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Documentary: The Art of Ama Ata Aidoo
Ama Ata Aidoo was the first African woman playwright, publishing The Dilemma of a Ghost (1965) at the age of 25. She is a poet, a novelist and a feminist.
The documentary follows Aidoo over a course of a year during which she travels to her ancestral village in the Central Region of Ghana.
Aidoo’s writing is rich in historical and cultural context, dealing with slavery, drawing inspiration from colonial Ghana and the post-independence period to present day Africa where support for women’s creative talent remains lacking.
Award-winning director Yaba Badoe (The Witches of Gambaga, 2010) and her producer Amina Mama, a leading feminist scholar, are crowd-funding $45,000 on Indiegogo to cover post-production costs. One-third of the project budget is being covered by donors such as the African Women’s Development Fund and the Global Fund for Women but you can be a donor too.
"When I was growing up, I definitely remember my mother told us folktales. Once I became aware of myself, I occurred to me that I should add to life’s stories."
"Ghanaians have always been nervous about the presence of people of diaspora here. And I think that was in part, due to the fact that they remind us of what we don’t want to deal with. And if fact, in the wake of the slave trade, we were colonized, conquered and again, we have not really dealt with the implications of colonization. What is colonization?
So the relationship between us and the African diaspora is charged”
Our Sister Killjoy: or Reflections from a Black-Eyed Squint(1977) is a novel written by Ghanaian author Ama Ata Aidoo.
Out of Africa with her degree and her all seeing eyes comes Sissie. She comes to Europe, to a land of towering mountains and low grey skies and tries to makes sense of it all. What is she doing here? Why aren’t the natives friendly? And what will she do when she goes back home? A profound version of the theme of self discovery, this novel explores the thoughts and experiences of a Ghanaian girl on her travels in Europe. It is a highly personal exploration of the conflicts between Africa and Europe, between men and women, and between a complacent acceptance of the status quo and a passionate desire to reform a rotten world.
Ama Ata Aidoo was born in 1942 in Abeadzi Kyiakor, in south central Ghana. Aidoo was the daughter of a chief in the town of Abeadzi Kyiakor and grew up in the royal household. She attended the Wesley Girls High School in Cape Coast and, subsequently, the University of Ghana at Legon from 1961 to 1964.
During her time there, she put on her first play, The Dilemma of a Ghost (1965). Since her first play was published in 1965, Aidoo has written one other play, two novels, a collection of short stories and two collections of poetry as well as numerous essays on African literature and the status of women in African society.
As well as being a writer and a critic, she has also pursued a career in education, teaching and lecturing in various parts of Africa as well as the United States. She has also been involved in Ghanaian politics and was in the early 1980s the Minister of Education in Ghana under Jerry Rawlings government.
Source: Postcolonial Web.
Dogside Story(2001) is a novel written by the New Zealand author Patricia Grace.
University of Hawai’i description:
There is conflict in the whanau. The young man, Te Rua, holds a “secret for life, the one to die with.” But he realizes that if he is to acknowledge and claim his daughter, the secret will have to be told.
"The Sisters" are threatening to drag the whanau through the courts. But why? What is really going on?
Meanwhile, wider events are encroaching. To this East Coast site visitors will arrive in numbers, wanting to be among the first in the world to see the new millennium sunrise. There are plans to be put into action, there’s money to be made, and there’s high drama as the millennium turns….
Like Patricia Grace’s award-winning novel Potiki before it, Dogside Story is set in a rural Maori coastal community. The power of the land, the strength of the whanau, are life-preserving forces. This rich and dramatic novel, threaded with humor, by one of New Zealand’s finest writers presents a powerful picture of Maori in modern times.
Patricia Grace (1937-) is a major New Zealand novelist, short story writer and children’s writer. She is of Ngati Toa, Ngati Raukawa and Te Ati Awa descent, and is affiliated to Ngati Porou by marriage.
Grace began writing early, while teaching and raising her family of seven children, and has since won many national and international awards, including the Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Prize for fiction, the Deutz Medal for Fiction, and the Neustadt International Prize for Literature, widely considered the most prestigious literary prize after the Nobel. A deeply subtle, moving and subversive writer, in 2007 Grace received a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to literature.
Her short story collections include Waiariki (1975), The Dream Sleepers and Other Stories (1980), Electric City and Other Stories (1987), The Sky People (1994),
Her novels include Mutuwhenua: The Moon Sleeps (1978), Potiki (1986), Cousins (1992), Baby No-Eyes (1998), Dogside Story (2001) and Ned and Katina (Penguin, 2009).
Source: New Zealand Book Council.
Say You’re One of Them(2008) is a short story collection written by Nigerian author Uwem Akpan.
Each story in this jubilantly acclaimed collection pays testament to the wisdom and resilience of children, even in the face of the most agonizing circumstances.
A family living in a makeshift shanty in urban Kenya scurries to find gifts of any kind for the impending Christmas holiday. A Rwandan girl relates her family’s struggles to maintain a facade of normalcy amid unspeakable acts. A young brother and sister cope with their uncle’s attempt to sell them into slavery. Aboard a bus filled with refugees—a microcosm of today’s Africa—a Muslim boy summons his faith to bear a treacherous ride across Nigeria. Through the eyes of childhood friends the emotional toll of religious conflict in Ethiopia becomes viscerally clear.
Uwem Akpan’s debut signals the arrival of a breathtakingly talented writer who gives a matter-of-fact reality to the most extreme circumstances in stories that are nothing short of transcendent.
Uwem Akpan was born in Ikot Akpan Eda, in southern Nigeria, in 1971. The sons of teachers, he and his three brothers grew up speaking both English and Annang. When he was nineteen, Uwem joined the Jesuit order. Three years later, he was sent to Nebraska by his superiors to study the humanities at Campion House, a scholarly Jesuit community attached to Creighton University, followed by two years of philosophy at Gonzaga University in Washington State. In 2000 he moved to Nairobi, Kenya, where he studied theology for three years at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa, after which he was ordained a Jesuit priest. The following year he returned to the United States to pursue a degree in creative writing from the University of Michigan.
His first story published in the United States, ‘An Ex-Mas Feast’, appeared in the 2005 debut fiction issue of The New Yorker while he was an MFA student in Ann Arbor. The following year The New Yorker published a second story, ‘My Parents’ Bedroom’, which was a finalist for the Caine Prize for African Writing.
These stories are included in his first collection, Say You’re One of Them, which was published in June by Little, Brown and Company and was most recently longlisted for the Guardian First Book Prizein the United Kingdom.
Akpan currently lives in Zimbabwe, where he teaches at a seminary in Harare.
Source: African Success.