Ama Ata Aidoo
|Ama Ata Aidoo|
23 March 1940 |
|Occupation||Author, Playwright, Professor|
|Subjects||Comparative literature, Postcolonial Literature|
|Notable award(s)||Commonwealth Writers Prize
Born in Saltpond in Ghana's Central Region, she grew up in a Fante royal household, the daughter of Nana Yaw Fama, chief of Abeadzi Kyiakor, and Maame Abasema. Aidoo was sent by her father to Wesley Girls' High School in Cape Coast from 1961 to 1964. The headmistress of Wesley Girls' bought her her first typewriter. After leaving high school, she enrolled at the University of Ghana in Legon and received her Bachelor of Arts in English as well as writing her first play, The Dilemma of a Ghost, in 1964. The play was published by Longman the following year, making Aidoo the first published African woman dramatist.
She worked in the United States of America where she held a fellowship in creative writing at Stanford University. She also served as a research fellow at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, and as a Lecturer in English at the University of Cape Coast, eventually rising there to the position of Professor.
Aside from her literary career, Aidoo was appointed Minister of Education under the Provisional National Defence Council in 1982. She resigned after 18 months. She has also spent a great deal of time teaching and living abroad for months at a time. She has lived in America, Britain, Germany, and Zimbabwe. Aidoo taught various English courses at Hamilton College in Clinton, NY in the early to mid 1990s. She is currently a Visiting Professor in the Africana Studies Department at Brown University.
Aidoo's works of fiction particularly deal with the tension between Western and African world views. Her first novel, Our Sister Killjoy, was published in 1977 and remains one of her most popular works. Many of Aidoo's protagonists are women who defy the stereotypical women's roles of their time. Her novel Changes, won the 1992 Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best Book (Africa). She is also an accomplished poet, and has written several children's books.
- The Dilemma of a Ghost (play), Longman, 1965
- Anowa (a play based on a Ghanaian legend), 1970
- No Sweetness Here: A Collection of Short Stories, 1970
- Our Sister Killjoy: or Reflections from a Black-eyed Squint, 1977
- Someone Talking to Sometime (a poetry collection), 1986
- The Eagle and the Chicken, 1986
- Birds and Other Poems, 1987
- Birds and Other Poems, 1988
- Changes: a Love Story (novel), 1991
- An Angry Letter in January (poems), 1992
- The Girl Who Can and Other Stories, 1997
- Diplomatic Pounds & Other Stories, Ayebia Clarke Publishing, 2012
- African Love Stories – an anthology, Ayebia Clarke Publishing, 2012.
- Anne V. Adams (ed.), Essays in Honour of Ama Ata Aidoo at 70: A Reader in African Cultural Studies. Ayebia Clarke Publishing, 2012.
- Naana Banyiwa Horne, "Aidoo, Ama Ata", Who's Who in Contemporary Women's Writing, 2001, Routledge
- African Love Stories – an anthology, Ayebia.
|Library resources about
Ama Ata Aidoo
|By Ama Ata Aidoo|
- full-text, searchable works from Black Drama database
- AIDOO, Ama Ata International Who's Who. accessed September 1, 2006.
- Ama Ata Aidoo – Her Story on BBC World Service