A Biography on Ama Ata Aidoo
Ama Ata Aidoo was a Ghanaian author, poet, playwright, and academic. She died on May 31 at the age of 81 after a brief illness.
Here are some facts to know about her.
1. Christina Ama Ata Aidoo was born on 23 March 1942 in Abeadzi Kyiakor in Ghana.
2. She had a twin brother, Kwame Ata.
3. Aidoo attended Wesley Girls’ Senior High School in Cape Coast, from 1961 to 1964.
4. Her first play published in 1965, The Dilemma of a Ghost, made Aidoo the first published African woman dramatist.
5. She bagged a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Ghana.
6. She held a fellowship in creative writing at Stanford University in California after graduation.
7. She served as a research fellow at the Institute of African Studies there and as a lecturer in English at the University of Cape Coast.
8. Aidoo was appointed Minister of Education under the Provisional National Defence Council in 1982 but she resigned after 18 months.
9. In 1983, she moved to live in Zimbabwe, where she continued her work in education as well as writing.
10. Aidoo received a Fulbright Scholarship award in 1988.
11. She was writer-in-residence at the University of Richmond, Virginia, in 1989 where she taught various English courses at Hamilton College in Clinton New York, in the early mid-1990s.
12. She was a visiting professor in the Africana Studies Department at Brown University for seven years, until 2011.
13. Her first novel, Our Sister Killjoy, was published in 1977 and remains one of her most popular works.
14. Her novel Changes won the 1992 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book (Africa).
15. Her poetic collection Someone Talking to Sometime won the Nelson Mandela Prize for Poetry in 1987.
16. Aidoo founded the Mbaasem Foundation, a non-governmental organization based in Ghana with a mission “to support the development and sustainability of African women writers in 2002.
17. Aidoo was a patron of the Etisalat Prize for Literature which was created in 2013 as a platform for African writers of debut books of fiction.
18. She was the subject of a 2014 documentary film, The Art of Ama Ata Aidoo, made by Yaba Badoe.
19. The Aidoo-Snyder Book Prize, awarded by the Women’s Caucus of the African Studies Association for an outstanding book published by a woman that prioritizes African women’s experiences, is named in honour of Ama Ata Aidoo and of Margaret C. Snyder, who was the founding director of UNIFEM.
20. Launched in March 2017, the Ama Ata Aidoo Centre for Creative Writing (Aidoo Centre), under the auspices of the Kojo Yankah School of Communications Studies at the African University College of Communications (AUCC) in Adabraka, Accra, was named in her honor, the first centre of its kind in West Africa.
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