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. Was this description of market life in Ghana based on a particular market? A particular town/city?
'Marketplace' is not really based on a particular market, but experiences pooled from all sorts. I went to Tema market last year when I was in Ghana and drove past Accra market several times so I guess they are most vivid in my mind. Unfortunately I did not get the chance to visit the mother of all markets - Makola but I heard lots about it (good and bad)!
2. At what age(s) did you live in Ghana and experience market life? How do you think this influenced your impressions of the market?
From the age of about six, I remember market trips with my grandma in my hometown, Akropong in the eastern region where I spent most of my long vac (summer holidays). I remember the smells, the vibrant colours, the lively banter and how my grandma haggled the price of meat, plantains, yams and vegetables so we could enjoy the most delicious meals!
3. Descriptions of market life have been a common theme - perhaps the most common - of poems featured on One Ghana, One Voice. Why do you think this is? What hold does the marketplace scene have on the poet?
Perhaps the answer lies in the essence that I try to capture in my poem 'Marketplace.' Life itself is a marketplace where we all depend on each other to survive. We each make our respective entrances into this world and leave our mark genetically through our offspring, economically through our jobs or business affairs or culturally through effecting our communities, and then we vanish into seemingly nothingness and the marketplace goes on... Shakespeare coined the phrase 'all the world is a stage' and I say 'all the world's a marketplace'.
4. Can you give our readers an update on the progress of the OGOV anthology project you have been working on. Is there anything our readers can do to assist you?
Ohhh dear...that's the hardest one to answer. Hmm...the anthology exists only on my computer and as 'my list of 'things to do' grows exponentially daily, I never seem to have the time to complete it. However it is a project that is very close to my heart and will get done sooner rather than later. I feel it could do with a few more poems as it is only 72 pages long, and printed double sided will make a very thin book. I'd like to bulk up to about 100 pages so I'd like readers to send in some more poems please!
5. More generally, what writing projects have you been engaged with lately?
My writing seems to have taken a nose dive at the moment as other more pressing issues have taken over but my last project was an anthology of prose and poetry written by myself and two other dear friends of mine, entitled 'Perfume - The Story of a Saviour' featuring 12 women from The Bible. It's awesome!