Sept 22: Ama Ata Aidoo: Five Decades of Killjoy Feminism
September 22nd, Thursday
3pm Accra | 11am New York | 9.30pm Mumbai
A rare opportunity to listen to Professor Ama Ata Aidoo speak about Our Sister Killjoy: or Reflections from a Black-eyed Squint, her debut novel published 45 years ago in 1977. The semi-autobiographical, experimental novel introduced the world to Sissie, a killjoy with staunchly anti-colonial and feminist opinions but with a compassionate heart and a boisterous sense of humor. We will celebrate Professor Aidoo's legendary and multidimensional career as writer, playwright, poet, writer, educator, and minister.
About the author
Ama Ata Aidoo (b. 1940) was born in Ghana and continues her extraordinary and prolific six-decade career as a writer, educator, and leader. Aidoo started writing at a young age and decided to pursue her calling when she was a student at the University of Ghana (Legon). While at university in the mid-60s, Aidoo wrote two plays, The Dilemma of a Ghost and Anowa. However, it was her novel Our Sister Killjoy that was to catapult her to fame as well as controversy. She worked as an academic for several years while writing short stories, poetry and plays. She held fellowships and teaching appointments in English, African, and American Studies departments of several universities and colleges in the United States, the United Kingdom and Ghana, and also delivered the Walter Rodney Visions of Africa lectures in London in 1986.
Aidoo became the Minister of Education in 1982 under the Jerry Rawlings administration in Ghana but resigned after 18 months because she felt that she would not be able to make education free for all. She won the 1992 Commonwealth Writers' Prize for her novel Changes: A Love Story and she founded the Mbaasem Foundation in 2000 which is a nonprofit dedicated to supporting and promoting the work of African women writers. The Aidoo-Snyder book prize, awarded by the Women's Caucus of the African Studies Association for an outstanding book published by a woman that prioritizes African women's experiences, is named in honor of Ama Ata Aidoo and of Margaret C. Snyder, who was the founding director of UNIFEM. Aidoo's vast range of publications include No Sweetness Here (1970), The Eagle and the Chickens (1986; a collection of children’s stories), Birds and Other Poems (1987), An Angry Letter in January and Other Poems (1992), The Girl Who Can and Other Stories (1997), and Diplomatic Pounds and Other Stories (2012), among others.
We will start as a chat between our creative director, Bhakti Shringarpure, followed by a conversation with a wonderful panel comprising Ainehi Edoro, Esther Armah, Meg Arenberg and Otoniya J. Okot Bitek. This event is organized in collaboration with Africa is a Country, Brittle Paper, and The Armah Institute of Emotional Justice.
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