“I wanted to add to the world’s store of stories.”
This year people around the world are celebrating Ama Ata Aidoo’s seventh decade as a writer and we want to be amongst the first to say on March 23rd, Wo Tsir Nkwa!
For young people who want to write, Ama Ata Aidoo’s story of how she became a writer is a wonderful one which is best told in her own words.
“I opened the middle of the Daily Graphic, and there was my story!”
I had finished Form Five at Wesley Girls High School, and while waiting to go to Sixth Form, I had seen an advert in the Daily Graphic asking for Christmas Stories. Before I saw the advert, I had seen a nice pair of pink moccasin shoes in a shop window. The moment I saw the thing about the Christmas story, I thought why don”t I enter a story and then if I win, maybe I’ll go and buy myself the shoes. I sat up one night and wrote the story – it was all long hand – I mailed it to the Graphic and forgot all about it. On the 24th of December whilst blowing the fire in the kitchen, the newspaper person came through my uncle’s house..”Graphic! Graphic!” So we bought a copy. I opened the middle of the Daily Graphic and there was my story! You know since then I have published books and have had a whole lot of other very nice things happen to me as a writer, but I have not succeeded in forgetting that moment.
My father was the chief of Abeadze Kyiakor in the Central Region of Ghana. My mother was also in a very private way, a storyteller. At three a.m. she would be telling us stories! In my village we used to have a storyteller, Egya Amoanyi. I was also lucky to have had Teacher Baiden, who would encourage us to tell stories as a way to keep us awake, and take us around the neighboring villages to do plays and tell stories. So I had all that grounding.. at Wesley Girls, we had some brilliant literature teachers and programs – reading Jane Austen and William Shakespeare and all those British Writers.
Literature informs us about the world and inspires us to greater heights. We should encourage ourselves to read for pleasure!