It was all joy for me when I switched on my television set last Friday only to see the celebrated Ghanaian writer, Ama Ata Aidoo being interviewed, mostly about her body of works and her career as a writer. I enjoyed every bit of the questions and responses as she did listeners a great deal of good by digging down deep into her childhood days when she developed an early interest in reading and writing.
According to Ama Ata Aidoo, she started writing at quite an early age, around 12 or 13 years old. She narrated a story about her childhood days when her class teacher asked the whole class about what they wanted to be in future. Aidoo says she remembers telling the teacher that she wanted to be a poet and the teacher’s response was that, ‘you know poetry doesn’t feed anybody’. To me, the teacher’s response was too destructive as it could scare any child’s interest in pursuing his/her dream of profession. Aidoo went on to say that there’s this teacher who gave her an old Olivetti typewriter that became an inspiration to her at the age of 18.
There’s another striking remark Aidoo made and this took place during her days at Wesley Girls High School. She said at school, there was time for light outs where every student was expected to be in bed but she remembers breaking this rule and slipping into the bathroom to read.
Aidoo was also asked about where she got her stories from and her response centered on the fact that the village in which she comes from was full of people who told stories. According to her, she remember going to a storyteller like Agya Amoani who told many stories. Also, she relayed the fact that her mother told her stories too. In fact, she revealed that her play, Anowa was based on a story her mother once told her.
Of one of her many responses, Aidoo spoke about her new book she is working on, a collection of short stories and the working title, she says, is Diplomatic Pounds.
Interview was done by Obaa Mmo on TV Africa.