Biography

Anna Cottrell

Anna Cottrell had nursed the ambition to visit Africa since early childhood and was able to realise this dream when she retired in 2005; spending three months as a volunteer in Woe, near Keta, from January to March 2006. Towards the end of this period, Anna realised she wanted to understand the traditions and experiences which had helped shape the people. It was at this point that she was introduced to Agbotadua Kumassah who talked about oral storytelling and took her to visit a group of storytellers in Klikor. She used an old cassette recorder to record the six stories they told. Learning that the stories were dying out with the death of the storytellers, Anna returned to Keta as a guest at Togbi's house in 2007 and recorded 60 more stories in Dzelukope, Anyako and Have Domefe. During a visit to Anyako, Anna saw two boys looking in a bottle which they had taken out of the lagoon and Togbi explained that they were seeing if it contained a fish for their dinner; no fish meant no dinner. Anna then decided to use the stories to broadcast the African wisdom to the Western world, and at the same time raise funds to help the storytellers and their communities.