Showing posts from June, 2010

Ehalakasa TalkParty Plus--Be There or Nowhere

This Sunday, July 4, 2010, would be TalkParty Plus. TalkParty is a the name for the meeting of members of the Eha-lakasa poetry movement. Confused? Yes... the spirit moved some individuals in Ghana to take the literary scene, that has for sometime become lethargic, by thrust and literally push it with all the spiritual force it required. Sir Black, Nii Lante, Martin Egblewogbe and many others were there to plant the seed that has today grown to become a force so powerful and defining that it has become the face of the arts in Accra. And judging by the youthfulness of the participants, it is clear that the survival of Ghana's literary front is assured. If those who see themselves as having arrived (and who had always been mentioned whenever people talk about literature in Ghana) would not nurture the youth, the youth would nurture themselves and this is the pot where all the condiments and spices and leaves required for such brew is found. So back to the meeting. The Ehalakasa mov

After the Poetry Marathon by the Writers' Project of Ghana

The Writers' Project of Ghana, over the weekend, rolled out yet another of its series of workshops for writers in Ghana--this time dubbed 'A Day and Half Poetry Marathon'. Last weekend's edition is the third of its kind this year and focused on writing freely without any inhibitions as far as poetry is concerned.  The workshop saw many participants producing materials instantly at the workshop on the first day. The second day focused, however, on peer critiquing of one work produced by each participants with Dr. Mawuli Adzei, a writer and lecturer at the University of Ghana English Department, steering affairs. The project aims to improve the skills of writers, beginners, amateurs and 'already-made' writers. Report by Obed Sarpong, A Participant Poet, Writer, Radio Host and a Member of the Ehalakasa Poetry TalkParty.

Bloodlines from

Most of my postings had been from authors from the African continent in accordance to my agenda, which is to promote African Literature. Yet, there are some Africans and in diaspora and other African Americans whose works fall into the category of African Literature, most especially if the theme of the writings are related to Africans and some of the Authors also comes from the continent. One such book is Bloodlines. According to Veronica Henry, the editor of bloodlines and co-founder of, bloodlines is a collection of fourteen (14) short stories collected through a contest launched by the website, challenging writers to submit pieces that reflects the diverse imagery of our worldwide communities and featuring a main character of African descent. I had a short interview with her and these are what she had to say: What is the book about The book is actually a collection, spanning all genres (literary, mystery, sci-fi & fantasy, & romance) and subject matte

At the Night with Efua Sutherland

The Literary Night organised to celebrate the works and achievement of Efua T. Sutherland, author of the famous play Marriage of Anansewaa took place at the foyer of National Theatre. And to celebrate someone who worked hard to establish the Arts and through whose effort and works the National Theatre was established, at the foyer, and not the Main Hall, of the National Theatre shows the level of significance we, as a country, attach to the Arts in General. Most often certain individuals who think they are helping the literary front have taken the arts as another form of entertainment and therefore offer peanuts. They use it to unwind and destress rather than seeing it as a creative force with the capacity of changing the psyche of a whole nation and acting as a vehicle of change and progress. Besides, since no one would want to spend half of his entire earnings on entertainment the government has also made it a point not to spend an appreciable amount on the development of the Arts; a

Called by a Book

I went to the University of Ghana, specifically to the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness,  to check on some issues. While leaving, and I must say it was also drizzling, and having got to the main entrance, something questioned me whether I have visited the bookshop. And immediately two books came to mind: Osiris Rising and The Healers, both by Ayi Kwei Armah . The latter book I even voiced it out. The last time I went there I purchased Two Thousand Seasons and Fragments (by the same author). So I undertook the long walk back to the bookshop and there it was 'The Healers', sitting quietly in its rack, calling to me, saying pick me up please  and as an obedient Bibliophile I picked it up and began looking for its brother/sister, 'Osiris Rising'. But the latter, I could not find and I know it would call out to me wherever it is. The price tag of this book was Ghana Cedis 20 or about US$ 14. The Healers, Ayi Kwei Armah's fifth novel after Two Thous

Poetry Marathon at the University of Ghana

The Writers Project of Ghana is organising a day and half poetry workshop at the Reading Room of the Legon Hall at University of Ghana, Legon on 26th and 27th June 2010. There would be a poetry marathon on the first day and then on the second day written poems would be workshopped.  The time is 8:30 am to 5:00 pm on the 26th June, and 12' noon to 5:00 pm on the 27th June. If you are within the neighbourhood of Accra, kindly make it a point to attend. Come and let's push the literary front of Ghana. To confirm your participation please send an email to m.egblewogbe(at)gmail(dot)com.

Opening a Bookshop

I have had this passion for a very long time. A passion to open a bookshop that would sell literary books at a low price to literary followers. The idea would incorporate the holding of book readings, literary meetings and workshops and with time the hosting of literary events. With our own website and other programs, it would be possible to have bookclub for different age categories, book discussions and prizes so that we can encourage reading in Ghana and improve the literary front.  If you have such interest mail me at freduagyeman(at)yahoo(dot)com.

Listening to Kojo Laing from Big Bishop Roko and the Altar Gangsters

Today I bring you some quotes from Kojo Laing's latest novel, Big Bishop Roko and the Altar Gangsters . Destiny is such a selfish thing: it not only achieves itself when particular things happen, but also when the opposite of everything is realized. The minute you locked yourself in ultimate certainty you lost a great deal of your freedom. The minute you thought there was greater excitement in uncertainty and in determinacy then you were severely limiting your freedom. When all facts get finished you then entered the insights. The thing about divinity was that the minute you discovered or invented such presence, it took on a life of its own and exhorted worship and doctrine as constant means of re-creation and re-experience.

New Acquisitions

Last Friday I happen to pass by the Accra Mall, and the Silverbirds store attracted me. The books pulled me and without looking left or right I entered the store. In the store, I headed directly towards the African Fiction section and I was glad to see new books from established writers such as Atukwei Okai (Lorgoligi Logarithms and Oath of the Fontomfrom), Wole Soyinka and many others filling the spaces in the shelves. Whilst searching for nothing in particular I came across two books which I couldn't prevent myself from buying. There are books whose price tag, no matter how absurd they seem, cannot, in no way whatsoever, prevent the book-addict from buying. One such book was Chimamanda's The Thing Around Your Neck, though I think it was more out of pure passion to collect this author's works than the quality of the book, as I have not at that point in time read any synopsis of it. So in my search for nothing I came across Uwem Akpan's Say You're One of Th

Another Great Writer Has been Born--Irene Sabatini

My post on June 8, 2010 was titled ' The Zimbabwe I know '. In that post I bemoaned, partially, what has now become Zimbabwe; of the human right abuses and our complicity in it and our failure to recognise the good things that is Zimbabwe. I then went ahead to chastised people for treading the path of the media moguls for painting Zimbabwe dark. I especially talked about the literary talents that abound in Zimbabwe and the need for us to talk about it, shout about it and inform all. Today I have been vindicated. Whilst surfing the net, I came across the blog entry ' Zimbabwe Writer Wins 2010 Orange Award for New Writers ' at the blog ' Wealth of Ideas ' managed by Emmanuel Sigauke, co-editor for the first StoryTime anthology 'Africa Roar'. I was happy and quickly went ahead to read and checked out this wonderful author.  Irene Sabatini won her category with the book 'The Boy Next Door'. According to the Chair  Judge,  Di Speirs, &#

The Other Crucifix by Benjamin Kwakye

Benjamin Kwakye was born in Accra, Ghana. He attended Dartmouth College and then the Harvard Law School. His first novel The Clothes of Nakedness  was published by Heinemann in 1998 and it won the 1999 Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book (Africa Region). It was also adapted for radio as a BBC Play of the Week. His second novel, The Sun by Night  was published in 2005 by Africa World Press. It also won the 2006 Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book (Africa Region). Kwakye's latest novel The Other Crucifix , published by Ayebia Clarke Publishing would be released on June 30, 2010. Synopsis The Other Crucifix is a unique epic novel and a welcome addition to the existing genre on the African immigrant experience in America. The novel chronicles the minutiae of the American college experience. It reveals how the most intimate details of the recollection of the protagonist's immersion in that culture leads to his alienation from home and as the years pass

Quotes from Two Thousand Seasons

One book I enjoyed reading most is Two Thousand Seasons by Ayi Kwei Armah . Whilst reading the book I penned down some phrases that could serve as quotes and today I am serving you with some of these. Thus, in the coming days I would be bringing you quotes from different books I have read. A people losing sight of origins are dead. A people deaf to purposes are lost. Under fertile rain, in scorching sunshine there is no difference: their bodies are mere corpses, awaiting final burial. Woe the race, too generous in the giving of itself, that finds a road not of regeneration but to its own extinction. Woe the race, woe the spring. Woe the headwaters, woe the seers, the hearers, woe the utterers. Woe the flowing water, people hustling to death. It is not easy to hide any kind of love and young love loathes disguise. Dishonest words are the food for the rotten spirits. Purpose lends wings to the traveller. To them that know their destination fatigue is a brief stranger merely passin

The Zimbabwe I Know

Since the day Chinua Achebe published is classic novel, Things Fall Apart , African literature has enjoyed a stupendous growth that had our economies progressed along such trajectory, even at an infinitesimal level, we sure would be amongst the world's 'haves' and not amongst the 'have nots' as we currently find ourselves. Chimamanda Adichie has professed of the inspiration she got from this book and that it was this book that made her know that people with skin colour like hers can also be in books.  In recent times news about and/or form Zimbabwe have always been political with some humanitarian  tragedy or human rights abuse twist to it. It is difficult to hear these media talking about the the greatness of this nation of stones, about the talents that abound in the country. And whilst these media giants are eagerly propagating the negatives, because that is where the news is juicy, we also follow their trail and talk negatively about it. About the human rights

Speaking for the Generations: An Anthology of Contemporary African Short Stories

Once again a new anthology has been published. Yes, African literature is on the rise and we hope that this momentum would be maintained. The names alone speak for itself, for the future of African writing is secure and safe.  This is a forty-eight-story anthology by 15 African writers. This anthology aims to represent the best of contemporary African short stories written in English. Some of the writers are Benjamin Kwakye, Tijan Sallah, Zahra Ramij, Freddy Macha, Arja Salafranca, Odun Balogun, Tanure Ojaide, Jackee Budesta Batanda, Lola Shoneyin, Mohamed Said Raihani and Omar Akikli. The younger generation has also been represented and these include Kondwani Kamiyala, Ayobami Adebayo, Prince Mensah, Dipita Kwa, and Khadija El Younossi. The anthology was edited by Dike Okoro, who is a Professor of English and World Literature at the Olive-Harvey College. Read the full report here.... . Get your copy from this link...

The Old and the New, Women Writers in Africa

I have been surfing and reading some stories on the net today and I would want to share with you these two authors who have entertained readers with good novels and plays. One is amongst the old generation of writers, in the class of the Achebe's and Soyinka's and the other is amongst the new generation of authors, and both are women. Ama Ata Aidoo (author of ' Anowa' and ' The Dilemma of the Ghost ') recently visited Nigeria and was interviewed by Molara Wood . This is an interesting and intellectual interview that digs deep into the author. She talks about her life's works, her present work, her thoughts concerning the new generation of authors and the problem with the literary arts in Ghana. She also talked about her childhood, the influence of Efua Sutherland and many others. Read the full interview here.... Chimamanda Adichie (Author of ' Half of a Yellow Sun ' and ' The Thing Around Your Neck ') has also been interviewed on Oprah.c

My Own First Attempt by Felix Brambaifa

Not many writers get the chance to get their work published. The publishing industry is almost as impregnable as anything one can think of, especially to writers of fiction and poetry. In this capitalist oriented world that we live in, publishers would want to publish works that would give them the highest returns. This has left most potential authors, including this writer, to their own fate. However, if one should breakthrough they troop to publish everything he or she would write.  Whereas some become bitter and leave the writing scene altogether or even write only for a select few, those whom he can read to, others also take the painstaking approach of self-publication. One thing about such a path is that promotion of the published book becomes a problem. Felix Brambaifa is one of such authors who has taken upon himself, the tortuous and arduous task of self publishing his book. And he has done it. Yes! Mr. Brambaifa has published is very first book titled 'My Own First Attem

Various Reviews of Nnedi Okorafor's Who Fears Death

I have been talking about Nnedi's Who Fears Death for sometime. Though I have not yet read this novel, those who have have reviewed it and praised it. Again it falls within the agenda of ImageNations as a medium of promoting African Literature. I saw these various reviews on Nnedi's official website and I have decided to bring it to you. You can read my blog entry of Nnedi's Who Fears Death here . Publishers Weekly : Well-known for young adult novels ( The Shadow Speaks; Zahrah the Windseeker ), Okorafor sets this emotionally fraught tale in postapocalyptic Saharan Africa. The young sorceress Onyesonwu--whose name means "Who fears death?"--was born Ewu, bearing a mixture of her mother's features and those of the man who raped her mother and left her for dead in the desert. ( Click here to continue reading the review ). New York Journal of Books:   In post-apocalyptic Africa in the Seven Rivers Kingdom, there are two peoples: the Nuru and the Okeke. The Grea

Africa-wide Short Story Call Out by Kwani

Kwani Trust (meaning Why Not?), is dedicated to nurturing and developing Kenya’s and Africa’s intellectual, creative and imagination resources through strategic literary interventions. In this regard, especially to the latter, Kwani Press is calling out for Short Stories from all over Africa.  Submission criteria: Deadline: 31st June 2010 Word count: 3000 – 8000 words. Theme: ‘The Africa I Live In’. This is adult fiction (in the sense that it is not ‘children’s fiction’).   Since we are targeting a certain generation, we will only accept entries from writers born after 1978. The work ought to be in English or ‘Englishes’ – particularly since we are not making translations. The story must be ‘new’ in the sense that it is ‘unpublished in book form’ (We will accept submissions which have previously been published in magazines.) Please send submissions by email, attached as a WORD doc, to Published authors will be paid a fee of $100.