Ghana | July 6, 2008
As part of the inaugural Pan African Literary Forum (PALF) there will be two special Sunday Salon readings in Accra, the capital city of Ghana, West Africa. The two events will feature prose as well as poetry from renowned writers of diverse backgrounds. In addition to the current sister series’ locations in New York, Chicago, and Nairobi, Kenya, these events in Ghana, hosted by June Wanjiru Wainaina, may bring to birth Sunday Salon readings in new landscapes. Join us in Accra, Ghana at 7 p.m. on July 6th, Jazz Tome, at The Chelsea Hotel and enjoy these readers:
Dr. Abena P.A. Busia, co-director of the groundbreaking Women Writing Africa Project, a multi-volume anthology published by the feminist Press at CUNY. As Busia points out, “history is located in multiple places”. This collection is designed to recognize “cultural production” of African and Indian women for the first time. She is also co-editor of Women Writing Africa: West Africa and the Sahel, (The Feminist Press at CUNY, 2005). In addition to her leadership of the Women Writing Africa project, Professor Busia is the author of Theorising Black feminisms (Routledge, 1993) and many articles and book chapters on topics including black women’s writing, black feminist criticism, and African literature. Her scholarship keeps her actively connected to her native Ghana, where a Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad Grant enabled Busia and two historians to lead an interdisciplinary program on “Teaching the History of Slave Trade Routes of Ghana and Benin”. She is now at work on a book called Song in a Strange land: Narrative and Rituals of Remembrance in the Novels of Black Women of Africa and the African Diaspora. A poet and short story writer as well as a scholar, Busia has published a poetry collection called Testimonies of Exile. She serves on the advisory board of the Ghana Education Project, as well as the board of the African Women’s Development Fund, the first and only pan-African funding source for women-centered programs and organisations. She teaches courses in African-American and African Diaspora Literature.
Dr. Hope Eghagha, better known as a poet, is equally a novelist and playright. A senior lecturer in the Department of English, University of Lagos, he is also a visiting member of The Guardian Newspaper Editorial Board.
An Urhobo from Delta State of Nigeria, the 1982 graduate of Theatre Arts, Unijos, has so far published six literary works. His debut was a play, Death, Not a Redeemer, in 1998. Others include four collections of poetry: Rhythm of the Last Testament, This Story must not be told, The Governor’s Lodge, and Premonitions and other Dreams. His novel is entitled Emperors of Salvation.
Yusef Komunyakaa was born 1947 and raised in Bogalusa, Louisiana. Served in Vietnam as an information specialist, saw combat, and received the Bronze Star. A graduate of the University of Colorado, he also received masters degrees form the University of California, Irvine as well as Colorado State University. After teaching at the University of New Orleans, Komunyakaa was a professor at Indiana University. In 1997, he began teaching at Princeton University where he is a professor in the Council of Humanities and Creative Writing. Wesleyan has published six of his ten books, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Neo-Vernacular (1993), which also won the Kingsley-Tufts Poetry Award from the Claremont Graduate School, Magic City (1992), and Dien Cai Cau (1998). In 1991, he won the Thomas Forcade award; in 1993 was nominated of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Poetry; in 1994 received the William Faulkner Prize from the University of Rennes in France; in 1997 he was awarded the Levinson Prize from Poetry Magazine and the Hanes Poetry Prize. His new book from Wesleyan is Thieves of Paradise. In 1999, Yusef Komunyakaa was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.
Siphiwo Mahala is a South African writer who has also published articles in national newspapers and magazines such as Sunday Times, The Deal, Classic Feel, etc. He has contributed short stories to several anthologies including Nobody Ever Said AIDS: Poems and Stories from Southern Africa( Kwela 2004); A is for Ancestors: Stories from the Caine Prize (Jacana, 2004), and Words Gone Two Soon: A Tribute to Phaswane Mpe and K. Sello Duiker (Stotaville Media, 2005). He joined the National Department of Arts and Culture as the deputy Director for Books and Publishing in 2004. His academic qualifications include a BA Honours degree from Fort Hare University, Alice, and a Master of Arts degree in African Literature from Wits University, Johanesburg. He also holds Creative Writing certificates from Rhodes University, Grahamstown and Lancaster University, London. He is the recipient of the 2006 Ernst Van Heerden Creative Writing Award for his first novel, When a Man Cries(UKZN Press; 2007). Upon presenting the award, Prof Belinda Bozzoli remarked, “When a Man Cries offers vivid insight into the painful rhythms and experiential pressures of township life, while contriving to include flashes of dark or even slapstick humour”.