GH at 60 | Our Writers & Their Books (part 1)

Happy Independence Day to all Ghanaians! Ghana is 60 years old today.

After about 113 years of British rule, Ghana gained independence on this day – March 6th, 1957. Our independence pioneered and encouraged other African nations to also fight for their independence from colonial rule. We’ve come a long way and still have a ways to go, but I’m proud to be a Ghanaian.

As a person of Ghanaian heritage, I enjoy discovering new Ghanaian writers and learning about our pioneer writers. Being a lover of African literature and literature of the diaspora, I find that Ghanaian authors and their work aren’t as popular as Kenyan, South African, Nigerian or Zimbabwean literature.

GH at 60 | Our Writers & Their Books is a series that highlights and celebrates various Ghanaian writers and their work. If we don’t celebrate our own, who will? I hope your TBR lists grow once you take the time to appreciate these writers and their work through the series. This is part 1 of a 3-part series and it’s NOT exhaustive by any means. The list is arranged in alphabetical order, of last names.

Sophia Acheampong

I think Sophia Acheampong’s books have the cutest book covers, ever! Acheampong is a Ghanaian-British author of YA (young adult) fiction. Growing Yams in London (2006) and iPods in Accra (2009) follow fourteen year old British-born Makeeda who’s trying to balance both Ghanaian and British identities in the ultra-modern world of social media and instant messaging.

G.A. Agambila

Dr. Gheysika Adombire Agambila is a native of Bolgatanga (in the Upper East Region of Ghana) and is the author of two novels – Journey (2006) and Emigrant (2016). I’m not really crazy about the cover art for Journey, but I’ve seen the book in quite a few bookshops here in Accra. Ann Morgan of blog – A Year of Reading the World chose to read Journey for her Ghana pick and her book review made me add it to my TBR.

Mohammed Naseehu Ali

Mohammed Naseehu Ali is a Ghanaian writer based in New York City. I read a book review of Ali’s short story collection – The Prophet of Zongo Street (2006) last year and was determined to purchase it once I spotted it in bookstores. If you would like to get a feel of his writing, check out two short stories: Mallam Sile & My Name is Not Cool Anymore, published in The New Yorker & The New York Times respectively.

Asabea Ashun

Asabea Ashun is the pseudonym of Dr. Mary Ashun who has published a good number of YA (young adult) fiction and adventure stories for children. Last year, I purchased her latest novel, Serwa Akoto’s Diary (2013) which follows a young lady, Serwa Akoto on her quest to blend her Ghanaian heritage and Canadian lifestyle.

Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond

Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond is a Ghanaian-American writer who is the author of Powder Necklace (2010). Powder Necklace is a coming-of-age tale that follows Lila, who was born and raised in England. She’s later sent to Ghana to attend a local boarding school (mirrored off Mfantsiman Girls’ High School in Cape Coast, Ghana) and life takes a 360 degree turn for Lila with respect to her identity and the concept of home. I read the novel back in 2013 and deeply appreciated it as I could relate to the story on many levels. I hope Nana Ekua’s second novel is in the works!

Akosua Busia

If you’ve seen the film The Color Purple, Akosua Busia may look familiar as she played Nettie in it! Akosua Busia is an actress, author, song-writer and film director. The Seasons of Beento Blackbird: A Novel (1997) is Busia’s debut.

Nana Awere Damoah

Nana Awere Damoah is a chemical engineer and author of four non-fiction books. I’ve spotted his most recent book – Sebitically Speaking (2015) in bookshops here in Accra. His other works include I Speak of Ghana (2013), Through the Gates of Thought (2010), Excursions in my Mind (2008) and a collection of short stories called Tales from Different Tails (2011). Damoah’s writing draws readers’ attention to issues that plague the nation and its citizens, with a satirical flavor that will kick anyone into questioning their priorities. Damoah’s work will be reviewed on this platform soon!

Meri Nana-Ama Danquah

Meri Nana-Ama Danquah is a Ghanaian-American writer, editor and journalist. I purchased an anthology edited by Danquah – The Black Body, back in 2009 and found it compelling. Meri Nana-Ama Danquah is best known for her 1998 memoir Willow Weep for Me: A Black Woman’s Journey Through Depression, which I MUST get my hands on soon. In these tumultuous times, her memoir would definitely be a timely read with discourse on mental health and self-care.

Amma Darko

Amma Darko is one of my favorite Ghanaian writers and I feel she is SERIOUSLY underrated. Her 1995 debut, Beyond the Horizon is a tragic masterpiece that I think all book lovers need to read! It’s an uncomfortable read, but important work of art on feminism, immigration, racism, chauvinism and so much more. I plan on reading her 2003 novel, Faceless at some point this year.

Amu Djoleto

Amu Djoleto is a writer and educator who’s novels are quite popular in Ghanaian primary and secondary schools (elementary, middle and high schools). He’s best known for his debut novel – The Strange Man, which is part of the African Writers Series.

Boakyewaa Glover

I met Boakyewaa Glover early last year and she was gracious enough to gift me with two of her novels – Tendai: Nature and Science Unleashed and The Justice: A Political Thriller! I finished reading Tendai last year and the novel was a good blend of sci-fi and mystery. Her latest novel – The Justice was published back in 2013 and is very high up on my TBR list. Apparently the sex scenes in The Justice are pretty spicy, which is rare for Africa fiction. I love that Glover’s books are available in many boutiques and shops, including Shell service station shops, making her work accessible to all Ghanaians.

Mamle Kabu

Mamle Wolo is a writer of Ghanaian and German ancestry. I was pleasantly surprised to find that her short story ‘The End of Skill’ was shortlisted for the Caine Prize in 2009 (the year E.C Osondu won!). Mamle’s YA (young adult) novel The Kaya-Girl won the Burt Award for African Literature in 2011. The cover art for The Kaya-Girl is stunning.

Benjamin Kwakye

Benjamin Kwakye is a lawyer and novelist with a couple of book awards under his belt. His debut novel, The Clothes of Nakedness (1998) won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. Kwakye’s sophomore novel, The Sun By Night (which has awesomely eccentric cover art) rightfully won the 2006 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book (Africa Region). Out of Kwakye’s books catalogue, I think his debut and sophomore books have the best book covers!

Nana Prah

Nana Prah is a Ghanaian multicultural romance writer. She has about 8 books that have been published and most of them are available for purchase online. Does anyone know if her books are sold here in Accra? Last year I read 2 romance novels and I can’t wait to grab a book from Nana Prah’s collection next! Check out her blog:

Kwei Quartey

Dr. Kwei Quartey is a Ghanaian crime fiction writer. His Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery series is pretty popular, and I love the cover art work for all the books in this series! Late 2014, I really enjoyed his reading that was held here in Accra. He currently resides in California and juggles being a physician and a writer. Book 5 of the series, Death by His Grace will be released August of this year.

Frances Mensah Williams

Frances Mensah Williams is an award-winning Ghanaian-British author of women’s fiction. If you’ve read any books published by the independent publishing house based in London – Jacaranda Books, Williams’s name and her books may look familiar. She created the light-hearted, contemporary series – From Pasta to Pigfoot (2015), which follows London born and bred Faye Bonsu, on her journey to understanding her native Ghanaian culture.

Are you familiar with any of these Ghanaian authors? Have you read any of the books mentioned above? 

The month of March will be dedicated to honoring Ghanaian authors as it is Ghana’s month of independence. Many more writers will be highlighted in this series! Stay tuned for Part 2 of GH at 60 | Our Writers & Their Books.

Note: Images were taken from Goodreads and the respective writers’ websites.

44 thoughts on “GH at 60 | Our Writers & Their Books (part 1)

  1. Happy independence day! Ghana really was an inspiration. It took us seven more years to finally gain independence in 1964.

    I really like this feature and I admit that I haven’t read m/any books by Ghanaian authors. I have always thought that Teju Cole is Ghanian but I guess not. I do know Kofi Awonoor and Yaa Gyasi and hopefully I will read their books soon. Thanks for sharing this post. I have so many books to add to my TBR now 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! Its pretty exciting right now in Accra with the celebrations + its SUPER hot outside too lol. Aww, I hope your tbr grows even more after part 3! Teju Cole is Nigerian.


  2. Thanks for these book recommendations! From Pasta to pigfoot makes me so curious. I like it’s cover (and love me some pigfoot, lol).
    Big up Ghana! Happy Independence! 😄

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yea man. Pigfeet and pig tails too. I love pig tails. We make it in a stew with kidney beans and eat it with white rice.
        I now realize we eat a lot of feet, pig foot, cow foot, chicken foot…Lol!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. *crying*. I actually want to try pig tails to see what the hype is about! My mom loves chicken foot :(. In Austin Clarke’s culinary memoir, he spoke about pig feet sooo fondly. Didn’t know it was a Caribbean thing – thought only the Bajans loved it!


      3. Lol. Yea, give those pig tails a try. And chicken feet are great, if you like bones. I love bones. Curried chicken feet are yummy. Tell your mom to try that if she hasn’t already. Spice it up nice with a hint of pepper and mmmhhh! Yum! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Bernard, great question. It depends on where you are located. But I will list places to get some of these in the last installment of the series (part 3), but you can definitely check out EPP in their various locations, Vidya Bookshop in Osu, you can try Ghana Book Trust in East Legon – if you are in Accra.


  3. This is such a good list! I always wondered how come I didn’t know of many Ghanaian writers, so thank you for this list. Going to start with Mohammed Naseehu Ali’s short stories. I’ll definitely look out for these writers when I go bookshopping.
    Happy Independence!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you so much for this. Mohammed Nassehu Ali is my personal favorite on the list. It fills me with so much hope for Ghanaian lit that we have all these writers out there. The next step would be to make their work a bit more accessible.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Well i enjoyed his short story, “The prophet of zongo street” . I felt that he tried to portray a segment of Ghanaian society that is not often represented in our literature. Also I feel that Ama Darko is the most overrated on the list? 🤐

        Liked by 1 person

      2. OMG do you own the Ali’s book?? Can I please borrow it from you? (sigh, I know how we feel about lending books… but I want itttttt!). Maybe you think Amma Darko is overrated because she’s usually read on Legon campus in the African Studies department LOL! But worldwide – I really think she is underrated.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Lol I honestly wish I still had Ali’s book so I could read it again. But sadly it’s missing 😭. For Amma Darko, maybe overrated was too strong. She is very popular and accessible here. But I think she’s been telling the same story in all her books. (Full disclosure, I’ve only read two).

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Ei, how is the book missing? Shame, Hakeem! LMAO. Fair enough- I get what you mean when you say she tells the same stories in all her books. I guess she likes using the same themes over and over again… which I like to be honest. I wanna read more of her work this year. I’ve only read 2 as well.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Wonderful work here. I’m familiar with some of the works of the authors above, like Mary Ashun, Mamle Kabu, Nana Prah (an amazing romance writer), Amma Darko, Boakyewaa Glover and Nana Awere Damoah. Some of their works have been reviewed on my blog. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not familiar with his work- thanks for the addition. Also, please keep in mind this is a 3-part series, many more writer & the work are listed in the other parts.


  6. You and I have similar taste in covers. Enjoyed reading the list. Haven’t read any of the books or authors named. Any suggestions for a good one to start with? I also learned something about the Africa Independence movement; didn’t realize that Ghana had led the way. So thanks for the education.

    Liked by 1 person

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