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Adam Jones

traveler and writer from what is now southern Ghana, was born c. 1827 in or near the Asante capital of Kumasi. In contemporary documents, his name often appears as Aquassie Boachi. His father Kwaku Dua (c.1797–1867) was Asantehene (King of Asante) from 1834 to 1867. According to the “History of Ashanti,” prepared in the mid-twentieth century under the chairmanship of Asantehene Prempeh II (1892–1970), Kwasi Boakye belonged to the village of Atomfuo, 8 miles (13 km) east of Kumasi. This suggests that on his mother’s side he came from the lineage of royal blacksmiths, which may explain why, in 1837 in accordance with his father s wishes he and a close relative of the same age Kwame Poku were chosen to accompany a Dutch embassy under Major General Jan Verveer on its return to Elmina on the coast They were subsequently brought to ...

Article

Joshunda Sanders

short story writer and essayist, was born in Savannah, Georgia, to James Allen McPherson, a master electrician, and Mable Smalls McPherson, a domestic servant.

McPherson grew up attending segregated public schools and sometimes played hooky from school to read at the “colored” branch of the local Carnegie library. As a teenager, he worked as a dining car waiter on passenger trains—an exclusively African American profession that figures prominently in some of his work. “The well-known short story, ‘A Solo Song: For Doc’ (from his first collection, 1969's Hue and Cry), for example, is a character study of two railroad waiters of different generations. McPherson continued to work on the trains of the Great Northern Railroad while attending Morris Brown College, a private, predominately African American institution in Georgia” (in “James Alan McPherson,” Contemporary Black Biography, no. 70 [2009 He was able to ...

Article

Jon Wallace

and winner of the Pulitzer Prize in fiction for Elbow Room (1978). James Alan McPherson was born in Savannah, Georgia, son of James Allen and Mable (Smalls) McPherson. He attended Morgan State University (1963–1964), Morris Brown College (BA, 1965), Harvard University (LLB, 1968), and the University of Iowa (MFA, 1969). He has taught English at the University of Iowa Law School (1968–1969), the University of California, Santa Cruz (1969–1970), Morgan State University (1975–1976), the University of Virginia (1976–1981), and the University of Iowa Writer's Workshop (1981—).

McPherson published his first book of short stories, Hue and Cry (1969 shortly after graduating from Harvard Law School which may explain his lawyerly approach to storytelling Like a good counsel he knows how to make the strongest rhetorical case for each of his ...

Article

Biodun Jeyifo

There is a great diversity of critical opinions on the writings and activities of Wole Soyinka, but on one thing there is an indisputable consensus: his stupendous productivity, which includes about forty titles since he began writing in the late 1950s, and a career in the theater, popular culture, and political activism matching his literary corpus in scope, originality, and propensity for generating controversy. Long before he became the first African to win the Nobel Prize for literature in 1986, he had clearly emerged as one of the most prominent writers in the world, his international fame resting as much on his writings as on his widely admired, fearless advocacy of human rights and social justice, both in his native Nigeria and in the wider context of the African continent.

Soyinka was born on 13 July 1934 in Abeokuta Nigeria His father Samuel Ayodele was a ...

Article

Ketu Katrak

When awarding the prize the Nobel committee described Wole Soyinka the creator of over twenty major works at that time as one of the finest poetical playwrights that have written in English and also remarked that his writing was full of life and urgency Soyinka pronounced Sho yin ka is the recipient of numerous other prestigious awards including several honorary doctorates from universities throughout the world Apart from his stature as a pioneer in African drama written in English Soyinka has produced a vast body of work as poet dramatist theater director novelist essayist autobiographer political commentator critic and theorist of art and culture Above all he has remained a responsible citizen committed to the values of human freedom truth and justice Social commitment he remarks is a citizen s commitment and embraces equally the carpenter the mason the banker the farmer the customs officer etc not forgetting the critic ...

Article

Biodun Jeyifo

Nigerian writer and the first African to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, was born Oluwole Akinwande Soyinka on 13 July 1934 in Abeokuta Nigeria One of the most prominent writers and public intellectuals in the world his international fame rests as much on his writings as on his widely admired fearless advocacy of human rights and social justice both in his native Nigeria and in other countries in Africa Primarily a playwright and dramatist Soyinka has written in virtually all of the literary genres and he has written rather prodigiously his corpus comprising more than forty five works of drama fiction poetry translation and nonfictional criticism memoirs and philosophical reflection Now in the eighth decade of his life he has spent six of those decades in a sustained unbroken work of social activism that stands as a necessary complement to the primacy of his life and career as ...