Prof. Ama Ata Aidoo

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Professor Ama Ata Aidoo (born March 23, 1942) is a Ghanaian author and playwright who was born Christina Ama Aidoo in Saltpond. She grew up in a Fante royal household and was sent by her father to the Wesley Girls' High School in Cape Coast from 1961 to 1964. After graduating, she enrolled at the University of Ghana in Legon and received her bachelor of arts in English as well as writing her first play, The Dilemma of a Ghost, in 1964. It was published by Longman the following year.

She worked in the United States of America where she held a fellowship in creative writing at Stanford University. She also served as a research fellow at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, and as a Lecturer at the University of Cape Coast.

Aidoo's works of fiction particularly deal with the tension between Western and African world views. Many of her protagonists are women who defy the stereotypical women's roles of their time.

She is also an accomplished poet and has written several children's books. Her novel, Changes, won the 1992 Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book (Africa), and Aidoo held the position of Lecturer in English at the University of Cape Coast, where through hard work, commitment and dedication to her academic and research duties, rose to the position of Professor.

Aside from her literary career, Aidoo was appointed Minister of Education in 1982. She resigned after 18 months. She has also spent a great deal of time teaching and living abroad for months at a time. She has resided in America, Britain, Germany, and Zimbabwe. Currently she is a Visiting Professor in the Africana Studies Department at Brown University.

As a writer, Ama Atta Aidoo stirred the hearts of millions and gained national acclaim with her first play The Dilemma of a Ghost (1965), which concerned the problem of conflict between traditional culture and Prof. Ama Ata AidooWestern education and values.

In subsequent years, Aidoo has written another play, two novels, two collections of short stories, and two collections of poetry as well as numerous essays on African literature and the status of women in African society. In short, she is filled with an abundance of wisdom and unique insights, which she takes great joy in sharing.Aidoo was born in Abeadzi Kyiakor, Ghana, into a Fante family she once characterized as “a long line of fighters.” She attended Wesley Girls High School in Cape Coast for her secondary school education. Encouraged by her liberal-minded father, Ama pursued an English degree in the University of Ghana at Legon, where she wrote her first play The Dilemma of a Ghost, and got it produced.

Between 1964 and 1966 Ama was a Junior Research Fellow at the Institute of African Studies at the University, which influenced her writing by strengthening her commitment to the use of African oral traditions in her work. In 1974 she became a consulting professor to the Phelps-Stokes Fund's Ethnic Studies Program and also received a creative writing fellowship to Stanford University in California. She has also won many literary awards including the 1992 Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book (Africa) for Changes.

In January 1982 she was appointed Minister of Education. As Minister, Ama wanted to make education in Ghana freely accessible to all – but after 18 months when she realised that she couldn't achieve her aims she offered to resign, but was subsequently sacked. She left the country a year later for Zimbabwe, where she lived for the next 9 years as a writer, and consultant on education and creative writing.

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