MADE IN GHANA book launched!

Thoughts Shared During Launch of MADE IN GHANA (Written by Rodney Assan and Fui Can-Tamakloe)

First of all, hearty congratulations to Rodney and his friend Fui. I wish I had had the confidence to publish my first book at their age. But I am glad they are doing so; after all, shouldn’t our children and those coming after us do better than us? That gives me immense joy.
I have on many occasions challenged the assertion that the best way to keep a secret from a black man is to hide it in a book. My business and literary partner Kofi Akpabli and I were in Monrovia last month for a reading event and that is one of the refrains we realised Liberians had internalized: that information in books are hidden from Liberians forever. I was sad to hear that, even though I saw what they meant. I also challenge the statement that Ghanaians don’t read.
My counterpoint is that when you give Ghanaians, and, by extension, the black man material that speaks about his circumstances, that tells his stories, that captures experiences he is familiar with, that speaks to his mind and soul, you will find that he will respond. It is like having a bowl of fufu served to you in the Kalahari Desert. Just a sip of the soup would make you go hhmmmm. 
This is why I believe that we need new writers and we need new storytellers. We need new names on our literary landscape. Again, I believe each of us have stories to tell. We need Ghanaians telling stories from Ghana for Ghanaians and the world.
And when we have done that, we need to make reading hip again.

Which is why my friend Akpabli and I have been going round the country and now extending to the continent reading to people from all walks of life, demonstrating to them that reading for pleasure is pleasurable.
So far we have done multiple readings in Accra and Tema, and have also been to Ho, Takoradi and Kumasi in Ghana, and Monrovia and Lagos outside Ghana.
Recently we have added book publishing to our activities, helping writers to achieve their dreams of seeing their works in print and in ebooks.
The love of literature and of reading is an entire ecosystem that should encompass writers writing and getting published, writers having their books distributed well and getting paid, writers interacting with readers and the public in activations such as reading events, the media reviewing these books and publicising them, libraries being activated and made attractive to both old and young, and parents getting caught reading even as they impress on their kids to read.
I heard during the intros a number of you saying you don’t read. What you were saying is that you don’t read outside the classroom. 
For some of us, all the reading we have done is before we left school. If all you know is what you learnt in school, then you are on the way to being obsolete. For the world is changing fast and if all you know today is what you knew 6 months ago, then you have been dead for 6 months.

We are doing our bit and you being here to support these young writers is part of that march towards making Ghana a reading nation again. For, a reading nation is a thinking nation and a nation that thinks doesn’t glorify mediocrity and stupidity. A thinking nation plans ahead and executes.
Congrats again to Fui and Rodney.
Let’s see your second books soon!
~ Nana Awere Damoah 

1 September 2017

Accra, Ghana

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Liberia Meets Ghana Cultural Exchange 

BOOK READING IN MONROVIA

In 2015, two Ghanaian writers Kofi Akpabli and Nana Awere Damoah gave themselves two targets: to do quarterly public book readings and to extend the activity beyond Accra. The aim is to promote reading and writing especially, among the youth of Africa. They dubbed it DAkpabli Readathon. 
To date, not only have the duo done several readings in Accra, they have extended their literary event to Tema, Kumasi, Ho and Takoradi. Actually, they have also pushed the frontiers beyond the country’s shores. In April this year, Nana and Kofi read to a delighted group of Ghanaian professionals in Lagos.
The DAkpabli Readathon team has been invited by Forte Publishing, which organises MONROVIA READS, for a mini-fest of reading, literary workshop and culture in Monrovia on 18 and 19 August 2017. They are also going to hold a mentor’s session for young Liberian writers. 

Our visit is also a cultural exchange event which will promote the neighbourly relationship between Ghana and Liberia, as well as taking reading and literacy advocacy across the continent. 

Author Profiles
Kofi Akpabli is a writer and a teacher whose latest work has been published in a new Commonwealth Non-Fiction Anthology launched in the UK in May 2016.  He is a two-time winner of the CNN/Multichoice African Journalist for Arts and Culture. Kofi has also won GJA and National awards in Culture and Tourism. He writes a travel column Going Places in The Mirror newspaper, published weekly in Accra.
Amongst his books are: Harmattan – a Cultural Profile of Northern Ghana, Romancing Ghanaland: the Beauty of Ten Regions, A Sense of Savannah – Tales of a Friendly Walk through Northern Ghana, and Tickling the Ghanaian – Encounters with Contemporary Culture. Kofi’s latest work Made In Nima has won a place in an African anthology featuring writers from 14 countries which was published by the Commonwealth in London. 
Nana Awere Damoah is a writer and a technical services consultant. A British Council Chevening alumnus, Nana started writing in 1997, when he won first prize in the Step Magazine National Writing Competition. He is the author of seven books: Quotes by NAD, Nsempiisms, Sebitically Speaking, I Speak of Ghana, Tales from Different Tails, Through the Gates of Thought, and Excursions in my Mind. His seventh book, Quotes by NAD, has just recently been published as an ebook and paperback on Amazon.

Two Writers On A Mission

​Last year, two Ghanaian writers Kofi Akpabli and Nana Awere Damoah gave themselves two targets: to do regular (preferably quarterly) public book readings and to extend the reading sessions beyond Accra.


Last year they held two readings. But could not go outside Accra.
For 2016, they had the same objectives and so far, they have done three readings: at PaJohn’s (Jan), Sytris Bookshop (Feb) and Vidya Bookstore (June).
For this quarter, Kofi & NAD intend to do two readings and finally achieve the second target: a double-strike; readings in Accra (3 Sept) and Kumasi (24 Sept).
They continue on their mission to make reading hip again. These writers, with 10 books between them including popular titles Tickling the Ghanaian, I Speak of Ghana, Romancing Ghanaland and Sebitically Speaking, believe that reading should be done for pleasure as well and not only for exams.
Come enjoy the sound of the written word.
Do share with another friend! Bring a friend! 


Get caught reading.
#Like #Share

Damoah, Akpabli hold Reading Session – The Mirror

Culled from The Mirror, 8 July 2016

Writers Nana Awere Damoah and Kofi Akpabli have held a reading session dubbed ‘Tickling the Nsempiisms’ at the Vidya Bookstore in Osu, Accra. 
A small but devoted group of book enthusiasts turned up for the event which Nana Damoah later described as “one of their best book readings.”
The pair started their collaborative activity in 2014 and read in public places to book lovers three times in a year. 
The last one before the Vidya session was in January, this year at Sytris Bookshop, near A&C Mall at East Legon in Accra. Before then, they read in December 2015 at PaJohn’s Place, also in Accra. 
The reading sessions attract people from various backgrounds: students, university lecturers, civil servants and writers. 
“We were so encouraged by the over 50 book enthusiasts who attended, listened, asked questions, giggled and stayed on after the reading to interact at Vidya. We continue on our journey to make reading pleasurable again,” Nana Damoah told The Mirror.
Mr Akpabli also said requests were coming in from book lovers outside Accra for them to consider holding sessions in other regional capitals.
Mr Akpabli is a columnist of The Mirror and has twice been named CNN-Multi-choice African Journalist for Arts and Culture. 
His books include Romancing Ghanaland – The Beauty of 10 Regions; Harmattan- A Cultural Profile of Northern Ghana and Tickling The Ghanaian -Encounters With Contemporary Culture.
Nana Damoah holds a Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering and his books include Sebitically Speeking, Tales from Different Tails; Excursions In My Mind, I Speak Of Ghana and Through The Gates of Thought.

We Tickled the Nsempiisms!

26 June 2016

Note of Appreciation

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Yesterday Kofi Akpabli and I had one of our best book readings at Vidya Bookstore. We were so encouraged by the over 50 book enthusiasts who attended, listened, asked questions, giggled and stayed more than an hour after the reading just interacting and chatting.

Many thanks to Writers Project of Ghana, particularly Martin and Elizabeth, for their continuous support. We are grateful to Vidya Bookstore for hosting us – do make time to visit Vidya: one of the best stocked bookshops in Accra at the moment. Even if they don’t have the book you want, they will order it for you.

To Fianu Clara and Special Norte Sobolo, you made the Item 13 sweater than Item 12 ☺

Finally, as Kofi told me later, someone asked him whether our attire was just for a book reading…

Well, our response is this:

We were just…

Getting #GIGI With It!

Thanks so much, Wear Ghana.

We continue on our journey to making reading pleasurable again.

We had people asking when the next reading will happen. Well, we want to be bold and declare, especially in respond to requests from those outside Accra:

September, in Kumasi!

Now, who is ready to host us in Kumasi?

PS: Listen to the audio recording of Tickling The Nsempiisms – June 2016 on #SoundCloud

Unfortunately it was truncated at a point 😟

#TickingTheNsempiism

An Irresistible Literary Tiger Nut

…Sebitically Speaking is released

ACCRA, 14 AUGUST, 2015

Sebitically Speaking, described by Daily Graphic’s Samuel Obour as ‘an irresistible literary tiger nut every lover of Ghana must chew’ has been released in paperback, written by the Ghanaian writer and engineer, Nana Awere Damoah.

The fifth book released by the writer in eight years, Sebitically Speaking is a collection of Sebiticals, no-holds-back articles infused equally with humour and satire, a commentary on socio-political happenings in Ghana and Africa.

“Inspired by Damoah’s late uncle, nicknamed Wofa Kapokyikyi, who was known for speaking his mind like nobody’s business, Sebitically Speaking is set around responsible citizenship and nation building. The 26-chapter read, which focuses mainly on Ghana with references to neighbouring Nigeria and Africa as a whole, exposes the country’s vulnerabilities and highlights her prospects. With the economy, energy, health care, education, political process; even family, faith and morals forming the bulk of the contents, the subjects in this book aren’t what strike you as unique. It is how Damoah drums them home in a manner that transcends mere commentary to provoke action,” writes Antoinette Herrmann-Condobrey, a freelance journalist based in New Jersey, USA and a columnist for The Africa report.

Sebitically Speaking is available for purchase on Amazon sites globally and in outlets in Ghana from September 2015. It is also offered as eBook on Kindle, iTunes/iBooks, Azaliabooks (in Ghana, where payment can be done with mobile money) and other eBook platforms.

About Nana Awere Damoah:

Nana Awere Damoah is the author of three non-fiction books: I Speak of Ghana (2013), Through the Gates of Thought (2010) and Excursions in my Mind (2008) and one fiction book (a collection of short stories), Tales from Different Tails (2011). He has also contributed to two anthologies. He keeps a personal blog at http://www.nanadamoah.com and is a columnist on Infoboxdaily.com, writing under the column Sebitically Speaking, where the Sebiticals in this book were first published.

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Sebitically Speaking: How it Strikes Me – Antoinette Herrmann-Condobrey​

In an information-saturated age where skimming through pages has virtually become the standard for reading, you know you got something unique when you find your head willingly buried in a book, checking out every line and with a smile. That is what Nana Awere Damoah gives you in Sebitically Speaking.

Inspired by Damoah’s late uncle, nicknamed Wofa Kapokyikyi, who was known for speaking his mind like nobody’s business, Sebitically Speaking is set around responsible citizenship and nation building. The 24-chapter read, which focuses mainly on Ghana with references to neighboring Nigeria and Africa as a whole, exposes the country’s vulnerabilities and highlights her prospects. With the economy, energy, health care, education, political process; even family, faith and morals forming the bulk of the contents, the subjects in this book aren’t what strike you as unique. It is how Damoah drums them home in a manner that transcends mere commentary to provoke action.

One key observation that cuts through this pool of personal accounts is how incredibly the individual’s lackadaisical attitude toward professional obligation mirrors what happens at the level of government. Why should an employee categorize the delivery of his child as an emergency when he had known for nine months that this child is on its way? Why should a government that had four years to prepare for a World Cup tournament term its obligation to pay members of the national team an emergency? Just as the old man seen struggling to finish a load of meat he set aside for himself while eating with others, government-led projects are dotted all over the place, many of them virtually abandoned, with hardly anything completed on time. “Rome was not built in a day,” Damoah agrees, but “it was built every day,” he argues.

As case after case rolls out in this book, character and responsibility is underscored, and these are linked effectively to the very foundations on which we are brought up as individuals. Damoah’s own upbringing, narrated in chapter 10 with incredibly humbling details, points to the sacrifices of hardworking parents, the eagle eye of a teacher who saw the potential of his student far beyond the walls of elementary education, and later in life, a professional head with an extraordinary sense of duty.

The style of expression in this casually-narrated but provocative read, which gets funny sometimes and emotional occasionally, is distinct. A chunk of the narrative comes as veiled expressions with obvious meanings. Yet, the bluntness that characterizes the bulk reminds you of the one person whose name runs through every chapter, the uncle to whom this book is dedicated. Evidently, Kapokyikyi’s piercingly candid vocalizations – helped habitually by booze – have found well-deserved credit in Damoah’s own intellectual freedom, growth and sense of humor.

“We are a people steeped in gullibility, combined with superstition; a very deadly mixture,” he writes in chapter 5. This chapter laments Ghana and Africa’s weaknesses in emergency preparedness and response, using Ebola as an example. It emphasizes the void left for myths and lies when our leaderships fail us. But the depiction of the citizenry who so easily get taken in by deceit draws a mixed reaction of humor and embarrassment. Who drinks medicine handed him or her by a stranger in a bus without questioning what’s in the concoction? Yet, how many times haven’t we seen this happening around us – if we are not ourselves the drinkers of this strange mixture.

In the end, Sebitically Speaking provokes our thoughts about who we are and our priorities as a people. It reminds us of what we have, how we’ve managed these things and why we cannot afford to continue in the direction we’ve been heading.

It may seem like so much was given out in this review, but that’s not the case at all: Nigeria and the okada experience got no mention; neither did Kotobabi and the latrine situation. One thing that makes this read interesting is how the different pieces of narratives blend into a coherent whole with a unifying message of responsible citizenship and nation building.

Antoinette Herrmann-Condobrey is a freelance journalist based in New Jersey, USA and a columnist for The Africa report.

Sebitically Speaking is Nana Awere Damoah’s 5th book. The ebook version was published in March 2015 and is available on Amazon Kindle, iBooks, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Azabiabooks and other online ebook platforms.  It is due for launch as paperback in the second quarter of 2015.

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Kwame Gyan reviews Sebitically Speaking

If we had a couple of hundreds of Nana Awere Damoah in Ghana we would have:

1. Had the history of our state, especially its most recent one well preserved;
2. Put politicians on their toes consistently each day of our lives and hopefully affect the growth of our Ghana;
3. Had a compilation of the daily wahala of the Ghanaian so beautifully chronicled that we will love to read again and again while pondering on “how the heck we got here”.

In Sebitically Speaking, we get a compilation of the happenings in the Ghana most of us are not proud of but yet remain hopeful of its resurrection going forward.

If you have not been to Ghana before or have not been here in a while, this book gives you the perfect map with commentary to guide you through the heat of Paga, the wet enclaves of Enchi and Nzulezu, the not so clean shores of Accra and her surburbs, the forests of Bono and Ahafo through the galamseyed-destroyed land of Ashanti.

Whilst on this journey, NAD, as we all call him, reveals to the uninitiated some of the saddest comments, incredulous actions, lamest excuses and amazingly unbelievable heart of the Ghanaian to contain all that rubbish.

Sebitically Speaking should be the perfect gift for any public official you know; your assembly member, MP, DCE, NCE, Minister of State, Vice President and President and all those who are paid with our tax money.

Kwame Gyan is a Blogger, Social Media Activist and PR/Marketing Professional.

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