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Writing, media and spoken word
Akpata is a graduate of Carleton University and holds a degree in English literature. He has hosted the show "Monday Night Scribes" on CHUO 89.1 FM since January 2004 and was a columnist for Ottawa Xpress from 2004 to 2006. He was named Ottawa's best writer/poet by the 2005 Ottawa Xpress Readers' Poll for his columns, freelance articles and spoken word poetry performances.
John Akpata was a member of Ottawa's first-ever poetry slam team to travel to Chicago to participate in the U.S. National Poetry Slam in 2003. The following year he was a member of the Ottawa Slam Team at the 2004 Canadian Spoken Wordlympics (now called the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word, or CFSW) in Ottawa. At that festival, he placed second in the World Individual Finals. He was also the Ottawa regional winner of the CBC Poetry Face-Off in 2004 with his poem "Belonging". In 2005 he was the first Capital Slam champion and competed on the Ottawa Slam Team that finished third at CFSW 2005 in Vancouver, British Columbia. Akpata was the manager of the 2007 Ottawa Slam Team that participated in CFSW 2007 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Most recently, Akpata was once again a member of the Capital Slam team when they won the National Slam Championship in Ottawa at CFSW 2010.
Akpata appeared on the 2005, 2006 and 2010 Live at Capital Slam spoken word compilation CD recordings of Ottawa slam poetry and has released two solo CD recordings—the EP Phoure Twennie in June 2004 and the full-length CD Kerheb in October 2005, which was completed with funding from the [Canada Council for the Arts]. Akpata also plays bass and appears as a guest vocalist and poet on "The House of Words" by Free Will, an Ottawa spoken word artist.
Since then, Akpata's performance credits include the CD release party for Kerheb in March 2006, he represented Canada on the Four Continents Slam, a fourteen city tour across the United Kingdom, an "all-star" appearance in the 2007 Ottawa CBC Poetry Face-Off, and a feature performance at the 2007 Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest.
Akpata is a member of the Marijuana Party of Canada and was a candidate in three federal elections. In 2004, Akpata ran in the federal constituency of Ottawa South, where he won 495 votes. He ran twice in the riding of Ottawa Centre, where he attracted 386 votes in 2006, 378 votes in 2008 and 326 votes in 2011.