In memory of Kofi Awoonor

It’s been a year since Ghanaian poet and novelist, Prof Kofi Awoonor was shot and killed during the Westgate Mall terrorists attack in Kenya.  And in his memory, a number of activities would be held in Ghana and Kenya to mark his death.


The renowned poet was in Kenya as the headline guest speaker for the annual Storymoja Hay Festival when the unfortunate incident happened.

This year’s festival which will run from September 17-21 is on the theme, “Image the World”.

In Ghana, the Department of English, University of Ghana, will start its memorial activities with an international symposium dubbed, Kofi Awoonor and The Challenge of History, at Legon on September 18 as well as the launch of The Promise of Hope, a book by Prof Awoonor. 

This will be preceded by the premiere of a documentary by Yaba Badoe titled The Art of Ama Ata Aidoo at the British Council on September 17. 

The memorial activities will culminate in a vigil on September 20 followed by the unveiling and dedication of the Awoonor Mausoleum at Wheta in the Volta Region.

There will also be the launch of the Kofi Awoonor Literary Prize Competition and an evening of poetry reading and performance of traditional songs.

During the festival in Nairobi, Kenya, “Our Nairobi: A Westgate Memorial”, an exhibition of recorded voices, portraits and poetry of writers, politicians and diplomats including Awoonor’s last collection, The Promise of Hope will run concurrently.

The headline guest speaker this year is Nigerian Nobel laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka. Among the major panel speakers this year is Ghanaian author, Ivor Agyemang Duah.

The Storymoja Festival is organised jointly by The British Council, The Goethe Institute, The Hay Festival of UK, The Caine Prize for African Writing, The Slovak Embassy and the South Africa High Commission in Kenya. 

It provides an “opportunity for the best of African writing by showcasing unparalleled performances and the finest artists and talents in Africa and beyond”.

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