Earlier this month, I posted briefly about all the literary activities that were going to take place in Accra. I guess it is really time to talk about how I took part.
I didn’t attend Taiye Selasi’s first event at Taverna Tropicana on 16 July; I was at a meeting instead. But I heard it was fun, there was good music, a youngish crowd, and there were books for sale!
Selasi’s reading on 17 July was definitely a more up-market affair, taking place at Villa Monticello. I saw a couple of ambassadors and their spouses, plus various Ghanaian literary personalities were around. Entertainment journalist/blogger Ameyaw Debrah has not only coverage of the event (including some photos – including one which includes yours truly!), plus a copy of a review of the book. Definitely worth looking at. The venue was packed – maybe 100 people? and many more were turned away, which I suspect was disappointing for them. Fortunately I had bought a copy of Ghana must go while on holiday, so at least I was able to get it autographed. Those who thought they would be able to buy copies were not so lucky however, as I heard later that the books hadn’t yet been cleared from the airport! [I think I have mentioned this issue before?]
I was very lucky to hear Taiye Selasi speak at an after dinner discussion on 18 July at the Yale event, From success to significance. This was not a reading, but more or less an extended interview, giving those of us lucky enough to be present a further insight into some of her lifetime decisions – including that of becoming a writer. Very complementary to the readings of the day before!
And to top off the week, there was the African Writers Evening on 19 July at Sytris. Featured were: Nigerian writer Chibundu Onuzo and Martin Egblewogbe, with Nii Ayikwei Parkes in the chair! Onuzu gave the second of her Accra readings (the first one took place on 17 July – which of course I missed as I was attending Taiye Selasi’s reading), with excerpts from her first novel The spider king’s daughter, while Martin Egblewogbe (of Writers Project of Ghana, among others) reading from some of his unpublished short stories. Luckily I was able to buy a copy of Onuzo’s book. Although I enjoyed the event, ultimately I thought it was too short! Definitely a compliment then.