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.
The official ceremony for the 2011 Burt Award for African literature, organized locally by Ghana Book Trust , with sponsorhip from CODE , which took place on 16 July 2012, was a bit different from most book related ceremonies that I have attended here in Accra.
Firstly, it started on time. And I was late, thinking 15 minutes past of the official start time would be OK, but it wasn’t! Too bad for me, and a big hurrah for the organizers. TG I wasn’t the latest to arrive though, and I don’t think I missed too much.
Secondly, it was pretty short and to the point. Within an hour all the speeches had been done, and it was time for some photos with the winners, or press interviews, or just networking with friends and colleagues.
Thirdly, there were no books available for sale. A disappointment actually, though I did know in advance that this was just the award ceremony itself. What further saddened me though was hearing that the books would not be published until November this year, which is definitely later than expected!
But then I shouldn’t complain; that means that there is something to look forward to!
Winners for 2011 are:
- First prize: Mamle Wolo, for The Kaya girl
- Second prize: Ruby Goka, for The lost royal treasure
- Third prize: Manu Herbstein, for Akosua and Osman
All are being published locally, and 3000 copies of each title will be distributed to schools, libraries and other institutions, so they will be widely available.
Note: There was press coverage in both the Ghanaian Times and the Daily Graphic, but not a huge amount online. See here and here.
Skimming through the Daily Graphic this morning (Tuesday 28 February) I came across an advert – incidentally with several spelling mistakes! – which naturally caught my eye: the announcement of the 2011 winners for Ghana of the Burt Award for African Literature. These are:
- 1st prize: The kaya girl, by Mamle Wolo (published by Kwadwoan Publishers)
- 2nd prize: The lost treasure, by Ruby Y Goka (published by Kwadwoan Publishers)
- 3rd prize: Akosua and Osman, by Manu Herbstein (published by Techmate Publishers) [not sure where this publisher is]
- Shoes for her feet, by Laurene Boateng [no mention of a publisher]
- Betrayed by the city, by Ida Fynn Thompson [no mention of a publisher]
The Burt Award is organized in Ghana by the Ghana Book Trust and CODE (a Canadian NGO, which helps children to learn by supporting libraries, teacher training and book publishing in developing countries).
Actually this announcement is almost the same as the one I later found on the GBT website, so I do pay credit as it is due. To be frank the three prize winners were not totally a surprise as two of them had indicated to me late in 2011 that they were in the running.
Congratulations to all!
The question I ask as a book buyer: where in Accra can I buy these titles?
I started subscribing to the email newsletter of AfricaBookClub.com sometime in 2010, and do enjoy some of the articles and the links.
This month’s interview is with Manu Herbstein, author of Ama, a story of the slave trade, but also of northern Ghana and Asante. I had met Manu on a few occasions, and was of course interested to see what his prize winning novel would be like. But I also remember having to ask my daughter to buy me a copy of this book when it was first published, as it was only available in the US via a publish on demand company called E-reads. It is only fairly recently that it has become available in Ghana.
How things have changed over the last nine years or so!