Chinaka Hodge is a poet, educator, playwright, and screenwriter. Originally from Oakland, California, she graduated from NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study in May of 2006, and was honored to be the student speaker at the 174th Commencement exercise. In 2010, Chinaka received USC’s prestigious Annenberg Fellowship to continue her studies at its School of Cinematic Arts. She received her MFA in Writing for Film and TV in 2012. In the fall of that year, she received the SF Foundation’s Phelan Literary Award for emerging Bay Area talent. Chinaka was also a 2012 Artist in Residence at The Headlands Center for the Arts in Marin, CA. In January 2013, Hodge was a Sundance Feature Film Lab Fellow for her script, 700th&Int’l. In June of 2013 Chinaka began as a first year fellow at Cave Canem’s prestigious summer retreat.
For over a decade, Hodge has worked in various capacities at Youth Speaks/The Living Word Project, the nation’s leading literary arts nonprofit. During her tenure there, Chinaka served as Program Director, Associate Artistic Director, and worked directly with the core population of Youth Speaks as a teaching artist and poet mentor. She has acted in comparable capacities in New York and Los Angeles at Urban Word NYC and Get Lit: Words Ignite. When not educating or writing for the page, Chinaka rocks mics as a founding member of a collaborative Hip Hop ensemble, The Getback. Her poems, editorials, interviews and prose have been featured in Newsweek, San Francisco Magazine, The Believer Magazine, PBS, NPR, CNN, C-Span, and in two seasons of HBO’s Def Poetry.