Omotara James was born in Great Britain to Nigerian and Trinidadian parents. Though she was raised primarily in the United States, she has also lived in England and Scotland. James earned a BA in creative writing from Hofstra University and an MFA in poetry from New York University.
James is the author of Song of My Softening (Alice James Books, 2022) and Daughter Tongue (Akashic Books, 2018), selected for the New Generation African Poets Box Set by the African Poetry Book Fund. She has been awarded grants, fellowships, and scholarships from City Artist Corps, Lambda Literary, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Palm Beach Poetry Festival, and the Cave Canem Foundation. James has also received the 92Y/Discovery Poetry Prize, the Nancy P. Schnader Academy of American Poets Prize, the Bread Loaf Katharine Bakeless Nason Award in Poetry, and the 2023 J. Howard and Barbara M. J. Wood Prize, among other honors.
Having worked as both an art therapist and a social worker in the field of harm reduction, James has led workshops at NYU, The 92Y Unterberg Poetry Center, the Cave Canem Foundation, Queens Public Library, and elsewhere. Currently, James is an editor and teacher of poetry and lives in New York City.