Manu Herbstein describes Accra’s literary scene

This is just a quick post to alert readers of Ghanaian/South African Manu Herbstein’s article on Accra’s literary scene, currently posted on the South African BooksLive website.

I have to admit to admit that Herbstein captures events which I certainly attended – and may even have mentioned in this blog. He also describes many I had  heard about but didn’t manage to go to, in addition to several others I didn’t know about at all.

Definitely a worthwhile summary of the last year here in Accra.

GAWBOFEST: a very limited view

I did go to the Ghana Association of Writers Book Festival which took place on Founder’s Day, or Kwame Nkrumah’s birthday.  It was a public holiday, so had to more or less force myself to get out of the house – but in a way having no electricity was a good enough impetus.

I did not plan to attend the opening ceremony, which was supposed to start at 9am but didn’t as it was still going on when I arrived after 11am!  And in fact it ended not long after noon, with quite a packed hall listening and watching.  I gather the high point was a poetry reading by a blind student from Wa.  Oh well…

So I spent my time outside looking at the stands, and on occasion chatting with colleagues/friends about books and ther quasi-literary issues.

I did buy a few books:

  • The days, by Ama Ata Aidoo (an illustrated children’s book, which I hadn’t heard of)
  • Tickling the Ghanaian: encounters with contemporary culture, by Kofi Akpabli (I had heard of its launch, and was wondering where and when I would get a copy)
  • The heart of old Accra (beautifully illustrated)
  • Akwaaba – Welcome to Ghana: Twi for tourists, by Nana Oforiwaa Koranteng (what would be the words and phrases chosen, I wondered)
I also picked up a programme of forthcoming activities from the Writers Project of Ghana which I have to look at and promote, in my small way.
I think I might have stayed a bit longer for some of storytelling and readings, but the heavens opened, and I decided it was time to leave.
Overall impression:  GAW obviously put a lot of effort into organizing the event, and were able to get a good number of people to attend.  A good start, in my opinion.

GAWBOFEST coming up on 21 September 2011 in Accra

The Ghana Association of Writers is organising its first Book Festival – GAWBOFEST – tomorrow, 21 September 2011, and I am intrigued. It is taking place at Aviation Social Centre, from morning till late afternoon. I gather from a recent phone-in that the Vice-President of Ghana is even supposing to be launching it, which means the opening ceremony will probably be quite long.

There are going to be readings by various “prominent personalities”, storytelling, poetry, books for sale, and so on.

Interestingly GAW does have a website , but there doesn’t seem to be much going on there, in contrast to the Writers Project of Ghana which I believe has a much younger feel to it, and is updated, and promoted regularly.

This is the first of these kind of events from GAW, which I always get the feeling is dominated by somewhat older writers, and I think it is worth taking a look at the event – maybe some time in the late morning, especially as it is a public holiday.

Needless to say I will report on what I found.