• A Woman Alone: Autobiographical Writings (African Writers Series)

    Intense personal experiences of South Africa’s brutal social system, a sense of stifled creativity and a distaste for politics made Bessie Head leave for Botswana on an exit permit at the age of 27. There, in her chosen rural ‘haven’ of Serowe, and despite a severe mental breakdown, she wrote the novels and stories that earned her international recognition as one of Africa’s most remarkable and individual writers.

    A Woman Alone is a collection of autobiographical writings, sketches, and essays that covers the entire span of Bessie Head’s creative life, up to her death in 1986 at the age of 49. It reveals a woman of great sensitivity and vitality, inspired through her knowledge of suffering with “a reverence for ordinary people” and finding some healing for her own anguish in a quiet corner of Africa.

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  • Bogus Informants…Nation Wreckers

    Bogus informants move round mongering to security persons, alarming information that has absolutely no merit. Our security persons, a good number of times, fall for this mischief and draw all sorts of faulty conclusions. These bogus informants sometimes make a living from such evil lies or simply use them to score cheap and very unfair points at their rivals or competitors.

    It is just like the days of the Young Pioneers when a spoilt child, who does not want to be disciplined, would simply go and whisper some outright lies against the parents and, voila, such an unfortunate parent gets trapped on the wrong side of Osagyefo.

    Truth be told, this act of deliberate misinformation is an act of terrorism not new to our socio-political setting. Kofi Bentum Quantson, a security intelligence expert who worked hard through the ranks to become Director of the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), examines this threat to nation building in this popular book.

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  • Bu Me Bɛ: Proverbs of the Akans

    The most extensive bi-lingual Twi Proverbs Dictionary published since JG Christaller’s book was first published in 1879. Kwame Anthony Appiah’s introduction demonstrates how these proverbs can be interpreted within the tested and contested theories of meaning and literary production to show how they compare with philosophical musings from ancient Greece to England. An invaluable collection of over 7000 proverbs that speak to the nuances of Akan and Asante life, thought, belief and social organisation.

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  • Kongi’s Harvest (A Play)

    Kongi’s Harvest is to be the official start of the five-year plan. Kongi is the president of Isma. He has the spiritual leader King Danlola under ‘preventive detention’. Kongi has insisted that Danlola should be seen by the people at the festival to bring him the New Yam with his own hands. Kongi has been increasingly involved in image building, before the festival comes to a shattering climax.

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  • The Makings of You

    Nii Ayikwei Parkes’ début collection encompasses the story of a triangular trade in reverse – a family history that goes from the Caribbean back to Sierra Leone, and in his own life from London to Ghana, and back again.

    His gift as a poet is for the most rewarding kind of story-telling, including those stories told with wit and an engaging ambivalence about himself. His narratives move unerringly to a perfect punch-line, but in the collection as a whole there is a refreshing lack of complacency in his willingness to move out of his comfort zone and explore areas of imaginative fantasy, as in his “Ballast” series, a tour de force of defamiliarisation, where he imagines how the slave trade would have gone had its mode of transport been the hot air balloon, rather than the slave ship.

    There is much humour, but it comes from a family tradition of knowing that “our jokes weren’t really funny, they were just sad/ stories we learned to laugh at”. Like all poets with a largeness of heart, with no embarrassment about embracing the deepest feelings, Parkes has an especial sensitivity to the promise and acute sensitivities of childhood, both his own and others.There is much humour, but it comes from a family tradition of knowing that “our jokes weren’t really funny, they were just sad/ stories we learned to laugh at”. Like all poets with a largeness of heart, with no embarrassment about embracing the deepest feelings, Parkes has an especial sensitivity to the promise and acute sensitivities of childhood, both his own and others.

    Nii Ayikwei Parkes’s poem Barter from The Makings of You (Peepal Tree) is featured on tube train posters throughout London as part of the fantastic ‘Poems on the Underground’, celebrating 150 Years of the London Underground.

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  • Unexpected Joy at Dawn

    Unexpected Joy at Dawn received a commendation in the Best First Book Prize, Africa Region, of the Commonweath Writers Prize.

    ‘Fifteen years ago’, Mama said, starting her story, ‘I came to Lagos from Ghana. I came to Nigeria because I was considered an alien in that country. The government of Ghana passed a law asking all aliens without resident permits to regularise their stay in the country. You see, my great, great grandparents had migrated to Ghana several years before, and regarded Ghana as their home…as for the reason possibly, it was because the opposition party then had hyped to monstrous heights that aliens were ruining the country; or the government of the time…blamed their failure to do things right on us ‘alien’ scapegoats… It was difficult to start life all over again, and even more difficult to learn that we were unwanted in a country we had come to regard as our own.’

    This story of migration, identities and lives undermined by cynical and xenophobic politics pushed to its logical and terrible conclusion pertains to the Ghanaian orders of ‘alien compliance’ issued in 1970-1971, which was designed to force all non-ethnic Ghanaians, so called illegal immigrants, to return to their – so stipulated – ‘home’. the novel thus touches on concerns of deeper relevance to the politics of race and migration in the twenty first century.

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  • Voices of Ghana: Literary Contributions to the Ghana Broadcasting System, 1955-57 (Second Edition)

    Ghana’s first radio programme of original literature, Singing Net, began in 1955 as part of the development of a national radio station in the years leading to independence in 1957. Its centralaim was to bring Ghanaian writers to the forefront of cultural programming as part of the Africanisation of radio in Ghana. It was a critical cultural expression of the radical changes that were unfolding across the colonial world. The programme successfully introduced listeners to a series of pioneering Ghanaian authors who would go on to become significant figures of Anglophone West African literature in the early postcolonial decades: Efua Sutherland, Frank Parkes, Amu Djoleto, Geormbeeyi Adali-Mortty, Albert Kayper-Mensah, Kwesi Brew, Cameron Duodu, J.H. Nketia and many others.

    The anthology, Voices of Ghana (1958) is a collection of the poetry, short stories, play scripts and critical discussions that were aired on the Gold Coast (later Ghana) Broadcasting System (1954-1958).Both Singing Net and Voices of Ghana were edited by the BBC producer, Henry Swanzy.

    The context of Ghana’s independence, the singularity of the anthology’s history, and the significance of many of the writers all contribute to the importance of this text. This second edition is a timely intervention into recent debates within postcolonial studies and world literature on the importance of broadcast culture in the dissemination of “new literatures” from the colonial world. It includes an unabridged version of the 1958 text, a new introduction and footnoted annotations,which draw on extensive research undertaken in Ghana and Britain. It will appeal to a general readership with an interest in Ghanaian literature, 1950s broadcast culture, the figure of Dr Kwame Nkrumah and the making of a national literature in the era of decolonisation, as well as engaging scholars. The new edition presents a deeply insightful and engaging history of Voices of Ghana and reintroduces the original works on the occasion of the anthology’s 60th anniversary.

    Victoria Ellen Smith is a Lecturer in the Department of History, University of Ghana, Legon

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  • When Rain Clouds Gather (African Writers Series)

    In the heart of rural Botswana, the poverty stricken village of Golema Mmidi is a haven to exiles from far and wide. A South African political refugee and an Englishman join forces to revolutionise the villagers traditional farming methods, but their task is fraught with hazards as the pressures of tradition, opposition from the local chief and the unrelenting climate threaten to divide and devastate the fragile community.
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