Tag: African Literature


An interview with Ghanaian author Frances Mensah Williams

Growing up between cultures, because the country you live in is different to your ancestral roots, can be a challenging journey of self-discovery. That’s why for me, reading From Pasta to Pigfoot by Frances Mensah Williams, was a complete revelation.

Author Frances Mensah Williams (c) MisBeee

Author Frances Mensah Williams (c) MisBeee

Here was a novelist who skilfully articulates these insecurities about identity and deftly weaves them into an engaging story about cultural awakening.

If only this book had been around when I was growing up!
The novel, published by Jacaranda Books Art Music, charts the experiences of 20-something Ghana-born Londoner Faye Bonsu who grapples with understanding her place as an Anglo-Ghanaian.

Her understanding of herself is tested when her infuriating boyfriend Michael challenges her constantly about a heritage she knows very little about. When she decides to find out about her Asante roots, she realises there is much more to her than she previously thought.

 

Frances takes some time out of her busy schedule to share some insights with me on her book. She explains in the first of three YouTube vlog instalments here, why food features so heavily in the novel.

In part two, she explains why a book on the experiences of a British-Ghanaian living in London is every bit as authentic as a piece of ‘African’ literature set in a rural African country.
And in the final instalment here, she talks about a From Pasta to Pigfoot sequel, set for publication in April 2016, and a possible TV adaptation.

 

From Pasta to Pigfoot is Frances’ first novel but the Ghana-born author is a seasoned writer who has penned two non-fiction books. She is also the chief executive of award-winning UK-based human resource company Interims for Development, and is the publisher and managing editor of website and online magazine ReConnect Africa.

Frances’ other accomplishments include an inspiring TEDxTalks presentation at the beginning of the year entitled Where is home. And the bookworms among you will recall she launched From Pasta to Pigfoot at literary festival Africa Writes 2015 in July.
By Kirsty Osei-Bempong (@MisBeee)

Introducing you to…

GHRBS: Taiye Selasi

 

07_april_taiye-selasis

 

She has been widely tipped as the most exciting literary voice to have appeared in years and her debut novel “Ghana must Go” is set to take the literary world by storm!  Taiye Selasi the writer and photographer of Nigerian and Ghanaian origin raised in London and educated in the United States has produced a novel which spans the globe from Accra, Ghana, to London to New York. It’s the story of a successful African immigrant family living in Boston. They seem to be fulfilling the American dream until the father, a surgeon, inexplicably leaves. This sets into motion an unraveling family that’s repaired only by a reunion following their father’s untimely death. The narrative of the story is steeped in emotion and all kinds of love and betrayal and exposes revelations that span generations and cross national boundaries.

Taiye Selasi was born in London, and raised in Brookline, Massachusetts – she is the elder of twin daughters in a family of academics. Selasi’s mother, a pediatrician in Ghana, is widely known across Africa for her advocacy of children’s rights.Her father, a surgeon and public intellectual, has published numerous volumes of poetry, one included in the literature curriculum of Ghana. Selasi graduated with a BA in American Studies from YaleUniversity and holds an MPhil in International Relations from NuffieldCollege, Oxford. Taiye means first twin in her mother’s native Yoruba. Selasi means “God has heard” in her father’s native Ewe.

In 2005 LiP Magazine published “Bye-Bye, Babar (Or: What is an Afropolitan?)”Selasi’s seminal text on “Afropolitans” (which combines the words African and cosmopolitan to describe a contemporary generation of Africans) a phrase which has been championed ever since the text’s release.   A year later Selasi wrote a short story “The Sex Lives of African Girls”. The story, which was published by Granta magazine in 2011, appears in Best American Short Stories 2012.Earlier In 2010 Ann Godoff at Penguin Press bought Selasi’s unfinished novel. Ghana Must Go is set to be is published in 15 countries this year. In 2012 Selasi launched the multimedia project “2154”, setting out to photograph and film young people in all 54 African countries which is also set to be completed this year in a film titled “twentysomethings”

Taiye Selasi has cemented herself as an all round creative talent. Thus now with her entry into the world of novel writing, she may just become one of the world’s great authors. “Ghana must Go” is a must read for any “Afropolitan” or simply anyone with an eye for a commanding story.

To find out more about Ms Selasi you can visit her website – http://www.taiyeselasi.com/

Taiye  Selasi Me Firi Ghana salutes you!