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.
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)