquarterly Review and the Boston Review. His poem “Beatitude” is the newest addition to Being Human the third book in the Staying Alive poetry trilogy.

Makoha was one of ten writers on a programme called The Complete Works, a national two-year development programme for 10 advanced Black and Asian poets. During the programme, he was mentored by eminent poet George Szirtes. The Complete Works culminated in September of 2010 with an anthology Ten: New poets from Spread the Word (Bloodaxe Press), edited by Bernardine Evaristo and Daljit Nagra. Szirtes’s description of Nick’s poems offers an excellent insight: “There is in Makoha’s work an intriguing balance between the immediate and the stately that fits his material and offers possibilities for expansion and further exploration. All that – his personal history, the history of his country and the leaving of it – suggests to me a talent at the beginning of a genuinely important road.”