Johnnierenee Nia Nelson


Award-winning writer Johnnierenee Nia Nelson has written five books of Kwanzaa poetry. Her first, “A Quest for Kwanzaa”, published in 1988, was heralded as the authoritative genesis of Kwanzaa literature. “Classic Kwanzaa Poems: New and Selected” is her latest work.

A poet/teacher for both California Poets in the Schools and San Diego’s Border Voices Project, as well as a performance poet, Johnnierenee has presented readings and workshops from Cairo, Egypt to Vancouver, British Columbia. Ms. Nelson was featured at the fifth Annual El Cajon Friendship Festival with her creation “A Taste of Kwanzaa” and on two KPBS shows, “These Days” and “The Lounge.” She also performed at San Diego City College in collaboration with Urban Bush Women. Her video credits include the Emmy-Award-winning documentary, “Lighting the Way” and KPBS’ acclaimed “Border Voices” TV show.

Ms. Nelson serves as the World Beat Center’s poet-in-residence and is currently the San Diego County Area-Coordinator for California Poets in the Schools. In 2017, Ms. Nelson received a Felllowship from the Livingkindness Foundation to attend the International Women Writers Guild’s (IWWG) 40th Annual Summer Conference in Allentown, PA.