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Kofi Awoonor, formerly known as George Awoonor Williams Biography

(1935– ), formerly known as George Awoonor Williams, Rediscovery, Night of My Blood

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Ghanaian poet and novelist, born at Wheta in the Volta Region, educated at the University of Ghana. Before moving to London in 1967, he was Director of the Ghana Film Corporation. He taught both at the University of London, and at the Stony Brook campus of New York State University, where he became Chairman of Comparative Literature. On release from prison for an alleged connection with an attempted coup, he became Professor of English at Cape Coast in 1976. His literary reputation rests chiefly on the poems in Rediscovery (1964) and Night of My Blood (1971), both of which adapt techniques from poetry by Ewe dirge singers to explore the modern African psyche. His translations of Ewe poetry, much of it sombre and tragic in tone, appear in Guardians of the Sacred Word (1974). Richly imagistic in texture, and politically allegorical, his novel This Earth, My Brother: An Allegorical Tale of Africa (1970) focuses on the search for meaning by a lawyer on the brink of a nervous breakdown. Other poetry collections include Ride Me, Memory (1973) and The House by the Sea (1978). The Breast of the Earth (1975), a major work of criticism, surveys the history, culture, and literature of Africa south of the Sahara.

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