Assiedu Benneh, Mamle Kabu, Martin, Zukiswa Wanner and Kofi Berko

Readings from the AfroYoungAdult anthology were a special feature of the Literary Crossroads in Accra with Mamle Kabu and Zukiswa Wanner on August 28, 2019.

Literary Crossroads is a Goethe-Institut project where writers meet colleagues from all over the continent and from the African diaspora to discuss trends, topics and themes prevalent in their literatures today. The exchanges, which usually pair a local writer with one from another African country, have over the last few years happened in the cities of Accra, Johannesburg, Lagos, and Nairobi.

The Goethe-Institut Accra hosted Literary Crossroads with Ghanaian writer Mamle Kabu partnered with Kenyan-based South African novelist and publisher Zukiswa Wanner. Mamle Kabu, a co-director of the Writers Project Ghana, first came to the attention of many in the African literary scene when she was shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2009. The writer and poet is the author of the young adult novel The Kaya-Girl (2012).

Zukiswa Wanner is the author of the novels The Madams (2006), Behind Every Successful Man (2008), Men of the South (2010), and London Cape Town Joburg (2014). She has also written the children’s books Jama Loves Bananas (2011), Refilwe: An African Retelling of Rapunzel (2014) and The Seven Continents: Africa (2019) as well as the satirical nonfiction Maid in SA: 30 Ways to Leave Your Madam (2013) and travel memoir Hardly Working (2018).

Assiedu Benneh, Zukiswa Wanner, Mamle Kabu, and Kofi Berko,
Assiedu Benneh, Zukiswa Wanner, Mamle Kabu, and Kofi Berko,

The two writers read from their work. Writers Project of Ghana boss Martin Egblewogbe moderated the evening asking them questions about their work and more before opening to the audience.

There was a unique addition to this edition of Literary Crossroads as two writers who had been selected for the AfroYoungAdult project featured. This project which is sponsored by the Goethe Institut and coordinated by Zukiswa Wanner has over the last few months been building the capacity of writers on the continent to produce work for Young Adults. It had workshops across several African cities before those who attended them being whittled down and being selected to feature in the anthology Water Birds On The Lake Shore. The Accra workshop was facilitated by Mamle Kabu.

Assiedu Benneh and Kofi Berko, two of the 17 writers featured in the anthology, read from their stories and also engaged with audience on their writing and motivations as well as their experience in the AfroYoungAdult project.