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B. Kojo Laing (Bernard Kojo Laing) Biography

(1946– ), (Bernard Kojo Laing), Search Sweet Country, Woman of the Aeroplanes

West African novelist and poet, born in Kumasi, Ghana, educated in Ghanaian and Scottish schools and at the University of Glasgow. He has worked in Ghanaian central and local government and since 1985 has helped to manage a private school established by his mother. His first two novels have drawn much praise for their linguistic ebullience; both contain glossaries which include Ghanaian words and ‘author's neologisms’. Laing's flamboyant style and more positive approach to African modernity contrast sharply with the grimy realism and bitter pessimism of his fellow Ghanaian novelist, Ayi Kwei Armah. Epic in sweep, his first novel, Search Sweet Country (1986), explores city life in Accra, in the process defining a modern African identity. Employing elements of magic realism, and firmly rooted in Asante folklore, Woman of the Aeroplanes (1988) pits two communities, one Ghanaian and the other Scottish, but both ‘immortal’, in a trading contest. It reads like a parable of economic relations between Africa and the West. With the publication of Major Gentl and the Achimota Wars (1992), a futuristic novel set in ad 2020 which deals with the battle for the control of a city between a compassionate leader and a ruthless militarist, Laing was credited with being the exemplary African modernist novelist. Godhorse (1989) is a collection of poems.

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Knole Kent to Mary Lavin Biography