Nana Ayebia Clarke for UK award?

I read on Ghanaweb that Nana Ayebia clarke had been nominated for one of the Queen’s New Year
Honours.  But these haven’t been released yet, so there is no official confirmation, so I wonder whether I should actually say something about this, or leave it.

But then I looked at the article again, and realised that it is sourced from Ivor Agyeman-Duah, a contact whose opinion I respect, and moreover someone whose work has been published by Ayebia which is the publishing company set up by Nana and her husband, so maybe there is truth in this story?

Personally I would hope so, as Nana Ayebia has done a lot to support African, and especially West African, and shall we say even more specifically Ghanaian writing.

Not that long ago, I read Benjamin Kwakye’s The other crucifix, (published by Ayebia) which I have to admit I didn’t like as much as his previous novels, which were set in Ghana.  Still, as an account of a diasporan Ghanaian’s life in the US, it is a welcome addition to the genre.

And just as additional informal promo of Ayebia’s books, I have the following on my TBR (to be read) pile:

  • A fine madness, by Mashingaidze Gomo
  • Queen Pokou, by Veronique Tadjo
  • The book of not, by Tsitsi Dangarembga

The only issue is that sometimes Ayebia books are a little difficult to source here in Accra, but that’s a chronic issue.

So when the formal New Year’s Honours list for 2011 comes out, I will post more on this subject…


Encouraging reading in an academic environment

A colleague recently wrote about a Reading revolution and how to encourage more reading among Ghanaians.  Her ideas are definitely out of the box – at least for Ghana, and all the more appealing because they are different from what usually comes up.

At work, we are about to launch a campus-wide reading campaign – admittedly part of a general communications strategy to improve the quality of student language skills and general literacy – whether spoken or written.  This will be partly through exposure to pieces of writing which are recognized for their quality in terms of content, theme and how English is used.

The first choice is not surprisingly a novel by a Ghanaian author.  Selection was not as straightforward as it might have been, as the pull of older Ghanaian authors such as Ama Ata Aidoo is strong. But in the end the decision was to opt for something a bit more contemporary, which is how we finally chose The clothes of nakedness, by Benjamin Kwakye.   Fortunately for us, local bookseller EPP seems to have the rights to republish quite a few of the African Writers Series, so we were able to easily buy enough copies for all members of our academic community.

Certainly the news seems to have got out.  Students, faculty and staff have all been coming in to the library for their copies.  Will it be read?  We shall see.

It will be an experiment worth watching.