Book Reading in Accra with Nii Ayikwei Parkes
Last Wednesday evening, there was a book reading at a coffee house and bookshop in downtown Accra. I have been busy ever since, but still wanted to write something about it. So better late than never, here it is.
The Accra literary crowd is not spoilt with world renowned authors coming to share their work, so it was an exciting evening. Author Nii Ayikwei Parkes, fulfilled most of our expectations. “Literature is a way to have fun”, he mused. With a clear voice and a warm smile, he read his Spoken Word poetry, sang some lines from a favorite song and shared highlights – with some extra italics – from his book the Tail of the Blue Bird (a Ghanaian crime novel that I loved, and I don’t easily warm up to this genre. Maybe this is another post, though).
The discussion that ensued touched on many different topics, but in the center was issues about editorial concerns about readers’ capacity to understand African literature (names, expressions, contexts), the localization of language and Parkes way of using italics to highlight Akan words and expressions in his book.
Maybe the most rewarding thing with the event, apart from meeting a wonderful writer, was that in the crowd I know we had some of the next authors out of Ghana!