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Kofi Awoonor (born March 13, 1935 in Wheta) is a Ghanaian poet and author, whose work combines the poetic traditions of his native Ewe people and cont...
Kofi Awoonor (born March 13, 1935 in Wheta) is a Ghanaian poet and author, whose work combines the poetic traditions of his native Ewe people and contemporary and religious symbolism to depict Africa during decolonization.
Awoonor was born in Ghana when it was still called the Gold Coast. He went to university in there, and went on to teach African literature at the University of Ghana. While at the University of Ghana he wrote his first poetry book; Rediscovery. Like the rest of his work, Rediscovery was based on African oral poetry. In Ghana he managed the Ghana Film Corporation and founded the Ghana Play House. He then studied literature at the University of London, and while in England wrote several radio plays for the BBC.
He spent the early 1970s in the United States, studying and teaching at universities. While in the USA he wrote This Earth, My Brother, and My Blood. Awoonor returned to Ghana in 1975 as head of the English department at the University of Cape Coast. Within months he was arrested for helping a soldier accused of tying to overthrow the military government and was imprisoned without trial. After ten months he was found guilty and released. The house by the Sea is about his time in jail. After imprisonment Awoonor became politically active, and has written mostly nonfiction. From 1990 to 1994 Awoonor was Ghana's Ambassador to the United Nations where he headed the committee against apartheid.
Rediscovery and Other Poems (1964)
Night of My Blood (1971) - poems that explore Awooner's roots, and the impact of foreign rule in Africa
The House By the Sea (1978)
This Earth, My Brother (1971) - a cross between a novel and a poem
Comes the Voyager at Last (1992)
The Breast of the Earth: A Survey of the History, Culture, and Literature of Africa South of the Sahara (1975) Anchor Press, ISBN 0385070535
Ghana: A Political History from Pre-European to Modern Times (1990)
 Further reading
Robert Fraser, West African Poetry: A Critical History, Cambridge University Press (1986), ISBN 052131223X
Kwame Anthony Appiah and Henry Louis Gates, Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience, Basic Civitas Books (1999), ISBN 0465000711 - p.153