Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Where are the Ghanaian Crime Writers?

As a budding crime writer, with already three chapters under my belt (thanks to a creative writing class at university, where I penned my "Usual Suspects"-style crime thriller, and used the lyrics of a song by Catatonia to frame my chapter titles), I just realised that it has been a good three years since I started making bombastic claims about my thriller!

April 3, 2006, in this post, revealed a very excited E.K.Bensah Jr waxing lyrical about writing a novel.

And write he did, but it has waxed and proverbially waned.

I picked it up last Christmas, but have continued to postpone its writing because of work "pressures".

Then I think of a Ghanaian lawyer I saw on KSM's "Thank God it's Friday" programme on Ghana's Metro TV last two years who won a Commonwealth writing prize--despite his heavy schedule as a lawyer!!

Thing, though, was his book was on the usual African style of fiction--you know, set in an African village, traditional customs, conflicts, etc. That's all well and good, but I want more!

Can you imagine that I did a Google search for "Ghanaian crime writers", and I came up with "Youth crime" as the first entry; it's virtually non-existent! Contrast that with "British crime writers", and you find a LIST and even an ASSOCIATION!

Where are the Ghanaian crime writers?

Perusing further, I came across one Kwei Quartey (Afro-American mother, Ghanaian father) who had this to say about writing crime about Ghana:

"As a mystery writer, I'm drawn to Ghana because it provides a compelling background to any crime. The society is in rapid flux. Traditional clashes with modern. As affluence increases, so does the gap between the rich in their mansions and the poor in their shantytowns. Young people surge in vast numbers from the rural areas to the big cities in search of employment that often never materializes. Add to the mix drug lords, corrupt politicians and the mores of Ghana's generally conservative society, and we have a rich tableau indeed."

I don't know if it is "regrettable" as such, but my characters have no whiff of what Quartey calls "the physical world coexist[ing] with another realm of gods and their magical powers.". He is write when he opines that "These beliefs can considerably complicate a murder investigation"!

I might just be the first crime writer to go the atypical way of setting my story not in the traditional African setting! We'll see!

Some wise person once said "go where there is no path, and blaze the trail".

I guess I might just have to hurry up and finish that crime thriller I've been banging on about, no?

labels: ghana crime, ghana crime writing

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