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Ama Ata Aidoo | Ghanaian writer

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  • novel
  • children's literature
  • dramatic literature
  • short story
  • poetry

Ama Ata Aidoo , in fullChristina Ama Ata Aidoo (bornMarch 23, 1942 , Abeadzi Kyiakor, near Saltpond,Gold Coast[now Ghana]), Ghanaian writer whose work, written inEnglish , emphasized the paradoxical position of the modern African woman.

Aidoo began to write seriously while an honours student at the University ofGhana(B.A., 1964). She won early recognition with aproblem play , The Dilemma of a Ghost (1965), in which a Ghanaian student returning home brings hisAfrican Americanwife into the traditional culture and theextended familythat he now finds restrictive. Their dilemma reflects Aidoo’s characteristic concern with the “been-to” (African educated abroad), voiced again in her semiautobiographical experimental firstnovel ,Our Sister Killjoy; or, Reflections from a Black-Eyed Squint(1966). Aidoo herself won a fellowship toStanford Universityin California, returned to teach atCape Coast , Ghana (1970–82), and subsequently accepted various visiting professorships

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in theUnited StatesandKenya .

InNo Sweetness Here(1970), a collection of short stories, Aidoo exercised the oral element of storytelling, writing tales that are meant to be read aloud. These stories and Anowa (1970), another problem play, are concerned with Western influences on the role of women and on the individual in a communal society. Aidoo rejected the argument that Western education emancipates African women. She further exposed exploitation of women who, as unacknowledged heads of households when war or unemployment leaves them husbandless, must support their children alone. In 1982–83 she served as Ghana’s minister of education. Aidoo published little between 1970 and 1985, when Someone Talking to Sometime, a collection ofpoetry , appeared. Her later titles includeThe Eagle and the Chickens(1986; a collection of children’s stories),Birds and Other Poems(1987), the novelChanges: A Love Story(1991),An Angry Letter in January and Other Poems(1992),The Girl Who Can and Other Stories(1997), andDiplomatic Pounds and Other Stories(2012).

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