A personal list of key Ghanaian authors

I have been making a list of Ghanaian authors who do creative writing/fiction/plays/poetry and these are the ones I came up with.  It is very much a personal list, and I have read most of them.

NB:  This is work in progress, and I am more than happy to admit that I will have forgotten some people.  Most long works are available via Amazon – though sometimes it may not be the US Amazon, but the UK or Canadian one!   For short stories I have not indicated any collections, for which I do apologize in advance.

Older writers (many are deceased)

  • Kobina Sekyi:  The Blinkards ( play)
  • Ayi Kwei Armah:  The beautyful ones are not yet bornTwo thousand seasonsThe healersFragments (plus some literary criticism, which I have not included)
  • Amu Djoleto:  The strange manMoney GaloreHurricane of dust + some children’s books
  • Efua Sutherland: Marriage of AnansewaEdufa, Voice in the forest  – Wrote plays mostly
  • Francis Selormey:  Narrow Path
  • Kofi Awoonor: This earth my brother + some non-fiction
  • Mawugbe, Efo Kojo:  The prison graduate .  Wrote plays mostly

Older (in age) and still active

  • Ama Ata Aidoo:  Changes, Our sister Killjoy, Anowa, Dilemma of a ghost, No sweetness here, Diplomatic pounds and other stories, African love stories (ed)Angry letter in January
  • Kojo Laing : Search sweet country, Woman of the aeroplanes, Big Bishop Roko and the alter gangsters, Major Gentl and the Achimota wars
  • Manu Herbstein :  Ama, Brave music of a distant drum 
  • Atukwei Okai: Poet
  • Kofi Anyidoho : The place we call home, Praise song for the land.  Poet

More contemporary (part of Ghanaian diaspora)

  • Benjamin Kwakye: The clothes of nakedness, The sun by night, The other crucifix
  • Nii Ayikwei Parkes: Tail of the blue bird, The makings of you
  • Mohammed Naseehu Ali : Prophet of Zongo Street and other stories
  • Kwei J Quartey: Wife of the gods, Children of the street 
  • Yaba Badoe :  True murder
  • Marilyn Heward Mills: Cloth girl, The association of foreign spouses
  • Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond: Powder necklace
  • Akosua Busia:  Seasons of beento blackbird
  • Lesley Lokko: Sundowners, Bitter chocolate, One secret summer, A private affair, Rich girl, poor girl.  Architect, who also writes chick lit
  • Selasi Taiye : Ghana must go (To be published in 2012) + well acclaimed short stories
  • Esi Edugyan:  Half-blood blues, The second life of Samuel Tyne.  Canadian, born of Ghanaian immigrants
  • Glover, Boakyewaa:  Circles
  • Kuukua Dzigbordi Yomekpe:  Writing memoir; creative non-fiction mostly

More contemporary (living in Ghana)

  • Amma Darko:  The housemaid, Faceless, Beyond the horizon, Not without flowers
  • Camynta Baezie:  The African agenda 
  • G A Agambila:  Journey
  • Ayesha Harruna Attah:  Harmattan rain
  • Meri Nana-Ama Danquah: The black body, Willow weep for me, Shaking the tree, Becoming American.  Writes mostly non-fiction
  • Farida Bedwei: Definition of a miracle
  • Mamle Kabu:   writes short stories
  • Franka Andoh:  writes short stories
  • Alba Konadu Sumprim :  The imported Ghanaian, A place of beautiful nonsense.  Both are satirical
  • Kofi Akpabli: A sense of savannah, Tickling the Ghanaian.  Writes creative non-fiction
  • Nana Awere Damoah:  Tales from different tails, Excursions in my mind, Through the gates of thought

Non-Ghanaians (with close associations to Ghana)

  • Ellen Banda-Aaku:  Patchwork, Wandi’s little secret.  Also writes short stories
  • Fiona Leonard:  The chicken thief 
  • Sarah Mussi: Door of no return, The last of the warrior kings.  Teen/children’s fiction

What do you think of this list?


52 thoughts on “A personal list of key Ghanaian authors

  1. An excellent list….what about those writers who have written columns, features, op-eds and the rest of such stuff and SHONE for years with blinding brilliance. Sometimes they impacted the popular consciousness even more than the “book” writers.

    Older, some deceased

    Paul Ansah’s column in the Ghanaian Chronicle. A masterpiece which took on the powers that be without flinching.

    Cameron Dodoo has been active in a variety of media especially magazines like The New African.

    Kwesi Yankah’s Woes of Kwatriot column was a regular staple of the Mirror. Satire at its most witty.

    Eben Quarcoo’s pieces lit up the pages of Tommy Thompson’s(cannot remember the name) newspaper.

    Contemporary, active; semi-active
    Kwaku Addo Sakyi-Addo his column Back to Kokomlele which appeared regularly in the Ghanaian Chronicle was sublime; his last column which appeared in the Accra Daily Mail was called Rear View. He has written tomes of work for Economist, the Guardian, BBC Focus on Africa magazine, etc.

    Alhaji Harruna Atta’s Taking Issues Column which appeared regularly in the Statesman was crafted in the heavens. Irreverent, pulsating and a sheer delight of penmansip he affected the national conscience week after week with his biting pieces which spoke bitter truth to power.

    Gabby Otchere-Darko’s Quanawu Column also appeared in the Statesman newspapers. Acrid, blazing and very sweetly crafted pieces. Gabby is still very active in the Daily Guide newspaper.

    Audrey Gadzekpo’s pieces appeared in the Chronicle newspaper and the Mirror as well. She tended to deal with weighty policy matters and the mundane, commonsensical stuff that politicos simply missed.

    Baffour Ankomah whose trenchant pieces appear in the New African magazine.

    • And as I mentioned on your blog there are those who used to write columns for the Pioneer newspaper in Kumasi: Antiochus (the late Joe Appiah) and Yaa Asantewaa (Valerie Sackey before she moved to the Castle)

  2. This is a good list, a resource for those who want to read some Ghanaian Literature. Now there is no excuse. I’ve read some of them but definitely not 50%.

    I’ll add Elizabeth-Irene Baetie: A Saint in Brown Sandals; & The Twelfth Heart.

  3. A fine list. I’ve read a good number of the works mentioned. The late Efo Kojo Mawugbe was famous for the paly In the Chest of a Woman, which was omitted.
    I remember Kobena Eyi Acquah, a poet, Kwakuvi Azasu for the The Stool, Kate Abbam of Obaa Sima fame and Asare Bediako for A Woman in Her Prime. Asabea Ashun, for Mistress of the Game and Serwaa Akoto’s Diary. (The authour lives in Canada)

    • I am really happy to hear of more Ghanaian authors – definitely I missed out several who write/wrote for younger readers. And also to discover more Ghanaian book lovers who blog/tweet

  4. I am very pleased to see how ghanaian authors have been able to achieve such an aim like that THANK ALL

  5. i’d like to ask whether these authors write in english or in local ghanian languages. this is something that interests me v. much because my discussion group on goodreads is just now discussing kwei quartey’s Children of the Street and we find ourselves having little knowledge of ghanian literature. please feel free to come by and say hi!

    • Giovanna: All the authors on my personal list write in English. Generally this is the case for Ghanaian authors as English is the official language, and starts being taught in primary school. In some families, it is even one of the first languages spoken by children. Of course most Ghanaians do speak one or more local languages, but there is very little written material available, apart from that which is used for literacy training. I hope that helps. BTW: I have been reading the comments on the Quartey book on Goodreads. I have a copy, though I haven’t read this one yet. But it will happen – eventually!

  6. Catherine McKinley spent sometime in Ghana and wrote a book sometime ago about textiles I think…Ghana’s own Kofi Annan just released a book/his memoir, and you should also check out Ben Hinson; he is a Ghanaian/Nigerian/American, he writes and performs poetry in New York and will be releasing a novel on mercenaries in Africa in 2013, a book I’m personally eager to read: http://www.benhinson.com

    • Filipe: Thanks for your comment. Re McKinley’s book: yes I have read this, though I am not really sure I would include her in my list of Ghanaian authors, though I know she spent some time here. As for Kofi Annan’s book – I have seen it, though not yet read it. I believe it is going to be launched here in Ghana during the first week in January. And thanks for the tip regarding Ben Hinson’s forthcoming book. I look forward to reading it.

    • Thanks for your comment on the omission. Next time, I will make sure that I add A woman in her prime, by Asare Konadu

  7. I found who killed Nancy by Asare Konadu in my father’s pile in my primary school years. It was riveting as I came face to face with a familiar Ghanaian story through the book’s pages. Someone mentioned “a woman in her prime” also by this same author. I would summon all my friends to read it after I chanced upon it in my secondary school library. A book I strongly feel should reach a wider audience through the big screen for its poignant Ghanaian soul. Can’t remember the author but the book is called “Bediako the adventure”. Another great book that should be on this list.

  8. That is a nice list but you did miss out some wonderful playwrights, like The story Ananse Told and The Legend of Aku Sika and many others by Prof. Martin Owusu as well as Dear Blood, Sikaman and Demon Crazy and many others by Dr. Victor Yankah

    • Thanks for your additions. My knowledge of Ghanaian plays is somewhat limited – to put it mildly.

  9. please can you help me get a Ghanaian comedy play that involves music and dance, rituals and other elements of customs,culture and tradition with the exception of The Marriage Of Anansewa

  10. I am greatful for these list of novel writers but am a young boy who have just written one but dont know the procedures to publish one.i need help.Please

    • May I suggest that you approach the Ghana Association of Writers for advice? Also look online for publishers of books that are similar to yours.

    • I’m not sure if Meri Nana-Ama Danquah is living in Ghana at this moment, but she does seem to have been here quite a bit over the last few years.

    • Not sure what you are looking for. Presumably you are the reader, so you should have some of your own ideas? All the best.

  11. Please I am an author but unknown. I have written many books and want some one to help. I write poems,inspirational books and religious books. Who can I contact to help me?

    • See if you can talk to the Ghana Association of Writers or the Writers Project of Ghana. They may have advice for young aspiring writers. Obviously you actually have to write, and write, and write. Publish online – in a blog or whatever. Publish in newspapers. Publish in magazines. All the best.

  12. what about Mohammed Ben-Abdallah: the fall of kumbi, the slaves, the witch of Mopti, the verdict of the Cobra, the trial of mall am Ilya and the land of a million magicians.

  13. Hi
    Im not a Ghanaian born writer – but I lived in Ghana for a period of time – and I wrote this politicall thriller that I call “From your man in Accra” -it takes place in Accra and is about Ghanians:
    Maybe you would like to check it out too…..

    Sincerely Christina Aaboe

  14. I am a person who has been writing poems since JHS to date, I have written 5000 poems n am still it, I need help

  15. Hello.you know where(bookshop) i could find Ama Ata Aidoo’s Diplomatic pounds and Out Sister Killjoy ? I have been roaming everywhere in Accra and Tema.please .thanks

    • I know that Vidya Book Store (just off 18th Lane in Osu) did have some copies, but I am not sure about now. If you are willing to wait, you could order a copy. Otherwise the Writers Project of Ghana does hold readings every month (last Wednesday usually at the Goethe Institut) and they do have books for sale.

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