Ama Ata Aidoo

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Ama Ata Aidoo
Born (1940-03-23) 23 March 1940 (age 74)
Saltpond, Ghana
Occupation Author, playwright, professor
Nationality Ghanaian
Genre Drama, fiction
Subject Comparative literature, postcolonial literature
Notable awards Commonwealth Writers Prize
1992

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.

Life[edit]

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.[1]

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, New York, in the early to mid-1990s. She is currently a Visiting Professor in the Africana Studies Department at Brown University.

Writings[edit]

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 - her collection Someone Talking to Sometime won the Nelson Mandela Prize for Poetry in 1987[2] - and has written several children's books.

Aidoo is the editor of the anthology African Love Stories.[3]

Bibliography[edit]

  • The Dilemma of a Ghost (play), Longman, 1965
  • Anowa (a play based on a Ghanaian legend), Longman, 1970
  • No Sweetness Here: A Collection of Short Stories, Longman, 1970
  • Our Sister Killjoy: or Reflections from a Black-eyed Squint, Longman, 1977
  • Someone Talking to Sometime (a poetry collection), Harare: College Press, 1986
  • The Eagle and the Chickens and Other Stories (for children), Tana Press, 1986
  • Birds and Other Poems, Harare: College Press, 1987
  • Changes: a Love Story (novel), The Women's Press, 1991
  • An Angry Letter in January (poems), Dangaroo Press, 1992
  • The Girl Who Can and Other Stories, Heinemann African Writers Series, 1997
  • Diplomatic Pounds & Other Stories, Ayebia Clarke Publishing, 2012.

As editor[edit]

  • African Love Stories – an anthology,[4] Ayebia Clarke Publishing, 2006.

Further reading[edit]

  • Aditya Misra, "Death in Surprise: Gender and Power Dynamics in Ama Ata Aidoo's Anowa". Journal of Drama Studies, Vol. 6, No. 1, 2012. P. 81-91.
  • Anne V. Adams (ed.), Essays in Honour of Ama Ata Aidoo at 70: A Reader in African Cultural Studies. Ayebia Clarke Publishing, 2012.
  • Ada Uzoamaka Azodo and G. Wilentz, Emerging Perspectives on Ama Ata Aidoo, Africa Research & Publications, 1999.
  • Vincent O. Odamtten, The Art of Ama Ata Aidoo: Polylectics and Reading Against Neocolonialism. University Press of Florida, 1994.
  • Esther Pujolràs-Noguer, An African (Auto)biography. Ama Ata Aidoo's Literary Quest: Strangeness, nation and tradition, LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing, 2012.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Naana Banyiwa Horne, "Aidoo, Ama Ata", Who's Who in Contemporary Women's Writing, 2001, Routledge.
  2. ^ Ama Ata Aidoo biography, Heinemann/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
  3. ^ "Yaba Badoe’s African Love Story, 'The Rival'", Buried in Print, 16 November 2011.
  4. ^ African Love Stories – an anthology, Ayebia.

External links[edit]