Two weeks of non-stop bookish activities

It’s been a fairly busy two weeks, and for those of us interested in books and information, there have been
lots of events going on – in addition to work related stuff!

2013 Burt prize winners - coversFirst there was the Burt Award for African Literature. This covered the winning Ghanaian books for 2013.  I admit I arrived late – but I didn’t miss too much of the programme, which had, it seemed, more or less started on time [which is great]. The speeches were OK, with William Burt, the Canadian who funded the Burt awards, talking about the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew series of books! That really brought back some of my early reading.

Naturally I bought copies of the prize winning books:

  1. Perfectly imperfect, by Ruby Yayra Goka (1st prize)
  2. Ossie’s dream, by Nanayaa Amankwah (2nd prize)
  3. The boy who spat in Sargrenti’s eye, by Manu Herbstein (3rd prize)

The first and third prize winners have been prize winners before.  The occasion was covered by the press, though not in its entirety as usual.

Then the day after, actually in the same venue – British Council – there was the launch and showing of the documentary The art of Ama Ata Aidoo. The film, by Yaba Badoe, was pretty interesting, though perhaps a little bit long. But illuminating especially if one has read or wants to read some of Ama Ata Aidoo’s work. I did not too surprisingly buy one of Aidoo’s books, No sweetness here - coverwhich has recently been republished here in Ghana.  There’s a great account of the launch here.

Another event was the yearly GAWBOFEST (Ghana Association of Writers Book Festival). Not exactly my favourite event, but maybe that is because I always tend to go to buy books, and get slightly disappointed at the range available. I also find that the long speeches in the morning session must be pretty boring for the children who attend, but then I admit that I don’t stay that long to see what happens during the rest of the day. Yet it is an event that I would wish to continue, just simply because there need to be more opportunities to see books, to buy them, and to talk about reading and writing.

I also went to the September Ghana Voices reading, organized by the Writers Project of Ghana. This month it was Benjamin Kwakye, who it turns out I have met before – though I am ashamed to say that I didn’t remember this. I was also annoyed with myself because I forgot to take copies of his books with me to be autographed!  [Too many things to remember on this day]

The September gathering of the Accra Book Club also took place during these two weeks – our read was the somewhat confusing, well-reviewed thriller, The shining girls, by Lauren Beukes.  Although I enjoyed reading it, it was a little confusing, and talking about it certainly clarified my understanding of this novel about a time-travelling serial killer, and the plucky victim who chased him.

All these activities included a fair bit of book buying – nine books in total – mainly because it is still difficult to buy certain titles as book shops with the kind of stock I like remain very few and far between here in Accra. I even managed to buy one of Ghanaian/American author Kwei Quartey’s books which has been on my wish list for several months.  Murder at Cape Three Points  - cover

As well as these events, I was also away from my usual work location, attending a couple of meetings and a workshop, all connected with the consortium of libraries my workplace belongs to.

On the work side, I was away from campus, attending a couple of meetings and a workshop, all related to CARLIGH (Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Ghana).

Now I have to write up two sets of minutes, plus an evaluation of the workshop.  Plus of course get back into the work swing of things!  Definitely no rest for some of us!

 

Advertisements

Ama Ata Aidoo launches two books in Accra

I can’t talk much about the programme for the launch of Ama Ata Aidoo’s books which took place on Friday 23 March – her Essays in honour of Ama Ata Aidoo and Diplomatic pounds & other storiesbirthday [though not her 70th if I heard correctly] – because I am a little ashamed to admit that I was horribly late due to a combination of car issues plus parking.  But I was very glad to see that the venue – British Council Accra – was absolutely full, and that the Vice-President of Ghana, John Mahama, himself an author, was able to deliver his keynote address, even though he was due to travel that very evening!

Despite coming at the end of ceremony I was able to see a few friends and colleagues, including Ivor Agyeman-Duah of the Centre for Intellectual Renewal who organized the launch,  and buy the books. One is a collection of short stories, entitled Diplomatic pounds & other stories and the other is more academic as evidenced by the title Essays in honor of Ama Ata Aidoo at 70: a reader in African cultural studies.  Both are published by Ayebia Clarke who has a great reputation for publishing books on Ghana, and indeed on Africa

I must definitely buy a couple of copies for work.

I wasn’t able to get the author to autograph them, but I think there will be another opportunity  soon – as Ama Ata Aidoo is due to give some readings at the Goethe Institut as part of the Writers Project of Ghana on 28 March.

Not an opportunity to miss!

Molara Wood’s interview with Ghanaian author Ama Ata Aidoo

Molara Wood is an arts and culture journalist, based in Lagos, who blogs as Wordsbody .

Recently she mentioned doing an interview with Ghanaian author, Ama Ata Aidoo, which she mentioned in a post, the highlight of which, in my opinion,  a very nice photo of the not-so-young Ghanaian author.  Wood also included a link to the full interview , definitely worth reading if you are just a novice to Aidoo’s work.