Authors: Made in West Africa
Marguerite Abouet grew up in the Ivory Coast and would later relocate, along with her brother at the age of 12, to study in France. She writes for young adults and is renowned for the graphic novel series Aya de Yopougon in which she presents a picture of Ivory Coast that is completely different from the depressing images conveyed in the Western media.
Nii Ayikwei Parkes
Although born in the UK, Nii Ayikwei Parkes grew up on the streets of Kaneshie, Ghana. He writes poetry, prose and articles. Poetry is decidedly his first love and he is the author of three poetry chapbooks: eyes of a boy, lips of a man (1999); M is for Madrigal (2004), and Shorter (2005). Parkes is mainly interested the reinterpretation of language, micro-cultural conflicts and power, elements that can be found lacing his novel, Tail of the Blue Bird. The book was nominated for the Commonwealth Writers Prize.
When he was thirteen, his parents and two brothers having been killed, Ishmael was conscripted to fight as a child soldier in the horrific civil war that started in Sierra Leone in 1991. Beah would go through rehabilitation and end up in New York City where he finished high school at the United Nations International School, and afterward progressed to Oberlin College in Ohio. In 2007, the book A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, in which fluently recounts his experiences was published.
An assistant professor of French, Kodjo Adabra suffered immensely in the hands of a dictatorial regime back home in Togo where he lived before he traveled to the United States as a refugee. Disillusioned by the things he saw in his home country, he and his peers actively spoke against the government. He started to write a book about the regime’s impact on youth and this caused most of his problems with the government. He was jailed and tortured. When he left jail, he moved to the
United States to start a new life.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Possibly the most accomplished writer of the modern generation, Wikipedia says about her: Chimamanda has been described as “the most prominent” of a “procession of critically acclaimed young Anglophone authors that is succeeding in attracting a new generation of readers to African literature”.
Born 1977 in Enugu, Nigeria, she was raised in Nsukka. She dropped out of medical school to follow her dream of becoming a writer. Ms. Adichie studied Communication and Political Science at Eastern Connecticut State University. She graduated with the highest distinction.
Prominent awards have since trailed her works: Half of a Yellow Sun won the Orange award and her latest book Americanah won one of the most prestigious literary prizes in the US, the National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) award.
Mariama Khan was born in The Gambia in 1977 where she grew up in the midst of a loving family. She is a poet who sees poetry as a means of combating social injustice on a universal level. More than that, its value for her is the peace that it makes possible at a personal level. She is also a documentary filmmaker.
Nafisstou Dia Diouf
Author of several books, Nafissatou was born to a diplomat father and her mother was a teacher. She studied Applied Foreign Languages in International Commerce, Marketing and Commercial Law, Business and Commerce. It was discovered early on that she had a literary profile and was encouraged to pursue writing. She favours short texts but that does not like to be categorized in any particular genre.