The daughter of a Ghanaian diplomat, Emma Akuffo was born in Russia in 1965. Her childhood years were spent in a number of countries including India, Italy and Ghana, finally settling in Britain with her parents, two brothers and two sisters, at the ripe old age of 11.
Emma holds a PhD in biochemistry and works as a Research Scientist. She lives in England with her husband and two children. When she is not pushing back the frontiers of medical science or engaged in a mad rush after her children, she enjoys cycling into the sunset, swimming in moonlit waters and creative writing, particularly from an inspirational perspective.
A number of Emma’s poems have been included in anthologies from Dogma Publications and Forward Press. Her work is also featured at, amongst other places, brightlightmultimedia.com.
Emma’s poem ‘Love spoke’ was awarded a diploma in the UK section of the Scottish International Open Poetry Competition, 2004.
Emma is currently leading a project to anthologise poems previously published here on One Ghana, One Voice.
Five Questions with Emma Akuffo:
1. How long have you been writing poetry?
It sounds like a cliché – but as long as I can remember. Thoughts and ideas captured on scraps of paper from age 9 or 10.
2. Who are your favourite poets? Which poets have most inspired and informed your work?
I don’t have favourite poets but I do have favourite poems: ‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling is one of my favourite poems, also ‘Stop the Clocks’ by W.H. Auden. My inspiration comes mostly from The Bible. Particularly, The book of Job, Ecclesiastes, the descriptive way in which Jesus Christ spoke in the Gospels…"The kingdom of God is like treasure hidden in a field" (Matt 13:44). Wow!
3. What do you hope to accomplish with your poetry?
To enrich a moment in someone’s life, to bless, to inspire, to encourage, to see things in a new light…hopes for a better world. The list goes on…
4. Has your time spent living abroad changed your perception on your homeland?
I’ve lived outside Ghana almost my entire life but my perception always changes when I revisit. Always for the better, I’m glad to say. I’m totally awed by the people, the culture, the scenery, the food…everything.
5. What do you think can be done to better promote Ghanaian literature, and African literature in general, in the UK?
The things that we have already started doing…communication between established between emerging poets (OGOV website is a great forum for this!), putting our heads together to come up with ideas, the anthology I am putting together (thanks to everyone who has contributed so far – the proceeds will be used to fund creative arts in Ghana), everyone doing a little bit to make the collective voice of Ghanaian writers heard not only in the UK but globally!
As a fellow African writer/editor, I appreciate your coordination of the anthology project. When we start taking publication into our own hands, we start to determine what's highlighted in our literature. If any peer editing is needed for the anthology, don't hesitate to contact me
RUBAIYAT of CHARLAX
Ode to the poem born of GOD born of them
Ode to the Man Born of GOD Born at hand
Ode to the GOD not born not bred
Ode to anyone who can
Ode to the able mind once read
Ode to the living not the dead
Ode to the one who can understand
Ode to the homeless one no bed
Ode to the food given in the game plan
Ode to the GOD of the living and the men
Ode to the poet who has said
Ode to the Jesus man Amen
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