Take the #ReadGhanaian challenge and discover Africa’s lesser-known authors
Why a Ghanaian book blogger is raising awareness about books and writers from her homeland.
The African literature sphere — book blogs, #bookstagram and big media outlets that highlight books by African authors — is inundated with the excellent work of Nigerian, South African and Kenyan writers. But there is very little attention paid to the myriad of Ghanaian writers producing great work.
On my book blog, African Book Addict!, I read and review books by writers of African heritage – from the diaspora and the African continent. As a reader of Ghanaian descent, it’s important for me to celebrate the work of writers from my homeland. If we don’t celebrate our own, who will?
In an effort to read more books by Ghanaian writers, I set one of my 2018 Reading Intentions to read at least five books by writers of Ghanaian descent. But thanks to a great deal of dental schoolwork, I wasn’t very successful in achieving that goal. So earlier this year, I decided to create the #ReadGhanaian book challenge as a way to involve others in reading more work by Ghanaian writers.
The #ReadGhanaian book challenge is very simple: Read at least five books by writers of Ghanaian descent throughout the year and post about them on social media using the hashtag.
We are halfway into the year and the book challenge has gained momentum! I hope it will motivate readers of African and black literature to venture outside the mainstream hype and seek out books by Ghanaian writers — both online (which is often free) and through traditional publishing.
If you are interested in participating in the #ReadGhanaian challenge, I showcased over 75 Ghanaian writers and their books in a three-part series on my book blog, African Book Addict!. Here are five of my favorites to help you get started:
“Harmattan Rain” by Ayesha Harruna Attah
Ayesha is one of my favorite Ghanaian writers. Her characters always come to life in my mind and I love how perfectly she paces her stories. She has written three novels. She published her debut, “Harmattan Rain,” in 2008. It focuses on three generations of Ghanaian women from 1954 to the early 2000s.
“Our Sister Killjoy” by Ama Ata Aidoo
“Our Sister Killjoy” is Ata’s debut novel from 1977. This short book has managed to fill voids I’ve been grappling with when it comes to my conflicting feelings on Afropolitanism, first generation Americans, cultural assimilation, “the real African,” moving back to the continent and the savior mentality, feminism and loneliness. I deeply enjoyed this book two years ago but I wish I had read it earlier in my life.
“Beyond the Horizon” by Amma Darko
Amma Darko is a writer who doesn’t get the publicity she deserves. “Beyond the Horizon” is a heart-wrenching masterpiece that takes readers from a village in Ghana to Germany. This novel is a testament to some of the unfair effects of patriarchal societies.
“The Prophet of Zongo Street” by Mohammed Naseehu Ali
I’m currently reading this short story collection and enjoying it. I love how familiar the stories feel, with hints of humor here and there. I’ll surely review this collection when I’m done reading!
“You Too Will Know Me” by Ama Asantewa Diaka (aka: Poetra Asantewa)
This is a chapbook, a small collection of poetry on a specific theme, that I’m dying to read. I’m already recommending it because I’m familiar with Poetra’s phenomenal work. She’s a poet, writer and creator that uses her talent to address social issues. If you haven’t listened to her 2015 spoken word album, “Motherf---itude,” do it now! Poetra Asantewa is a gem — thank me later.
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About the author
Darkowaa is a Ghanaian dental student and book blogger, currently living where her heart feels most at home, Accra, Ghana. Books by black writers (or writers of African descent in Africa and the diaspora) excite her the most.