By John Owoo
(In Accra – Ghana)
Prof. Ato Quayson last week dilated on several issues relating to his award winning books “Oxford Street” and “Fathers & Daughters” in a chat with Prof. Esi Sutherland during the opening ceremony of PaGya Literary Festival at the Goethe-Institut in Accra.
Prof. Sutherland (Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana) engaged Prof. Quayson (Department of English, Stanford University – USA) on the roots of cosmopolitanism, urbanism and distribution of space among others following his descriptive account of the city of Accra in “Oxford Street”.
Indeed, Prof. Quayson unearthed the various planning systems that have shaped Accra alongside diverse effects that were compounded by the International Monetary Fund’s certified structural adjustment programs, which largely prepared the way for the early transformation of Osu from a largely residential neighborhood into a dynamic shopping, business and recreational area.
He revealed through “Oxford Street”, the penetrating commercialism, which clearly coexists with blatant economic inequalities thereby making this famous road a microcosm of historical and urban processes that have turned Accra into the variegated and contradictory metropolis it has become.
PaGya equally hosted workshops on Spoken Word / Poetry” (Tanya Evanson – Canada), “Young Adult Fiction” (Yaba Badoe – UK / Ghana), “Non Fiction & Memoirs” (Sabata Mpho Mokae & Pelu Awofeso – South Africa / Nigeria), “Writing Conscience into Fiction” (Chuma Nwokolo) and “Poetry” (Phillippa Yaa De Villiers – South Africa) were held concurrently in various spaces of the Institut.
Reading / discussions involved Oliver Van Beemen (A Multinational Unleashed), Maria Kwami (Secrets of the Bending Grove), Ositadima Amakaze (The Last Carver), The Waiting (Dr. Martin Egblewogbe), Ayesha Harunna Atta (Les Cent Puis de Salaga), Empi Baryeh (Expecting Ty’s Baby) and Yaba Badoe (Wolf Light and A Jigsaw of Fire and Stars).
Panel discussion topics include “Non Fiction, Memoirs and Biographies”, “Personal Perspectives on Popular Fiction”, “Writing for Children”, “Literary Reviews”, “New Initiatives by Libraries in Ghana”, “Literary Reviews”, “Trends in Ghanaian Contemporary Theatre” and “Sci Fi and Fantasy in Contemporary African Writing / Afrofuturism” among others.
Spoken word performers and poets, who captivated literature lovers include Kathleho Kano Shoro / Mmakgoshi Anita Tau (Botswana), Nana Asaase / Kwame Nwom (Ghana), Tanya Evanson (Canada), Phillippa Yaa De Villiers / Nametso (South Africa) and Mariska Araba Taylor / Eliplim Akorli (Ghana).
Goethe-Institut Ghana sponsored PaGya Literary Festival 2019, which organized in collaboration with the Writers Project of Ghana under the direction of Dr. Martin Egblewogbe and Martina Odonkor aka Mamle Kabu.