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Diplomatic Pounds & Other Stories
Ama Ata Aidoo’s is an iconic African writer who has inspired generations of black and other women writers on the continent and in the Diaspora. Diplomatic Pounds and Other Stories, her latest collection of short stories brings together diverse themes that speak to the relationship between Africa and its Diaspora in terms of home and exile and a sense of belonging and alienation.
The collection reveals the intricacies of friendships and love relationships and the complexities involved in African Diaspora connections, engaging with a sense of anomie and fragmentation that is partly a consequence of living across different cultures – African and the West and reveals her interest in presenting common human frailties. Aidoo‘s writings are steeped in Ghanaian and African history but Diplomatic Pounds takes her art and craftwomanship to an entirely new and different level. The stories cover a broader range of people within the African Diaspora than in her previous collections, expanding in a different way on the theme of African relationships and interconnections with its Diaspora. The difference here is that this new set of stories has the benefit of the author’s considerable historical hindsight and experience having lived and worked in recent years almost as much and as long in the USA as on the African continent.
Diplomatic Pounds chronicles how returning sons and daughters relate to a mother continent that they clearly love, but which they also take great issue with. Aidoo in this sense is interested in healing the historical wounds that have sometimes created insurmountable barriers and borders between Africa and its Diaspora. This collection affirms the legitimacy of Africa as a continent with a vibrant, welcoming culture; a valued and revered home and demonstrates Aidoo’s larger sense of a commitment to a more just world.
Professor Ama Ata Aidoo, née Christina Ama Aidoo (born 23 March 1940, Saltpond) is a Ghanaian author, poet, playwright and academic, who is also a former Minister of Education in the Ghana government.
Ama Ata Aidoo's literary career dates from when, as an undergraduate, she wrote her first play, The Dilemma Of A Ghost (1964), which was subsequently produced, performed and published. She followed that up with Anowa (drama 1970). Since then, she has published novels, including Changes (1991), volumes of poetry and short stories including An Angry Letter In January & Other Poems (1992) and The Girl Who Can & Other Stories (1997). Her third collection of short stories Diplomatic Pounds & Other Stories was published in 2012 by Ayebia. She also edited the widelyacclaimed African Love Stories Anthology, published by Ayebia (2006). Her books for children include Birds & Other Poems (2002). Aidoo has taught at colleges and universities in Ghana and the United States including the University of Cape Coast and Brown University.
She currently lives in Ghana, where in 2000 she established the Mbaasem Foundation to promote and support the work of African women writers.