The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, will, on August 15, 2016, give a major lecture on Africa’s democratic advances and development on the topic: “Africa’s democratic path and the search for economic transformation”, at the Attlee Pontius Suit of the British Houses of Parliament in London.
The lecture will be attended by a select audience of 200, including some members of both houses, the London diplomatic community, leading policy institutions and faculty of some United Kingdom universities.
A press release from the Office of the Shadow Secretary of State for Health and MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, Ms Diane Abbott, and the Manhyia Palace in Kumasi said Lord Paul Boateng of the House of Lords would be the introductory speaker for the Asantehene.
The Nigerian Nobel laureate, playwright and poet, Professor Wole Soyinka, who will be the special guest, will reflect on governance and the literary arts.
Launch of two works
The high-profile event will also see the launch of two major literary works on Africa.
One of the books, titled: “May Their Shadows Never Shrink - Wole Soyinka and the Oxford Professorship of Poetry”, is written jointly by Ivor Agyeman-Duah, a literary historian, author and development specialist, and Lucy Newlyn, a professor of English Language and Literature and Fellow of St Edmund Hall of the University of Oxford, while the foreword is written by leading Harvard University historian and literary scholar, Henry Louis Gates, Jnr.
The other, a ground-breaking, 500-page book, is titled: “All the Good Things Around Us — An Anthology of African Short Stories” and edited by Ivor Agyeman-Duah.
Some of Africa’s most influential and award-winning authors who contributed to the book are Ben Okri, Ama Ata Aidoo, Chimanmanda Ngozi Adichie, Sefi Atta, Tope Folarin, Tsitsi Dangaremba, Taiye Selasi, Chika Unigwe, Yvonne Owuor, Ogochukwu Promise, Monica Arac de Nyeko, Peggy Appiah, Martin Egblewogbe and Ellen Banda-Aaku .
Both books will be launched by Dr Augustus Casely-Hayford, the British Curator and Lecturer in World Art at Sotheby’s, one of the world’s largest brokers of fine and decorative art, and presenter of the BBC TV Series, Lost Kingdoms of Africa, and chair of the 2013 Jury of the Caine Prize for African Writing.
The South African-Dutch biographer of Nelson Mandela, Booker Prize jurist and professor of World Literature at Oxford, Elleke Boehmer, has described the anthology as “wordsmiths from across the continent standing in dynamic and memorable conjunction”.
The Publishing Director of Ayebia Clarke Publishing (the publishers), Nana Ayebia, says the writers “display their dexterity in a manner in which they deploy language and images to engage their readers’ attention and imagination”.