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okokon family portrait

Theresa Okokon is a Pushcart Prize nominated essayist. A Wisconsinite living in New England, she is a writer, a storyteller, and the co-host of Stories From The Stage. In addition to writing and performing her own stories, Theresa also teaches storytelling and writing workshops and classes, coaches other tellers, hosts story slams, and frequently emcees events for nonprofits. An alum of both the Memoir Incubator and Essay Incubator programs at GrubStreet, Theresa's memoir in essays about memory, family stories, and the death of her father -- WHO I ALWAYS WAS-- is available NOW on preorder, and officially publishes with Atria Books at Simon & Schuster on February 4, 2025.

Theresa's essays (and bathroom selfies!) have appeared in midnight & indigo, ELLE, the Independent, WBUR's Cognoscenti, and Her essay Me Llamo Theresa, published by Hippocampus Magazine and nominated for a 2020 Pushcart Prize, was named among the Top Essays of the Week by Longreads and The Rumpus.

Theresa Instagrams gorgeous cocktails, food porn, and pics about Blackness, fatness, and her very cute senior dog at @ohh.jeezzz. She believes very seriously in capitalizing the B in Black and the W in White, and you can read more about that here, with Kwame Anthony Appiah.


Who I Always Was: a memoir

available February 4, 2025

For fans of Aftershocks and How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America, a gripping and deeply honest memoir in essays, this debut collection sets out to answer the universal question of: Why am I like this?

When Theresa Okokon was nine, her father traveled to his hometown in Nigeria to attend his mother’s funeral…and never returned. His mysterious death shattered Theresa as her family’s world unraveled. Now a storyteller and television cohost, Okokon sets out to explore the ripple effects of that profound loss and the way heartache shapes our sense of self and of the world—for the rest of our lives.

Using her grief and her father’s death as a backdrop, Okokon delves deeply into intrinsic themes of Blackness, African spirituality, family, abandonment, belonging, and the seemingly endless, unrequited romantic pursuits of a Black woman who came of age as a Black girl in Wisconsin suburbs where she was—in many ways—always an anomaly.


Stories From The Stage

"YOLO! White Water Rafting in Ecuador"

Expressing Motherhood

"My Hair"

Find more videos here:
  • YouTube

Fugitive Stories

"The Rocking Chair"


Risk! Podcast

"At Least I Want to Try"


atac Process Talk

"Using Audio to Edit the Written Word"

GBH Ask the Expert

"Storytelling with Cheryl Hamilton, hosted by Theresa Okokon"

To reach me about writing, teaching, coaching, hosting, or other professional endeavors:

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