The last bit of the 2021 has been great! I look back at the last few months of 2021 with fond memories.
My year had been busy working on manuscripts, painting and illustrating. The Contest and other Spiderman Tales had been published by Dakpabli & Associates earlier in the year and was yet to be launched.
MY BOOK LAUNCH AT THE PA GYA LITERARY FESTIVAL IN ACCRA
It all picked up on the 16th of October 2021, when The Contest and other Spiderman Tales was launched at the Pa Gya Literary Festival in Accra in November. Pa Gya is an important and well respected literary festival in Ghana and the launch meant a lot to me.
The launch included my presentation on the book where I spoke about my work in totally reimagining the depiction of Ananse. I also spoke at length about my influences – South African Rock Art and Arthur Rackham’s illustration of Cinderella, and how it all came together to create a new archetype for our beloved fireside hero.
This was followed by a Q and A session and a book signing through which I met interesting people as well as reconnected with friends.
GAW SUNDAY – AUTHOR OF THE MONTH OF NOVEMBER
I was then honored by the Ghana Association of Writers as their author for the month of November, 2021! That was so unexpected! I was invited to talk about my book at the Ghana Association of Writer’s GAW Sunday on the 7th of Novermber. GAW Sunday is an event on the first Sunday of every month, held at the PAWA House in Accra, that brings writers together to share and promote their work as well as discuss issues relevant to writers in this country.
At this event, I presented detailed slides on my work process. It generated a lively discussion which I enjoyed to no end. I think people were fascinated by my decision to turn Ananse’s youthful and slender figure, with no pot belly and grey hair, and had no facial mimicry at all. This constituted a substantial departure from the usual depictions of Ananse in Ghana, where he is seen as a middle aged potbellied man, whose facial expressions played an important role.
MY BOOK IS SHORTLISTED FOR THE 5TH LITERARY GAW AWARDS
In late November, my publisher, Dakpabli and Associates contacted to inform me that my book had been shortlisted in the children’s book category of the 5th Ghana Association of Writer’s Literary Award.
That was an amazing surprise. Prior to the award ceremony, the Ghana Association of Writers, organized an event to acknowledge and bring together all the shortlisted writers. We had an amazing time talking about our work, our creative processes and simply our unique visions as writers. It was an opportunity for me to meet and interact with other writers.
THE 5TH GAW LITERARY AWARDS
On the 16th of December, the Ghana Association of Writers held its 5th Literary Award Ceremony at the AMA auditorium in Accra. I had the honor of being one of the special guests of this event. My book, The Contest and Other Spiderman Tales, won an award, the 2nd prize in the children’s book category! I am truly grateful to GAW!
Awards are great, but they are not the main reason why writers write. However once the one’s book is published, it is a great honor to receive the acknowledgement of one’s peers. Last but not the least, awards play an important role and helping authors and publishers in marketing and selling books.
In talking about The Contest, I was attracted to working with folktales because I feel because I think it is important to remind ourselves of this part of our cultural heritage. Yet each new generation is different and it is inevitable that folktales and folk characters may be reimagined. This is a good thing because it allows all of us, both young old and in between, to engage yet again with folktales and keep them alive in our public consciousness. This may have been the overarching idea behind my work as writer and illustrator on the The Contest and Other Spiderman Tales, The Frog and Lizard’s Final Goal, and the Tortoise Who Wanted to Fly, an eBook made temporary available for free on this site.
MY RESOLUTIONS THIS YEAR
I tend not to make new year resolutions, but I do have some plans that carry over from last year, which is to draw and paint more, complete the manuscripts that started in 2021.
I have many other projects that I am working on, but I will often return to Ghanaian folktales, particularly as an illustrator. I am now completing another illustrated book, a collection of six new Ananse stories. These are lesser known stories and they are different in character – darker humor and more ironic. I feel this new stories show a more complex and multifaceted Ananse. The stories also include more secondary animal characters than in the first book; the leopard a staple and also the cat, the goat and the rabbit. I am illustrating these this new batch of stories in the same style as in The Contest and Other Spiderman Tales. I felt it would lend itself well to the nature of the stories and I also wanted to keep the archetype of Ananse developed in my first book – an agile, youthful Ananse who expresses everything through his movement. And there is a lot of movement in these new stories, I assure you – fights, fantastic escapades and magical moments. I can’t wait to share this second book with you, my readers and followers!
Here’s a teaser. A few Illustrations coming up in the next collection of Ananse stories.
To all my readers and followers, I want to say thank you for your kind support. Keep reading and to my fellow writers and ilustrators, keep creating. Happy New Year 2022!