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Updated: Jan 26, 2022

Renowned and emerging writers, students, MPs, and personalities in the arts and creative industries will be among the guests anticipated to attend this year’s Ghana Association of Writers (GAW) Book Festival (GAWBOFEST) this month.

The two-day event, kicks off on 20 September 2020 under the major theme ‘Empowering Ghana through Reading’ and a sub-theme on ‘Book Festivals in the Era of Covid-19’.

For the first time in the festival’s history, the event will have a hybrid virtual and a physical presence.

Day 1 on Sunday 20 September will feature a workshop on writing for children, and a presentation on the functions/ book registration of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NaCCA).

Day 2 on Monday 21 September (Founder’s Day) will include a virtual opening ceremony, a physical books exhibition stand at PAWA House, Roman Ridge in Accra and a virtual panel discussion. AKADi founder Abena Sɛwaa will be on the panel with Dr Martin Egblewogbe, author and co-founder and co-director of Writers Project of Ghana.

“Being a holiday, the day affords parents, pupils, students and holidaymakers the opportunity to attend,” said GAW President Francis Gbormittah.

With the exception of 2018, GAWBOFEST has been an annual GAW event since 2011.

If you would like to join the discussion, click here to join the Zoom meeting. Meeting ID: 737 393 9449; passcode: 899049

Background on GAW

Efforts to organise a writers’ front in Ghana started in the 1920s with the formation of the Young Men’s Literary Club on March, 29, 1920. The name of the Club was later changed to Young People’s Literary Club to reflect its composition which comprised members of both sexes.

During the celebration of the Club’s 17th anniversary on May 29, 1937, Miss Comfort Aryee was elected as the Club’s president, becoming the first time in the history of literary societies in Ghana that a woman occupied the presidential chair.

The Young People’s Literary Club was eventually succeeded by the Society of Writers in 1957. Renowned members of the Society at the time were Michael Dei-Anang, J.H. Kwabena Nketia, Efua Sutherland, Crakye Denteh, Kwesi Brew, Geombeeyi Adali-Mortty, Cameron Duodu and John Okai later to known as Atukwei Okai, the youngest among these literary giants. Among other activities, the Society managed a literary journal called Okyeame Magazine.

By 1960 the Society of Writers had become the GAW with Atukwei Okai as its first secretary.

Writers instrumental in the affairs of the Association at the time and who worked closely with Atukwei Okai included Kobina Eyi Acquah and Vincent Okunor. Others who joined them later on included Asiedu Yirenkyi, Fred Agbobli, Kofi Anyidoho, Rex Quartey Jawa Apronti, Setheli Ashong-Katai, Bill Marshall, Kojo Yankah, J.E. Allotey-Pappoe, Kwesi Annor and Benjamin Kumbour.

In addition, certain distinguished citizens supported the Association in various capacities. For instance, the following were appointed as patrons of the Association: William Ofori-Atta, Minister of Education, Culture and Sports; Nana Otumfuo Sir Osei Agyeman Prempeh II, Asantehene; Nene Azu-Mate Korle, Konor of Manya-Krobo; Oku Ampofo, chairman of the Arts Council of Ghana; Danso-Manu, executive secretary of the Arts Council of Ghana; Ephraim Amu, University of Ghana; A.A.Y. Kyeremanteng, vice-chairman, Arts Council of Ghana; Chapman Nyarko, one-time chairman, Arts Council of Ghana; Peter Ala Adjetey, Accra legal practitioner; J.K. Rockson, Accra businessman; and B.K. Edusei, Accra businessman.

To find more about GAW, visit their Facebook page here.

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