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Armah Ayi Kwei

Armah Ayi Kwei




Ayi Kwei Armah, born on October 28, 1939, is a distinguished Ghanaian author celebrated for his notable novels such as "The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born" (1968), "Two Thousand Seasons" (1973), and "The Healers" (1978). In addition to his novels, he is recognized for his work as an essayist, poet, and author of short stories and children's books.Ayi Kwei Armah was born in Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana, to Fante-speaking parents with roots in the Ga nation's royal family. He attended Prince of Wales College from 1953 to 1958 before earning a scholarship to study in the United States from 1959 to 1963, first at Groton School and then at Harvard University, where he obtained a degree in sociology. Afterward, he worked as a translator for Révolution Africaine magazine in Algeria before returning to Ghana in 1964. He was involved in various roles, including scriptwriting for Ghana Television and teaching English at Navrongo Secondary School. He served as the editor of Jeune Afrique magazine in Paris from 1967 to 1968. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, he pursued further studies at Columbia University, earning an MFA in creative writing. During this time, he received support from the Farfield Foundation, which was linked to the CIA. Throughout the 1970s, he taught in East Africa and later in the United States at various universities. Since the 1980s, he has resided in Dakar, Senegal, where he established his publishing house, Per Ankh: the African Publication Collective, through which he publishes his works.Ayi Kwei Armah began his writing career in the 1960s, contributing poems and short stories to various publications, including Okyeame, Harper's Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, and New African. His debut novel, "The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born" (1968), portrays a nameless protagonist grappling with the challenges of post-independence Ghana. Subsequent works like "Fragments" (1970), "Why Are We So Blest?" (1972), and "Two Thousand Seasons" (1973) explore themes of cultural clash, disillusionment, and Africa's historical struggles, often blending allegory with philosophical reflections. "The Healers" (1978) delves into the decline of the Ashanti Empire, merging fact with fiction and highlighting the role of traditional healers. After a hiatus, Armah returned to writing with "Osiris Rising" in 1995, which depicts a radical educational reform movement. His works have elicited varied reactions, with critics praising his quest for a distinctive African identity while others critique his style and themes. As an essayist, Armah advocates for a pan-African unity embracing diverse cultures and languages, advocating for Kiswahili as a continental language.


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Place of Birth: Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana.



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Date of Birth: October 28, 1939

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