PhiloIkonyaPhilo Ikonya is a prolific Kenyan poet and novelist proud of her rural and urban roots. With studies in Literature, Linguistics and Philosophy of Education, Ikonya worked for most of her career as a journalist, teacher and human rights activist in Kenya.


She is on the board for the Kenyan chapter of PEN (Poets, Essayists and Novelists) International. Ikonya was between 2007 and 2009, brutally arrested several times for speaking out against corruption and the foiling of freedom of expression in her country. Subsequently, she has been exiled in Oslo, Norway since November 2009, and has been described by fellow poet and human rights activist Shailja Patel, as “rejecting silence and refusing simplification as she battles corruption.”


Ikonya has authored poems translated into German and published in a bilingual edition titled Out of Prison: Love Songs, and This Bread of Peace. Her third novel,The Nightbird Still Sings, as well as a volume of poems titled Silent Horizons, are soon to be published. She has written books for young readers, including the titles We met a grasshopper and The Lost Gazelle, among others.

Ikonya is also the author of two novels Kenya, Will You Marry Me? and Leading the Night, which is set to be released in Germany and Austria this year.


From her commitment to human rights and the contribution of women and girls, to the recognition of Africa as a rich continent, Ikonya is a fearless author whose fiction - inspired by Africa and the world - remains devoted to activist efforts.

Ikonya writes in English, Kiswahili and Gikuyu and speaks Spanish and Norwegian. She is a blogger and an avid user of social media.