Fiction: Lingerings by Ama Akuamoah

 

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Ama Akuamoah

Kesewa peeped through the trap door again at the man lying on her bed, eyes closed in a cocktail of pain and exhaustion. After all these years and now Yaw Adjei is alive and 2 feet away from her touch. The ramblings of the thunder brought her back to the present as she made a mad dash for Aunty’s room. Her innate fear of thunder and lightning was as old as time and even in adulthood this fear plagued her.

“Our elders say a strong wind heralds a mighty event. l wonder what news they are bringing us this time.” Aunty murmured as the curtains flapped furiously. She looked absentmindedly at the TV. Her room had the air of comfort etched into its walls. The single chair positioned adjacent to the bed ensured whoever walked in and chose to sit down had to look right into her eyes. Perched on the edge of the bed, until a gust of wind startled her, Aunty walked gingerly to the window and closed it gently as the wind sprayed rain into the room.

This room, with its four rickety items- wardrobe, TV, bed and chair – was the unofficial seat of government in the household. Being summoned there could mean anything. It was always the meeting space for all feuds and celebrations alike. All announcements and decrees emanated from her here and in her usual style, long and winding-, but eventually the decree was passed. And if it was gossip, she repeated the now famous lines, “If the person who told me this was lying then l am also lying.”

“Kesewaa,” Aunty whispered, “How is your friend, when was the last you say you saw him again?” The gushing afternoon torrent made it almost impossible to hear. “About two years ago,” Kesewa retorted drearily, hoping that will deter Aunty from asking more questions she did not have the answers to.

Author’s Bio

Ama Akuamoah is a lover of words. She lives vicariously through the characters she reads and writes about. When she’s not hopscotching around continents, she’s people watching and sourcing personalities for her next story. Read more of her work on her website: www.amaakuamoah.com . She is on twitter and instagram as @amaakuamoah

 

WORKS FROM GIRD WRITING CAMP 2016: “PLEASE DO TELL THEM” BY MWAMBA JAGEDO

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We are back from a brief hiatus with more works from Gird Writing Camp 2017. This week, we present a poem from Mwamba Jagedo who was at the poetry workshop facilitated by Prof. Kofi Anyidoho and Nana Nyarko Boateng. And now:

Please Do Tell Them
By Mwamba Jagedo

Tell those who wished my downfall
that I have awoken from yesterday’s slumber
that their devilish thoughts
couldn’t consume my hunch flesh
I am still standing

Yes, tell them
Those who vilified me in long sleeps
And sold me cheaply in towns
When the day hasn’t dawned for a chicken crow
That they have done well
For out of Egypt, came Joseph

Though the path I walk on is shaky
And silently do I doubt greatness a bit
But I have found solace in the Lord
He whom I put my faith in

Ancient as Abraham
Warrior and fearless as the Zulu
He will be my comforter
And lead me through these destructive trials

They may be populous
my foes may be countess as sand
like an army wanting to claw my bones
and smear shame on my blackness
but do tell them
that their backbiting won’t keep me from fighting
Do tell them
their backlash won’t stop me from forging forward
They are not my God
and they simply cannot wipe me off.
Please do tell them.

James.jpgAbout Mwamba Jagedo:

James Robert Myers writes under the penname Mwamba Jagedo which means “Builder’s Rock” in Swahili and Luo languages respectively. He is an Amazon author of two global anthologies, trained software engineer and founder of MwambaJagedo.com; which is a Tech StartUp. He believes in his nation that has failed to appreciate talents like him.

Works From Gird Writing Camp 2016: “Secret Ceremonials” By Maame Adwoa Amoa Marfo

 

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This week’s featured piece from Gird Writing Camp 2016 is a short story by Maame Adwoa Amoa Marfo. Maame attended the Fiction Workshop with Prof. Ama Ata Aidoo and Dr. Martin Egblewogbe. And now, to Maame’s Secret Ceremonials.

 

Secret Ceremonials

By Maame Adwoa Amoa Marfo

Seffy, we did cartwheels in your honour.

We sat for a long, silent moment after the solemn service was over with our fingers intertwined, a chain of misty-eyed, sixteen-year-old girls, unable to look away from the pile of fresh dirt. We couldn’t leave you just yet. We couldn’t move. So we sat there in those ridiculously uncomfortable plastic chairs and tried to find some trace of you somewhere, some sign that you were somewhere better, somewhere other than 6 feet deep in the earth.
___ Linda stood up first. She slipped her feet out of her shoes, raised her hands to the dying sun and turned her first perfect circle. We didn’t need any more prompting than that. One by one, we left a cluster of discarded high heels underneath the lone canopy and followed suit. We turned and turned and turned, repeating the dizzying circles until the entire cemetery was covered by darkness and we could barely tell the difference between the sky above and the ground below.
___ We collapsed in an inelegant heap next to a crumbling headstone rows away from where we’d started and waited for the world around us to settle. We laughed then, and in the near-hysterical sound of it I heard the endless patter of our six-year-old feet against the ground of the hopscotch court, the shushed tones of our ten-year-old voices over phone lines during group conversations long past our bedtimes and the thick sounds we made as we tried to speak around the lumps in our throats moments ago, reading out our wholly inadequate words to a mourning crowd, trying to show them all that you were – all that you would always be – to us. We swore we could all hear you in the whistling of the wind and something about the hollowness of that sound dissolved our laughter into tears.
___ We’re a little bit older now, all of us somewhere around 22, and even though it feels like almost everything has changed. One thing hasn’t. Our form isn’t quite as perfect and we don’t do it for quite as long as we used to but we’ve never stopped. Every year ends in cartwheels and laughter and your spirit calling to us on the wind.

 

About Maame Adwoa Amoa Marfo:

maampictureCurrently a teaching assistant at the English Department of the University of Ghana, Maame Adwoa Amoa Marfo was born in London and raised in Accra. She is the last of seven children and a member of a remarkably large extended family. Her childhood was characterized by a love of the written word and a need to consume as much reading material as possible. Her work is informed by her lived experiences and the literary pieces that she herself has read and loved. She hopes to continue in her growth and development as a writer and an appreciator of literature.

10 Ghanaian Writers Who Write For Children

If you have ever lost yourself in the magical world of children’s literature, you will admit, first of all, that children’s literature is a special kind of literary work. You will also wish that there were more Ghanaian writers who write dreams into realities for children and young adults.

It is tempting to think that children’s literature is easy work. After all, who couldn’t come up with stories to entertain impressionable little minds? However, the reality is that writing for children is real work that requires a lot of creativity and skill. We’ve put together a list of ten Ghanaian writers who have put their creativity and skill to work to create beautiful stories for children.

 

 

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1.       Meshack Asare– Meshack Asare was born in Ghana; he taught in Ghana for a while and currently resides in Germany. Meshack Asare’s works as a writer of children’s literature has received international acclaim.  On 24th October, 2014, Meshack won the prestigious Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature becoming the first African to receive the award. Some of his works include The Brassman’s Secret, Noma’s Sand: A Tale from Lesotho, Meliga’s Day Nana’s Son, Sosu’s Call and The Magic Goat.

 

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2.       Ruby Yayra Goka – Ruby is a dentist and a multiple award-winning Ghanaian writer. In the 2010 and 2011 competitions of the Burt Award for African Literature, two of her works The Mystery of the Haunted House, and The Lost Royal Treasure won the third and second prizes, respectively. Some of her books for children include The Step Monster, When The Shackles Fell, and A Gift for Fafa. Ruby doesn’t only write for children, but also for an adult readership. Her books, In the Middle of Nowhere and Disfigured, have been published by Kwadwoan Publishing in Accra.

 

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3.       Sami Gyekye – Is a United States based writer who was born in Ghana to a Muslim mother and a Christian father. His works reflect his exposure to different religious and cultural values. The premise for his first book, South: Halo’s Journey was drawn from having spent half his life in Africa and the other half in his current residence in the United States. Since then, he has published six other books including, Whatzis and the Beyond series. He tweets often using the handle, @RecklessWeasel.

 

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4.       Malaka Grant– Malaka Grant is a Ghanaian-American writer. She not only writes children’s literature, she writes fiction for adults as well as non-fiction. Some of Malaka’s works for children are Yaa Traps Death in a Basket, which was published in 2015 and Sally and The Butterfly. Sally and The Butterfly is a ‘choose your own adventure book’ where readers go on adventures through lands unknown, and are invited to be partners in saving their world.

           

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5.       Franka Maria Andoh – Franka was born in Accra in 1968. Her first short story was published in the Caine African Writers Anthology ‘Work in Progress and Other Stories’. In 2011 she published two children’s stories Koku the Cockerel and Dokono the Donkey. She was recently awarded a grant by the Ghana Denmark Cultural Fund to publish her collection of short stories I Have Time and Other Short Stories. Franka is the founder and Editor in Chief of an annual magazine for women entrepreneurs called AWE.

 

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6.       Elizabeth Irene Baitie – Elizabeth is Ghanaian and an acclaimed writer of literature for young adults. Elizabeth writes for preteens as well as older teenagers. She visits schools and has worked with organisations like the Young Educators Foundation to promote reading. Two of Elizabeth’s works has won the Burt Award twice; The Twelfth Heart in 2009 and The Dorm Challenge in 2012.

 

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7.       Roberta Turkson – Roberta Turkson writes under the pen name Robbie Ajjuah Fantini. Robbie released her debut collection of poems titled Talking Robbish in 2014. Her second book, The Children of Abuta Village is a folktale styled children’s reader.  She has just completed another book for children, The Forbidden Fruit, which will be available on her website; robertaturkson.com in a few weeks. Robbie can be found on facebook and twitter at @talkingrobbish

 

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8.       Ama Ata Aidoo – With a writing career spanning over five decades, Ama Ata Aidoo is no new name to readers. What isn’t so well known is that aside her plays, novels and poetry, Ama Ata Aidoo has written stories for children. Her collection of stories for children, The Eagle and the Chickens and Other Stories, was originally published in 1986 by Tana Press. More recently Smartline Publishers released her children’s title, The Days, inspired by her poem which bears the same name.

 

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9.       Adwoa Badoe – Adwoa Badoe is a Ghanaian writer and storyteller, based in Guelph, Ontario. Adwoa writes children’s literature and literature for young adults. Some of her works include Crabs for Dinner which was published in 1995, The Queen’s New Shoes, The Pot of Wisdom and Aluta, a novel for young adults.

 

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10.   Mamle Wolo – Mamle Wolo is the pen name of Martina Odonkor, a writer of Ghanaian and German ancestry. She has also written stories for adults under the name Mamle Kabu. Mamle’s work for young adults, The Kaya Girl, won the Burt Award in 2011. The Burt Award recognises excellence in fiction for children and young adults.

TEN CONTEMPORARY GHANAIAN FICTION WRITERS YOU SHOULD HAVE READ BY NOW

In a fair world, some marvelously talented contemporary Ghanaian writers ought to be at the top of the bestseller list not only in Africa, but across the globe. Africa’s literary scene is evolving as newer voices are finding and creating their niche besides already established writers like Soyinka, Armah, Head, Nwapa and Aidoo, to name only but a few.

Gird Center brings you a list of ten contemporary Ghanaian writers whose works you should have read by now. Are you looking for memorable stories and books to read? You can find them by Ghanaian authors who write with untold brilliance and vibrancy. The one thing you cannot do is to repeat the cliché that there aren’t enough Ghanaian writers, or books. We hope you find something you like from the writers listed below.

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Martin Egblewogble: Martin Egblewogble is one of the finest of Ghana’s new generation of writers.  He is the author a collection of short stories, “Mr. Happy and The Hammer of God”. Martin also is the co-founder and a Director of the Writers Project of Ghana. “The stories in Martin Egblewogbe’s Mr Happy And The Hammer Of God are sly and ingenious. Readers will discover a fresh and new voice in this powerful collection of stories,” says Laban Carrick Hill, the 2004 US National Book Award Finalist and author of HARLEM STOMP! In The Gonjon Pin, the titular story for The Caine Prize Anthology for African Writing 2014, Martin captures the reader’s attention with his way with words and excellent sense of humour. Martin is able get into reader’s mind. His exploration of the psyche and the self will cause you to doubt all you ever believed, and to believe all you ever doubted.

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Yaa Gyasi– Yaa Gyasi’s debut novel, “Homegoing”, sold for at least $1 million; it was informed by her own journey as a Ghanaian-American. In July 2016, “Homegoing” made the list for the 2016 Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize. Here are a few quotes from reviews of Yaa Gyasi’s “Homegoing”.

“Homegoing will break your heart over and over…and leave you optimistic and in awe,” Nichole Solga McCown in the American Booksellers Association’s Indie Next List.

“Finished Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing  yesterday. Thought it was a monster when I started. Felt it was a monster when I was done.” Ta-Nehisi Coates National Book Award-winner on race in the U.S., “Between the World and Me,”

Now who wouldn’t want to read a book that is capable of breaking one’s heart?
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Franka Maria Andoh– Franka is a multifaceted artist; she is an entrepreneur, editor, writer and the owner of a popular coffee shop, Cuppa Cappuccino in Accra. Though her name isn’t as well-known as it deserves, Franka has gained quite a recognition for her work. She was selected to partake in the British Council’s Crossing Borders program for African writers.  Additionally, her short story “Mansa” has been published in the Caine Prize for African Writing 2009 edition.  In 2011, her two children’s stories “Koku the Cockerel” and “Dokono the Donkey” were well received both locally and abroad.  Franka’s collection of short stories, “I Have Time and Other Stories” was published 2014. Franka is the founder and Editor in Chief of an annual magazine for women entrepreneurs called AWE.
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Mamle Kabu– Mamle Kabu is a Ghanaian writer of German descent.  Her stories have been published in several anthologies and magazines. In 2009, her short story “The End of Skill” was shortlisted for the 2009 Caine Prize. Her other works “Human Mathematics” and “Story of Faith” have been anthologized across Africa, the U.S. and the UK.  She is an associate director of the Writers Project of Ghana. Mamle is the author of the young adult novel “The Kaya-Girl” (2012); she is currently working on her first novel.

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Mawuli Adjei- Mawuli Adjei is a British Chevening Fellow. Currently, he is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of English, University of Ghana, Legon, where he teaches African Literature, Creative Writing, and other courses. Mawuli has four publications to his credit: the novels “The Jewel of Kabibi”, “The Witch Of Lagbati” “Taboo” and the poetry collection Testament of the Seasons. He is currently working on a third novel, “Unchained”.

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Nana Nyarko Boateng– Nana Nyarko Boateng is a Writer, a Poet and an Editor. She is also a hermit extraordinaire who hates to talk about her work. Yet, Nana is madly passionate about the cause of literature and the arts. She set up Gird Center, a Writing, Editorial, and Training Services Company based in Accra to support writing and writers. In 2012, her short story “Small Poles” appeared in “Summoning The Rain,” a Femrite Anthology.  You can also read her short story “Swallowing Ice” in the 2015 Caine prize for African Writing anthology, Lukaska Punk.  Nana’s unique ability to discomfort the reader in the realities she unveils in fiction is gripping.

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Elizabeth Irene Baitie– Elizabeth Irene Baitie is a true definition of an award-winning writer. Elizabeth has won the Burt Award twice; in 2009 for her novel “The Twelfth Heart” and in 2012 for The “Dorm Challenge.” In 2002, her novel, “Lea’s Christma”, was short-listed for the Macmillan Writers Prize for Africa (Senior readers). Four years later, her story, “A Saint in Brown Sandals”, won the Macmillan Prize for Africa (Junior readers). She is a clinical biochemist and runs a medical laboratory practice in Adabraka, Accra.

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Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond– Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond is the author of “Powder Necklace”, which Publishers Weekly called “a winning debut”. She was shortlisted for a 2014 Miles Morland Writing Scholarship. She has contributed commentary on everything from Michelle Obama’s role in the US President’s campaign to Nelson Mandela’s legacy on various Media Outlets. She is currently at work on her next novel. Keep up with Nana Brew-Hammond on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

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Sharlene Apples-Ghanaian-born, Sharlene Apples is an energy consultant, social-political commentator, makeup artist and writer who lives in London. Sharlene, author of “TOWGA-The One Who Got Away” in her debut erotica novel, tells a story the Ghanaian society would like to deny and pretend doesn’t exist. The protagonist of TOWGA is unafraid of her sexuality and proudly identifies as bi-sexual. We love Sharlene, if not for anything, for her bravery.

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Christine Botchway – Christine Botchway is of Ghanaian and West Indian ancestry. A dentist by profession, Christine writes poetry, plays and songs in her spare time. Her first novel, Spears Down, one of the finest yet widely unknown African novels, was published by Macmillan Pacesetters in 1988. Other books by Christine Botchway are “Where Children Play”, “The African Teapot”,  “The Dream Called September”, “The Jasmine Candle”and “Friends Of The Forest”.