Ama Ata Aidoo Biography


Aidoo was born Christina Ama Aidoo on March 23, 1940, in Abeadzi Kyiakor, what was then called the Gold Coast (later known as Ghana). She was the daughter of Nana Yaw Fama and his wife Maame Abba Abasema. Her father was a chief of Abeadzi Kyiakor (located in south central Ghana) and raised as royalty. Though women were not often educated at the time, Aidoo's father believed that for the good of Africa, both women and men should be well-educated. She attended Wesley Girls High School in Cape Coast, Ghana. By the age of fifteen, Aidoo wanted to be a writer. Aidoo later entered the University of Ghana in Legon. Before graduating in 1964, Aidoo took classes with Efua Sutherland, a famous Ghanian dramatist with an interest in folklore. Aidoo began writing in English, though her first language is Fanti, using traditional forms.

After graduation, Aidoo spent two years (1964-66) as a junior research fellow at her alma mater. It was here that she wrote her first drama, The Dilemma of a Ghost. Focusing on an African-American woman who has come to her new husband's homeland and the cultural problems that ensue, the play was performed at the University of Ghana in 1964 and published in 1965 to mixed reviews. Aidoo left Ghana for two years, 1967 to 1969, to go to the United States for a creative writing fellowship at Stanford University. While there, Aidoo began work on another play, Anowa (1970). This play also focused on the problems of a woman, the...

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(Literature of Developing Nations for Students)

Novelist, playwright, and short story writer Ama Ata Aidoo was born on March 23, 1942, in Abeadzi Kyiakor, Gold Coast (now Ghana). Her mother was Maame Abba Abasema, and her father, a chief of Abeadzi Kyiakor, was Nana Yaw Fama. Aidoo attended the University of Ghana, graduating with a B.A., with honors, in 1964. She later attended Stanford University. From 1970 to 1982, Aidoo worked as a lecturer in English at the University of Cape Coast, Ghana. She was a consulting professor at the Phelps-Stokes Fund Ethnic Studies Program in Washington, D.C., from 1974 to 1975, and from 1982 to 1983, she held the post of Minister of Education in Ghana. She was writer-in-residence at the University of Richmond, Virginia, in 1989. In 1990 and 1991, Aidoo was the Chair of the African Regional Panel of the Commonwealth Writer's Prize. She has one child, Kinna Likimani.

Aidoo was first noted for her play The Dilemma of a Ghost (1965), which was first performed in 1964. This was followed in 1970 by the publication of her play Anowa. Aidoo's first collection of short stories, No Sweetness Here, was published in 1970. Her first novel, loosely autobiographical, entitled Our Sister Killjoy: or Reflections from a Black-Eyed Squint, was published in 1977. Aidoo has subsequently published several collections of poetry and a collection of stories for children. Her second novel, Changes: A Love Story, published in 1991, has received a generally...

(The entire section is 303 words.)