Ghanaian book reviewers wanted

The following email came from the H-WEST-AFRICA list, which is part of the H-NET lists based at MSU (Michigan State University), and of course I immediately knew I should pass it on!

The Outreach Council of the African Studies Association is seeking Ghanaian reviewers for books about Ghana published in the U.S. and nominated for the 2010 Children’s Africana Book Awards:

If you are a Ghanaian scholar who is willing to review a book this year, please email the following information to Brenda Randolph <>…

Region of Africa or Country of Study:
E-Mail Address:
Mailing Address:
Phone Number:
Institution URL:
Personal URL:

So to all my Ghanaian reviewer colleagues, over to you!


African picture books and Osu Children’s Library Fund

Today I went to EPP to look for some Ghanaian/African picture books which a close family member had asked me to buy.  I did find a few though not as many as I would have liked, but I shouldn’t complain, as I am sure someone will be happy to have them.

Six out of the nine I bought were written and/or photographed by Kathy Knowles, of Osu Children’s Library Fund .  The books are attractive, with photos that very West African, and the language is relevant and straightforward, and appropriate to either learners or lewer level learners.  And for local parents and guardians they are reasonably priced as well.

The Osu Children’s Library Fund seeks to promote reading and literacy mostly through community libraries in Ghana.  It does have ties to Canada, as its founder is Canadian, but the beneficiaries are children and others trying to improve their literacy, often in what are called “deprived” areas here in Ghana.

Interestingly enough the Osu Library Fund, which is actually the name of the Ghanaian NGO, is now looking for a Ghanaian Country Manager, which will help in managing the libraries and other literacy programmes.  I hope people with an interest in children, in books, in reading, in literacy apply.

Africa Region finalists for the 2011 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize

Yes, as the headline says, the Africa Region finalists for the 2011 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize were announced recently, and here in Accra, too!  Not too surprisingly, I guess, as the Chair of the Africa Regional jury this year was Ajoa Yeboah-Afari, writer, journalist and most recently editor of The Ghanaian Times newspaper.

The Africa Region winners are:

  • Best Book: The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna (Sierra Leone)
  • Best First Book: Happiness is a four-letter word by Cynthia Jele (South Africa)

There was pretty good coverage online here in Ghana, with stories on the Ghana Government website and also on Ghanaweb .  OK, some of the headlines were a little unrealistic, or should I say overoptimistic, but still it is something.

My colleague bloggers and book lovers, ImageNations and Geosi Reads were quick to blog about the lists.  More power to them.  The more people who know about these achievements, the better.

And of course the more likely the books will become available to we omnivorous readers of contemporary African literature.  I am not surprised at the choice of the Aminatta Forna book; it has had pretty good reviews.  I guess I will just have to wait until the Jele book hits the international distribution circuit!