One was a set of readings at the Goethe Institut by Kojo Laing, an older Ghanaian writer who has published only a few works – under the auspices of the Writers Project of Ghana. His books are not the easiest to read, and listening to Laing’s answers to questions one could understand why. Although he grounds his work in Ghana, Ghanaian life and culture it has many fantastical elements in it. At times I almost felt like saying that he was on a rather different planet to we mortals! Plus I understood why I had struggled to read, understand and finish the three of his novels which I have read.
- Women of the aeroplanes
- Search sweet country
- Major Gentl and the Achimota wars [not read]
- Big Bishop Roko and the altar gangsters – the only book I actually have, and of course, I forgot to bring my copy to be autographed!
The other book event I attended was the launch of a huge (more than 1,600 pages!) two volume work entitled Reclaiming the human sciences & humanities through African perspectives (edited by Helen Lauer and Kofi Anyidoho, and published by Sub-Saharan Publishers). This compendium of historical and contemporary essays/articles was launched at the University of Ghana, Legon, and obviously aimed at academics and senior level students. I actually arrived early, and watched as the Nketia Conference Hall at the Institute of African Studies gradually filled up.
The programme more or less kept to time, but it still went on. However you count it, fifteen eight minute speeches/comments/presentations still mount up to two hours, but I suppose there were a lot of people who had to be recognized and who would be offended if they were not publicly acknowledged. There wasn’t an auction, for which I was very grateful, but there were plenty of copies of the books to be bought.
I did buy a set for work, but felt that it was a bit much to purchase for my personal collection, even though it was sold at a relative discount!
Interesting that both these events involved rather challenging tomes!