This book, named after the iconic 15th century northern Ghanaian mosque situated in the town of the same name,  is Aidoo Centre’s second regional anthology.

In December 2018, the Centre made a call for stories, this time from the savannah regions up north. The submission guidelines suggested that all entries be short stories (between 500 and 6000 words), be rooted in the area of the Savannah belt, in any style and sub-genre including humor, quality flash fiction and stories with experimental narratives. Admittedly, the initial response was so disappointing we had to extend the deadline, TWICE, after consultations with Ama Ata Aidoo.

The criteria used in deciding were many, but basically all pieces had to be well thought through and in line with our guidelines. Of course, consideration was given to writers who live or are from the region, and females in particularly to foster some balance in representation. In the end I hope sincerely that those that made it cover the breadth of the complexities that make up the savannah sensibility, if there is such a notion as that. The literary editors (editorial board) had to agree that each of the final 22 showed great writing skills and understanding in content, created fantastic imagery, and evoked many complex emotions.

The themes, as may be expected, are centered mostly on social issues such as child brides, kayaye, marital abuse and the environment. They are however presented as accounts of strong characters in these challenging circumstances who employ novel ways to triumph and celebrate the uniqueness of the exotic idea that is the Savannah belt. Such unique ways include the technique preferred by returning contributors, Akorfa Dawson and Seyram Asimah Agodoa: in their case they inject love into the situation to dilute the confusion of apprehension. Jacob Amanor Osae and Kwaku Baah Acheamfuor deal with their issues by showing us a glimpse of what the future may hold.

No matter how harrowing, there are the rare gems that keep readers smiling through it all. Ursula M. Abanga’s Sunday is such a one about everyday family. Salim Abdul-Razak’s Rediscovery brings out some of the priceless objects and instances of nostalgia, such as a bike ride through the easy, sunset-embracing, stress-free savannah roads, idyllic, yet very present in the 21st century, magical and devoid of oppressed women and abused children.

Editing was sometimes invasive, but we went through the process with the integrity of each work as key; the voices and styles are the authors’. I have deliberately left commonly used vernacular un-italized for the purpose of normalization. This, after all, is Ghanglish. And in that spirit, I have retained the phonetic letters ɛ, ŋ and ɔ as regular inclusions in the literature.

Based on the success of Adabraka and the promise of this project, the future of Ghanaian literature may not be as gloomy as many suggest: what Adabraka taught us is that what is needed may be indeed more writers that write well about what ordinary people want to read. In that regard, we at the #AidooCentre are excited about ushering to the public this second corps of incredibly independent new(ish) short story writers.

The #AidooCentre is excited to present to the world its second anthology within the year, Larabanga: Short Stories from the Savannah. Enjoy these delightful tales inspired by life in and around our nation’s northern regions! This anthology is dedicated to the lady in whose name this Centre is established: in anticipation of a Happy 80th birthday next March, Ama Ata Aidoo. May you continue to inspire generations of story tellers with your craft and direction.


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