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Waithĩra (waithera) Mbuthia-Protano is a native of Kenya. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English from Jersey City State College and a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration from Teachers College, Columbia University. She is a New York State certified English teacher, who has taught in high schools in the New York City Schools System and Westchester County as an English teacher as well as an adjunct lecturer at the City University of New York. Waithĩra’s various essays, poetry, African folktales, children’s stories and translations have appeared in literary journals and contemporary magazines, such as Confrontation, The Literary Review, Crosscurrents, Bomb and Essence. Some works have been published under “Waithĩra Mbuthia” and “Waithĩra Mbuthia Karanja.” In the year 2000, Soundprints publishers commissioned Waithĩra to write a children’s book as part of a Make friends Around the World series, dedicated to “promoting the understanding of different cultures among young readers.” The result was My sister’s wedding: A story of Kenya (2002), which talks about one of the ways the Agĩkũyũ (agekoyo) people get married.
In July 2004, Waithĩra won a grant from the International Center for Writing and Translation (ICWT) at the University of California, Irvine, to translate some poems by Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes and Pablo Neruda as well as Aesop’s fables and folktales from different parts of Africa into Gĩkũyũ (gekoyo) language. A storyteller, public speaker and an active contributor to—and one of the editors for—Mũtiiri, a Gĩkũyũ literary journal founded and edited by Kenyan writer, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Waithĩra is fluent in spoken as well as written Gĩkũyũ and Kiswahili languages.
For the past several years, Waithĩra has worked as a substitute teacher in the White Plains City School District, while pursuing her love of writing and other personal endeavors.