Book Bloggers Abroad (10) – Ghana

Book Bloggers AbroadWelcome to the weekly guest post in the Book Bloggers Abroad series. Every week a book blogger from a different country will be featured who will talk about what it’s like to be a book blogger where he or she lives.

Ghana

Our guest blogger for today is Kinna from Ghana. Her book blog is called Kinna Reads. She reads and reviews fiction, both contemporary and classic.  She enjoys world literature and women writers, especially African women writers.  Go and have a look at her blog!

Interview with Kinna

Please tell us a little about yourself.
I’m Kinna.  I live in a suburb of Accra, Ghana (on the west coast of Africa) with my two boys. I work with two organizations; one supports the development of African women writers and the other provides libraries and afterschool programs in rural areas in Ghana.  Very rewarding but extremely challenging work.

My reading place in my garden at home

My reading place in my garden at home

Where do you get your books from? Can you get the books you want to read?
It’s hard getting books in Ghana, at least the type of books that I want to read.  I get my books from 4 sources:

  1. from my huge library that I shipped intact from New York when I was coming back home.
  2. from expensive bookstores in Ghana
  3. from friends and family when they are coming to Ghana
  4. from overseas bookstores when I travel outside the country.

The one silver lining is I can purchase books in the African Writers Series for less than $2 each.  It goes without saying that the state of reading and of libraries in my country is dismal; a situation that some of us who value reading are working to change.

I read mostly contemporary and classic fiction.  I love world literature and I’m also partial to women writers, especially African women writers.

Where do you read?
Well, I read wherever I can grab a moment of peace and space, especially from my 4 year old son.  I read in my bedroom, on my porch and anywhere that I have to wait for something to happen.  Oh, and I also love reading in my mother’s house.

The headpost of my bed, where I read

The headpost of my bed, where I read

What language(s) do you read in?
The official language of instruction and business in my country is English so I’ve always read in English.  I speak Fanti, a Ghanaian language, but I can’t read it and even if I could, there are relatively few books written in our indigenous languages. Across Africa, the vast majority of fiction is written in English, French or Portuguese.

Please suggest one national author that you love and recommend a book.
I’m going to suggest more that one.  I recommend books by Ama Ata Aidoo, Nii Ayikwei Parkes and Ayi Kwei Armah.  For those who are interested in crime fiction, I recommend Yaba Badoe’s True Murder and Wife of the Gods by Kwei Quartey.

Tell us about blogging in your country
At last count there are three book bloggers in the country including myself.  When I started the blog, I worried about keeping it going amid frequent electricity and broadband outages.   I have a generator which helps. The real surprise has been how good and consistent the broadband service in Ghana is, at least in the areas that have the service.  In all then, it has not been a hassle. In fact it’s been a real pleasure so far blogging from Ghana.

Elmina Castle

Elmina Castle

Name one fact that you would like others to know about your country.
During the colonial period, Ghana was occupied by the Portuguese, the Dutch and the English.  The Portuguese built Elmina Castle in 1482. It’s the oldest European building in sub-Saharan Africa.  Originally built as a trade settlement, it was infamously used as one of the last stop on the Atlantic Slave Trade.  Slaves captured across the region were held at Elmina (and other castles on the West African Coast).  They would then board the ships that were to take them to the Europe and the Americas.  Elmina Castle is now a UNESCO World Heritage site and a popular tourist attraction.  It’s very unsettling to visit the Castle.  There are actual chambers marked “The Point of No Return”.

Click on the world for a Google Maps picture!

Thanks Kinna, for letting us have a look at your life as a reader and blogger. I’m curious to know what the literacy level in Ghana is like. I’m thinking that if there is very little published in Fanti, knowing how to read is only useful to people that know English or French. Is that right?

Don’t forget to take a look at Kinna’s blog. If you have any questions or comments for Kinna, just leave them in the comments section.

Next week Graasland from The Netherlands will be visiting us for the eleventh Book Bloggers Abroad guest post. Don’t miss it!

About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at bookhelpline.com. In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

19 Responses to Book Bloggers Abroad (10) – Ghana

  1. amymckie says:

    It was really great to read more about Kinna! (One of my absolutely favorite bloggers!) What a gorgeous place to read, I’m jealous 😀

    Also, African Writers Series books for $2 each?! That is wonderful. Really too bad about other books being more expensive though, would be hard to acquire I’m sure.

    I hope I can visit Ghana at some point – If I do I’ll pack an extra suitcase with books for you Kinna 😉

    • Kinna says:

      The African Writers Series (AWS) is being distributed locally and the price is so low to promote reading in Ghana. it’s really great. Well, plan a trip and come on over 🙂

  2. Tes says:

    I had friends from Ghana who studied in the same class in the college… I have heard many beautiful things about it. It’s so nice to know a bookblogger from Ghana 🙂

    • Kinna says:

      Ghanaians do like to brag and sometimes we do bend the truth a bit about our country :). thank you and I’m glad to be part of the book blogging community.

  3. Rob says:

    Hi Kinna. Great to hear a little bit more about you. I’ve got to say I adore your ‘reading place’. I could happily doze of..emm I mean read there.
    Warmest
    Rob

  4. Carin B. says:

    What a beautiful little reading area you have in your garden! I love the cactus! It’s amazing!

    I would like to start branching out my reading more so I will look for those writers you mentioned.

    And as far as Elmina Castle–what a terrible part of my country’s history. I hope we never forget what was done to African people. It was a dark and shameful period in our history. All human beings deserve to be treated with respect. That phrase, “The Point of No Return” is very sad. I hope Elmina Castle will serve as a constant reminder to people the man can lose his humanity quite easily and we must strive to treat others as we wish to be treated.

    • Kinna says:

      Elmina does serve as a reminder of what humanity can do to each other. It’s especially sad for African Americans when they visit the country. In fact, the Dutch government has supported the preservation and restoration of the Castle. The whole town catered to the Castle and its going on. For instance, the house outside the Castle were homes to the Ghanaian “local wives” of the Governor and his staff. So descendants of those women bear Dutch names like van Dyke etc. Elmina Castle’s history is quite unique.

  5. winstonsdad says:

    wonderful insight in to the delightful Kinna whos blog I love ,such a nice garden to sit and read in ,all the bests stu

  6. Emily Jane says:

    I was lucky enough to spend a month in Ghana a few years ago. I visited Elmina Castle…it was an incredibly powerful experience. Great to learn a little more about you, Kinna!

  7. Amanda says:

    Fantastic post, Kinna. I know so little about Ghana, other than where it is on the map and its capital.

    I do understand about power cuts and access to broadband being difficult. I live in outback Australia and there’s many places here where expensive satellite broadband and big diesel generators are the only choices.

    I wish you all the best in your adventures and challenges, and thanks for sharing with us.

    Thanks to Judith for yet again surprising us!

  8. Love your reading chair Kinna! Looks idylic. Love your commitment to women writers too. And, your jobs are also fascinating. I’m assuming The Book Depository does not ship to Ghana?

    • Kinna says:

      Thanks. Yes, unfortunately The Book Depository does not yet ship to Ghana.

      • That doesn’t seem fair does it?

      • leeswammes says:

        It’s not fair, but maybe they haven’t set up the necessary infrastructure / deals with freight carriers or local postal services. They didn’t send to the Philippines until very recently, but now, apparently, they do. So there is hope! 🙂

      • Kinna says:

        Yes, I noted the recent announcement that they have started shipping to the Philipines. BD does ship to Benin, a neighboring country to Ghana. So I’m hopeful that one of these days they will ship to Ghana.

      • leeswammes says:

        Well, Kinna, if they ship to Benin, Ghana shouldn’t be far behind. I love BD as they are so cheap and you don’t have to worry about the extra cost of postage.

      • I’ll keep my fingers crossed then. Sounds like you should have access soon.

  9. Iris says:

    I missed this post because I was moving, but I am so glad that I found it! I love Kinna’s blog and it is so nice to see pictures from where she lives and blogs. I love that reading chair in the garden. And I second Amy on the: the African Writers Series for 2 dollars?! But then I do think it is great that books are made available for that prize there to encourage reading 🙂

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