Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Guests at the "Between Sisters" book launch

Janet at the launch....
It was nice to see old friends at the book launch, many of whom had encouraged me in my pursuit of the longer form in one way or another. Anne had lent me her house so I could write without interruption, Neena always asked how the work was going every time I went to eat at her restaurant, Bollywood Bistro. Martha had critiqued some of my writing as had Stephen Henighan, who is also a novelist. There were old friends and family, as well as new friends and acquaintances. There were the priceless ones who always generously support everything I do and there were also people I didn't yet know. My M.P., Mr. Frank Valeriote, showed up with his daughter, which was a grand gesture, because he had received very late notice from a friend of mine. I had met Frank Valeriote M.P. here and there at events in Guelph and it was nice of him to come.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Celebrating Between Sisters 2

21 Planes by John Wood www. johnwoodphotography.biz
My emcee, Mary Baxter was warm, welcoming and charming . She kept the program running flawlessly with the right mix of formal and personal anecdotes. The drum songs were lovely, lending a rich foundation to the entire event, reminding everyone of West Africa, where my story is set. My son's band 21 Planes, gave the event the youthfulness that I wanted as the book reads in the voice of a teen, albeit a girl. Also my interest in the young adult genre had been stirred up by the books that I had read with my "son-parent" book club to which most of the band members had belonged, in their early teens. The music was good, with flavours contrasting yet meaningful and complementary all at once.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Celebrating the book in Guelph Ontario.

www. johnwoodphotography.biz
The book launch for Between Sisters went well. I booked our church auditorium to announce my book to Guelph and then I planned the program. I wanted it to be festive. I wanted to give my guests a good time and I wanted to celebrate it with significant people who had made contributions toward my literary process and progress, so I sent out my e-flyer to people on my list and hoped for the best. I went shopping for refreshment, and packed my table cloths, cups and serviettes ready for the day. I postponed writing for most of the week just to keep that vague feeling of stress away. It worked. For me, it's always best to focus on one thing at a time.
The day came. The set up was simple enough and a few friends showed up to help. There was a book sales table in the foyer, an author signing table in the next room where the refreshment was to be served and the auditorium for the book launch. My son's rock-ish band, 21 Planes arrived to set up and test their euipment. My husbands drumming group arrived with drums ready to play. At three o'clock my friends arrived.
TO BE CONTINUED....like a Nollywood movie:-)
You can still find my books at The Bookshelf, Guelph, Chapters, Guelph, WordsWorth, Waterloo, A Different Booklist, Bathurst, Toronto, The Smithsonian--- African Exhibit in D.C. and bookshops in North America may have it or order in at your request. There is also Amazon.com. "Between Sisters" is a good read for all, and a significant story.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Book Launch: Sign Surprise

I am still processing my book launch on December 4th....BETWEEN SISTERS. It was such a heady experience for me. The event was held at 3Watson Rd South at the auditorium of the River of Life Church. Here is a photo of me beside the sign that heralds the event, as one enters Guelph by the east. This was Pastor Bob Radford's surprise for me.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

LAUNCHING BETWEEN SISTERS: December 4, 2010, Guelph

I am very excited to launch my book "Between Sisters," published in both hardcover and paperback, by Groundwood, House of Anansi Press. The date for my event is December 4, 2010 at 3 Watson Road South at the River of Life International Fellowship, at the intersection of York and Watson Rd South. The time is 3pm-5 pm. This book has been a labour of love and learning for a period spanning two and a half years. I will be talking about the book and my intimate connection to it. I will be selling and signing copies. Please be there to buy your own copy and purchase one for a friend. You will not regret it.
The story is set in urban Ghana, where Gloria, a sixteen year old struggles to find her way forward into the adulthood of her dreams as she is beset with the perennial problems of family poverty, difficulties in school, temptations in town and the true meaning of relationships.
This book is full of the flavours and aromas of Ghana but deal with universal themes that anyone can relate to. It is a step forward in African literature as pertaining to the Young Adult genre and also African Canadian literature. It is definitely well worth reading by youth worldwide and all those who have some interest in Africa, developing countries and the girl child.
Please come and celebrate with me. We have a wonderful program planned to give you a boost for December!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Different BookList presents Between Sisters, a workshop with the author.

I was very honoured to present a workshop on my new book, "Between Sisters," at A Different BookList, a book shop that has supported and sold not so usual books in Toronto. The shop is co-owned by Itah Sadu who is an eminent storyteller in Toronto, as well as an author of several acclaimed children's books.
I first met Itah in Guelph, where she presented her stories at the River Run Centre. What struck me about her then was her compelling voice and her enunciation in the telling of her stories. Itah grabbed your attention and kept it, just by her voice. She has a true in-your-dreams storyteller's voice and is a storyteller to the her bones. Itah is compelling even during a regular conversation.
In 1998 my picture-book, The Queen's New Shoes was launched at A Different BookList, and my friends, family and I all trouped down from Guelph and Kitchener for the celebration. Since then Itah and I have met at festivals and at literary conferences, namely, the large "Reading for the Love of it" conference in downtown Toronto and the Toronto Festival of Storytelling. In 2007 Itah was very instumental in the selection of my book, "The Pot of Wisdom: Ananse Stories," for the bicentennial celebration of the abolishment of slavery. I was very honoured to speak at a Toronto District School Board Schools Event with the amazing actor, playwright, storyteller and writer, Richardo Keens Douglas. I am a fan of Itah Sadu, whose passion for the youth, stories and books energize me to do more for the arts and for the youth.
On Wednesday November 17th, Itah and I visited Brookview Middle School to speak to the book club of Ladies for Life. After that we went out for the tastiest Corn soup on the planet at the vegetarian restaurant on Bathurst Street. We enjoyed Chai Latte with honey instead of sugar, and then we returned to her shop to await our guests.
Itah is amazing at pulling the most interesting of guests, being a storyteller, writer, volunteer, activist and book store owner. I sat in wonder as her guests poured in, some of whom I knew well. I was greatly honoured by the presence of Dan Yashinsky, Rita Cox, Ken Setterington, Mariella Bertelli and Celia Barker Lotteridge. I met new authors, Jody Nyasha Warner, author of "Viola Desmond Won't Be Budged"and Angelot Ndongmo who has written the cutest books for boys and girls, the first of which is, "Loving Me." I met educators, youth workers, artists, academics and the nice people who attend Itah's events. To put the icing on the cake, my old schoolmate Diana Knol dropped by with her daughter to have her book signed.
I was too full and too focussed to try Doubles, a Caribbean treat, but I saw everyone else chomping down and I knew I was missing something good. That evening, I learnt to my great amusement how much Itah loves those Nollywood movies with sequels and parts from one to five. Oh, how we laughed!
I think my book talk went very well. Certainly the faces were very friendly and the audience was generous in buying books. I am very fortunate that Angelot took photos with her Blackberry which means I get to share a photo with you.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Keep Right! The dream starts here.....

three of my books on display

Keep Right is the sign one sees on the walls of the large corridors of Brookview Middle School where I met the Ladies Forever Book Club. The sign is an attempt at traffic control, but the school motto is, "The dream starts here." I walked in with wirter, storyteller and entrepreneur, Itah Sadu of A Different Book List, a unique book shop on Bathurst Street, Toronto. By the time the day was done, I discovered how passionate Itah is about the schools in the city.

In the library we created something of a circle with chairs and I was invited to talk about my book. Soon I was up on my feet trying to engage thirty girls in a discussion. I discovered to my amazement, that my having qualified as a doctor was of great interest to the girls, and typically it is the one thing I hardly speak about in my incarnation as an artist. We live to learn!

After the discussion, several little sisters were selected to receive my book "Between Sisters," as prizes for good listening, good participation and good questions, which meant several young ladies got to take the book home. J was the best contributor. She is the president of the club and she also got to see us off to the office. She has promised to email me to share what she thinks of "Between Sisters." It was of interest to me that J has Ghanaian parents.

The Ladies Forever Club seeks to inspire, motivate, educate and support young sisters in Brookview Middle for success in life. The club is organized by highly motivated teachers, one of whom I met, Ms. Thompson. Then I discovered that the principal of Brookview, whom I met, is the dad of Montreal Canadiens hockey star, Subban! How's that for a school boy's dream?

Saturday, November 13, 2010


photo by Fule at Words Worth Books, Waterloo, ON
HAVE you ever stopped to ask why people attend a reading? It's not a show as such, no theatrics or high performance, just an individual reading their own writing. Of course, I do my best to read well with expression, and my skills at storytelling help me a lot. Basically, the book is in hand, one's eyes are following the lines and one looks up only now and then in an attempt to engage the eyes of one's audience. And yet reading is thrilling.
On Saturday, November 13th, I read at Words Worth Books, Waterloo. I arrived early with Fule and Maureen which was nice because I got caught up with my old friends at the bookshop, Tricia, Bronwyn and Mandy. I even got to browse through several books and I met some of the book lovers who were there to attend the reading.
I started by introducing the book, the idea and themes, and then I introduced my reading glasses to my audience. (A joke is always a good ice breaker, and soon everyone was invested in Gloria's world, spun by my words.)
It is my desire, when I read, that we see through Gloria's eyes, taste the flavours on her tongue and smell the odours of her world. I hope my audience can get to know her and like her enough to want to know her journey.

When I read, I usually invite questions from my audience. People ask me about my process and motivation. They ask about my inspiration. Sometimes we discuss my characters or themes or what I plan to do next. When the questions end, I tell my listeners I'm happy to sign books and I invite them to buy a book and another for a friend.
At Words Worth, I enjoyed the private exchanges while signing books. There was a teacher who surprised me by buying a book for each of her fifteen students. There were friends I hadn't seen in a while, whose kids had grown so big. There were people I had never met until then, and some people who had heard me read or perform somewhere else.
People attend readings to know a bit about the writer. This makes it a little more special when one reads the book. The book becomes distinctive with the writer's autograph and the experience leaves a memory as well as inspiration. After today, there may be just one person in the audience who will write and publish a book someday, because they heard me read.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Reading at WordsWorth, Waterloo, Saturday Nov 13, 2:30pm

I first met Bronwyn in 2002 at Victoria Park in Kitchener. It must have been late summer or early Fall because the event was outdoors. I had been invited to read at the Word on The Street Festival, where I was promoting my book,"The Pot of Wisdom: Ananse Stories" published by Groundwood Books.
The reading was a blast and Bronwyn and I hit it off well. She was there on behalf of Words Worth, the famous bookshop in Waterloo and I sat and signed and greeted kids and parents. In between we chatted. Bronwyn had returned only a few months ago from a trip to West Africa including Guinea and Ghana. In Ghana she had met the man who was to become her husband, Nii and she couldn't wait to tell me about him.
Since then I have read at WordsWorth events during February and Black History Month. I have also performed Spirit Alive, as a special solo dance at an author and book signing event. Bronwyn and her family have taken some dance classes with me and I have had Bronwyn and her wonderful parents to dinner, where they met my mom.
Last May, at the Canadian Booksellers conference in Mississauga, I was invited to sign promotional advance copies of my book Between Sisters and did bump into Bronwyn who had just delivered a speech at the conference. She was sporting a new haircut and looking quite chic. Our shrieks of joy subsided and I told her about my book. She took one copy and promised to be honest with me after she had read it. Bronwyn reads a lot of books for herself and also because of her job in the book trade. I knew she would be honest.
When I saw her email, I opened it with some trepidation. Hers was the second email to tell me how much she liked the book. The first such complimentary email had come from Ken Setterington of the Toronto Public Library, another well read gentleman.
I breathed a sigh of relief. I knew then that I would be reading at Words Worth before the year was over.
On Saturday, I am looking forward to seeing Bronwyn, Nii, and their children. I am also looking forward to seeing familiar and not so familiar faces. In the past, I have done much performance, reading, storytelling and dance in the Kitchener-Waterloo area and do hope my fans will turn out to support us. I am expecting a great reading experience, tons of questions and comments and of course a pre Christmas sales boom of my book "Between Sisters" and all my other books, too.
I think Between Sisters is an important book because the story tells really well. Set in Ghana, the themes are universal, the story is modern and the social issues described are worthy of discussion.
I write for children and young adults because it is important that we do so. They are curious and smart and desirous of fairness. They like to laugh and they enjoy a good story. And the next great advancements in society will come from them. As a teenager, I read the book, "The Citadel", a gift from my father. That book influenced me positively in my practice as a physician in Ghana. Books are important and particularly books for youth. Bring your teens out to Words Worth on Saturday November 13th at 2:30pm. I promise you it will be fun and most engaging.

where you can read from Bronwyn's own words and find another photograph of me.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Morning Star School: Early Writing Roots

thanks to Adwoa Nketia who kept her (1974) photo safe. I'm the little one in the second row, standing between the teacher in the black dress and the head mistress in the middle.

On the morning of my Common Entrance Examination 1n 1974, my dad strapped his watch on my wrist and wished me well. I cannot remember in which hall the exam was held but I think it was in an Accra school, perhaps Christ the King. I can still remember the black strap and the face of the watch that he continued to wear for many years.
My dad was old fashioned, the kind of man who wore age and wisdom graciously. He was a good storyteller, converting every day activities of meetings, conferences and travel into highly descriptive and engaging stories of wit, plot and resolution. Just like many daughters, nobody impressed me more than my dad.
After Common Entrance, there was nothing much to do except to wait for results. In Morning Star School, our headmistress, Mrs. Siriboe decided to expose us to Ghanaian Cultural Dance taught by practitioners from the University of Ghana. I remember those afternoons learning Adowa and Kpanlogo. Later on I performed Adowa in our class rendition of an Ananse story adapted for stage. Apart from performing for our school and parents, we also performed the play at the Accra Arts Centre in competition with other schools.
I can still remember our teacher, Mrs. Fabin directing me to put more vehemence in my words, "If that Okyeame ever comes back, which is highly improbable, almost impossible, Executioner!!..."
I guess I was not angry enough and so I lost the part of Ananse to Kwame Binfo.
Another afternoon in the week was filled with Good News Club activities. The rest of the afternoons, I played rounders with my friends or read more Enid Blyton books. Someone introduced me to Mills and Boon books.
My uncle gave me a notebook, a reject from his stationery printing press and then I had the idea to write my father's biography. I proceeded to interview him every evening and then I wrote. I filled many pages, night after night. And when I was done I gave him my notes in my not so beautiful handwriting to read.
My dad was thrilled. He showed my work to his best friend, Professor L.H. Ofosu-Appiah, whom we affectionately called, "Negro Uncle." I think that the subject of the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade was important to him, and along the way someone gave him the name 'Negro-Uncle.'
Professor Ofosu Appiah, had published several Ghanaian biographies and some works in translation from original Greek classics into Twi, a major Ghanaian language. My Negro-Uncle, gave me my first author signed book, in recognition of my effort. It was a biography, "The Life of Lieutenant General Emmanuel Kwasi Kotoka," which I read at least twice. In the inside cover he had written something like, "From one author to another." I have long lost the book but I can't help thinking just how thoughtful he was to recognize and affirm a small effort by a child.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Thunder clapped.....

In grade five, I began to taste the words in sentences. In geography we did a section on Canada, and I so loved the rhythm of my notes that I knew whole sentences by heart. I can still remember some of the phrases. We read a lot, but mainly Enid Blyton's adventure and mystery series. Later on, we went on to enjoy the Nancy Drew adventures and Enid Blyton's boarding school series- Mallory Towers and O'Sullivan Twins.

In grade six at Morning Star School, our teacher Miss Quao, loved songs and poetry. We learned many English songs and poems which we recited with great expression. In grade seven we went into active preparation for our Common Entrance exams for secondary school. Apart from "Lomond's English", and "Queen's English", the books we used for comprehension and grammar, we studied English phrases from two books, "First Aid in English" and "The Student's Companion." From the latter two, we learned sayings like: as cool as a cucumber, as deaf as a door post, as innocent as a dove, as proud as a peacock as well as synonyms, antonyms and homonyms.

Apart from quantitative and qualitative aptitude tests, the main thrust of our Common Entrance exams was 'Composition.' This accounted for creative writing. In this section we wrote under titles like, "How I spent my holidays,", "My family" etc.

I remember a class exercise in which I described a storm. I must have internalized some of Enid Blyton's prose, for while I have no recollection of the essay or its title, I remember writing a particular phrase, which so thrilled my teacher that she read my essay in class. "The thunder clapped and lightning seemed to tear the sky to pieces..."

Many years later as I learn and practice the craft of writing, what do I discover?
Forget the omniescient point of view. Adverbs are out of fashion and my editors pull them out like weeds. All those desriptive English sayings that I proudly committed to memory are now collectively termed, cliché and tossed out with the garbage.

English goes out of fashion. It's time to refresh and I'm thinking about attending the CANSCAIP workshops for writers and illustrators.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Early Writing Roots: Achimota

photo by Akora Suzette Ayensu (my room mate at UST)

I was in form four (grade 10), 1978 when our English teacher Mrs Adu fell ill and left. She was such a robust, firm and fun teacher and I missed her. She had taught me in Form 2A and while she would take no nonsense from us, she had also bought the whole class a basket full of BOFLOT (round donuts) to enjoy. Some time later Mrs Watts joined us. My vague memory of her suggests that she was from Chicago, USA and possibly a diplomat's wife. Mrs Watts called me aside one day and said to me that I had a talent for writing, which I ought to nurse. Her advice was to buy a notebook and begin to write poetry or whatever else I felt like writing. So I bought a blue exercise book and wrote. Mostly, I wrote poetry and often it was about love because I had a dashing teen boyfriend in Aggrey House. From time to time, she asked for my notebook and read it. She never made any suggestions or criticisms except to say, "Well done, keep writing." She had her eye on me. She would choose me to debate on topics in class, something I would not have opted to do. I was quite shy and it was only much later I discovered the joy of public speaking. These small whispers have guided me in my creativity, even though most of my formal education was geared toward the application of science.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Early Writing Roots-WGHS

I am the person on your extreme right, with a nice afro...1981 WGHS

Facebook has renewed long lost contacts since my youthful highschool days. Recently an old friend of mine RA posted a photo taken during my last days in highschool, with my classmates and our Chemistry teacher. For sixth form I attended Wesley Girls High School, Cape Coast, and was imersed in an all girls boarding school for the first time. For two years from 1979-1981, I enjoyed everything about being born female and living with girls. It was also in Wesley Girls that Mr. Offei, who taught us the literature/language section of General Studies advised me to join the Ghana Writers Association on the basis of two essays that I had written for class projects. I think there might have been a junior writers group. He imagined that I might someday be a published writer of fiction even though I was a science student hoping to study medicine in university. My other memory of Mr Offei was my small part in a laborious play on Pan Africanism, which he directed. At that age we needed more colorful fare, but he seemed totally oblivious to that fact. Still, I cherished his suggestion that I could become a writer someday.

Friday, October 8, 2010

An Old Photo Surfaces

photo: Maureen Madill

In May, I attended a book sellers' event in Missisauga. I was on my way from a memorial service in Whitby, and I hitched a ride with my brother-in-law. My publishers, Groundwood Books, House of Anansi Press had a display at the market place, three months before the official publishing of my book. I found the large room where all the publishers were showing their books, attracting book sellers with free copies. And there, on our table was a pile of advance copies of "Between Sisters" bordered in white--a diminished appearance of her fully formed look. I was there to sign and promote, lend my charm to the business of selling and greet the soon to be published work of art. All this said, to show a photograph taken with a cellphone camera to mark the day. ENJOY!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Kitchener Record Review of Between Sisters

I was sitting at my favorite coffee place having breakfast with DA when Maureen came in for tea. What did she have in hand but a cutting from the Kitchener Record of a review of Between Sisters. It was the sort of review that makes one glow all day and I slipped the cutting between the pages of my copy of the book. Later on, my husband Fule found the URL of the article and posted it on Facebook. Not only is the review beautifully written, it is very complimentary and the article has a picture of the book cover. I try not to get blown over by good reviews so that I can resist the temptation to keel over from not so great ones. But this one was a delight; like dessert after a great meal. Here is the link to Catherine Thompson's review:


Saturday, October 2, 2010

A New Business Card

I am watching the horse Zenyatta win her ninteenth race and I'm not a horse racing fan. I just got lucky watching TV to see a star horse who has never lost a race.
I'm thinking about my new business card. It is my author/speaker card, imprinted with the cover art of my new book, "Between Sisters." For the first time in Canada I have appended Dr. before my name from my medical degree received in Ghana in 1988. I do not have a PhD in literature. My husband says it looks good on a card. In the book "Between Sisters", Gloria becomes a nanny to Dr. Christine Ossei's son, Sam. That's when all the adventures begin. Imagine, everytime I give out a card, I'll be telling someone about Between Sisters.

Friday, September 24, 2010

BOOK SIGNING at Telling Tales

The last part of a book presentation is the most fun: the book signing. This is especially so when one has very interested and generous fans who are excited about the book and the author.

In 2008, I was the luncheon keynote speaker at the University of Akron, Ohio to a gathering of 500 teachers and teachers in training. I delivered a speech and power point presentation: "The Taste of Words," to an enthusiastic post lunch crowd who immediately afterwards lined up to buy my book: "The Pot of Wisdom: Ananse Stories", and to have them signed.

Wow! In my memory it was a stampede for books. Ah, gross exaggeration, of course, but how good it felt to sit down and sign for a long line of book buyers. May it happen to me again and again. When I sign, I like to exchange a few words with the reader. If they ask me to sign the book to a prticular name, I always ask for the spelling of the name. I like to write at least one word in the book, but sometimes I can barely think of anything to write. I guess sometimes just signing your signature is good enough. My favorite word for signing is ENJOY! But I may write Happy Reading or other (hopefully) witty sayings. I think kids especially need a word or two. I have had one signing event with Between Sisters so far, but there are many more planned along the way. If you buy my book, watchout for where I may be. I would love to sign it for you.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Reviewing Between Sisters

I don't know if I speak for all writers when I say that I have mixed feelings about professional reviews and reviewers. It is part of the trade in books for one's work to come under literary scrutiny and comment. Of course a positive commentary does wonders for the writer's soul and hopefully, greater wonders for her sales. But reviewers are testy, and more likely than not their comments will mix the good with the bad. The first time I read a not so great review of my work was early in the decade. I was sick for the entire weekend. Until then, I thought all reviews had to be good or else say nothing at all. After I recovered, I resolved never to be that impressed by a good review of my work or get so disconsolate over a bad opinion. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder!
Here is a review by Bronwyn, the manager of WordsWorth, a book shop in Waterloo:

I just finished your book over the weekend while I was up at the cottage. I am really impressed. About half way through I was so concerned with Gloria and what sort of trouble she could get into with Bea and their friends that I couldnt put the book down. I think you have written a universal story of teenage angst, temptation and ultimately redemption that happens around the world to so many youngsters. You did a good job of bringing Ghana alive in a way that teens in Canada will still relate to Gloria, but be intrigued about her life in a different country. Great writing too!
I look forward to promoting Between Sisters when it is published - hopefully we can do an event with you!

If you read my book and would like to send me a review, please send it to adwoa_badoe@yahoo.ca

Our book event with WordsWorth is scheduled for: NOVEMBER 13 2010

If you read my book and would like to send me a review please do so at adwoa_badoe@yahoo.ca

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Telling Tales 2

I would like to think that Gloria held everyone spellbound, because after the applause, there was silence. Then I asked for questions. And still the silence.

My first question was by a ten year old who wanted to know my Ghanaian hometown. I explained the difference between the concept of hometown here in Canada, and over in Ghana. While hometown in Canada means the place you were born, in Ghana it is the place your ancestors are buried, and where one is most likely to be buried. My young friend Kassia had lived in Tamale for three years and kept her hair in braids, Ghanaian style. She wanted to know If I had been to Tamale. "Yes, a long time ago," I said. I remembered how my dad had taken us on this roadtrip years ago when I was about fourteen, all the way up north to Bolgatanga. I remembered how we had crossed the ferry at Yeji, car and all.

I asked her if she had been to Paga to see the crocodiles. She had. I stopped short of asking if she had fed them day-old chicks. Later on, I took a photograph with her and I signed her book, although she may be too young for some of what happens inside Between Sisters.

A gentleman in a black 'saloon' type hat asked me a question about a weed that I had named and described in the book. Laughter everywhere! There were questions about my journey as an author in Canada. There was also a question about university education in Ghana.

Someone asked a question about what else I had written and so I told them about my work, my themes, my publishers, my readers and those few books in translation. The official festival photographer was in the tent and he asked about my bright soccer shirt.

I stood tall at the mention of the Ghana Black Stars. I admitted my shirt was older, a 2008 souvenir of the African Cup of Nations, I believe. My audience applauded the Black Star effort at the recent FIFA World Cup tournament.

Someone asked about highlife music which I had mentioned in my reading. I told them about Ghanaian contemporary and evolving musical forms. One woman, a fellow Guelphite, made a remark about my performance and teaching arts. She asked me if I would demonstrate a dance. My good excuse was the lack of music, otherwise they may have turned my reading into a dance performance. Eish, I wasn't prepared for that.

Someone asked if I would be signing books. "Yes. It's the best part," I said.
Carol-Leigh Wehking was there and so was Ken Setterington, all the way from Toronto. It was lovely to see familiar faces. Maureen took photographs and kept me company. We shared a strange sandwich of grilled hotdogs in hamburgher buns, which the gentleman gave us for free. Such favour, hmm, and it was tasty too.

On the way back to the Meadows for the car, I saw my very first Canadian snake in the wild, and it was dead--run over by many cars on the green.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Between Sisters at Telling Tales Festival

After a scenic trip through farm country, watching the horses and cows enjoy their Sunday pasture, my friend Maureen and I arrived at Westfield Heritage Village, Rockton Ontario. We made our way to the Summer Stage where the great children's author, Paul Yee, was reading, or more accurately telling stories from his books. I own two books by Paul Yee, "The Ghost Train" and the other one, a collection of stories, which title, I forget. I took two phtographs of Paul Yee, and later on, I went up to say hello and connect as Groundwood authors.

In the few minutes it took for my hostess to fetch my bottle of water, I had strapped on my head mic, found my books and instructed Maureen on taking historic photos of my very first reading of "Between Sisters." After my introduction, I thanked my hostess and launched into my ice breaker: a robust "hello, how are you doing"? I repeated it with a big grin to give my audience a chance to smile and reconnect with their voices. I introduced the book and gave them a very brief summary. Then I explained what I was going to do in my reading: twenty minutes of reading and twenty minutes of questions. Then I introduced my brand new reading glasses which I had purchased in honour of the reading. They couldn't help laughing.

The weather was favourable, sunny and breezy. The audience ranged from young children to probably eighty years old. I took my time and read, finding the appropriate tones and expression. Thank goodness for the reading-aloud, and poetry recitation tests that Miss Quao gave us in Morning Star School.

It was quiet as I read. From time to time I looked up to engage my audience's eyes. Some people looked at me, others looked down, others found imaginary spots upon which to train their gaze. All were attentive. More people found their way to the summer stage, probably following the sound of my amplified voice. They filled the benches and stood around the tent. Every now and then, soft laughter rippled through the group. Inside Gloria's mind we were one. In time, I ended the reading and asked for questions.

Stay tuned for the end of this piece.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Telling Tales Festival: Preparing for my first reading

Today I gave great thought to my first reading, scheduled for Sunday, at The Westfield Heritage Village, Rockton Ontario, on Sunday September 19th 2010. I have half an hour to forty minutes tops. Yesterday I had a chat with Yaba Badoe, sis-in-law and author of True Murder, who told me it was going to be a blast. Her tip was to read for no more than 15-20 minutes because people always wanted to ask questions. Then she said, "Choose those passages with punch."
I did some further research on the world wide web, not because I had no idea of what to expect from a reading, (I have the experience of publishing sixteen books, on three continents) but because this is the first time I will be reading from a long piece. I have a firm plan: Break the Ice, Explain my presentation, launch into it with gusto and then ask for questions. After reading this, I'm sure you would like to be there. The address is The Telling Tales Festival, Westfield Heritage Village, 1049 Kirkland Rd, Rockton, Ontario. See you there.
P.S. I went out and bought new reading glasses for the occasion.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Book Blog

Today, I changed my profile picture on my Blogspot blogs (3) for the book cover "Between Sisters." It is my new face, get used to it. The book cover is also my current profile photo on Facebook. Soon I will figure out how to upload it on to Linked in and Twitter. I am learning to rebrand myself for the sake of marketing. Help me spread the word.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The beginning of book blogging

I just decided to start a blog on my writing because my novel "Between Sisters" has just been released in Canada and the USA. It is my nineteenth published work. I have published on three continents, with trade and educational publishers: Europe, North America and Africa. I have published, picture books, a collection of folktales and a novel. I have authored sixteen books, co-authored two books and published my memoir, Witness in Silk in the Canadian Anthology, "My Wedding Dress." My new novel, "Between Sisters is a BIG event for reasons to be discussed later. Stay tuned!