Benjamin “Wryghteouz” Dowuona is the liaison officer of Border Crossers Literary Group. The Border Crossers Literary Group is a product of Crossing Borders, a British Council initiative that, in 2006 used information technology to link young writers from 10 different countries in Africa with experienced mentors in the UK.
Benjamin has a collection of 35 poems and hopes to publish “Wry Things” later this year. He is currently working on “The Ties That Bind”, a novel. His hobbies are reading, writing, music and travelling.
Five Questions with Benjamin Dowuona:
1. How long have you been writing poetry?
I have been writing poetry for the better part of twelve years now. I actively started writing after my Advanced Levels examinations when I did my National Service(somewhere in 1996).
2. Who are your favorite poets? Which poets have most inspired and informed your work?
My top three favorite poets who have inspired my approach to poetry would be first and foremost Atukwei Okai, whose work I've always found fascinating, also Christoper Okigbo and Wole Soyinka (his collection "Poems from Prison" is a favourite).
3. What do you hope to accomplish with your poetry?
“Poetry is a truth based on different perceptions. It is an attempt to tell the truth in a fuller and more authentic manner. The great theatre of the world is written in verse, and its poetry reconciles us to the absurdities, injustices and cruelties of our nations”. I believe with my poetry I can affect one person at a time to help change their psyche. So I look at all issues from all sorts of angles and hope that other people will appreciate those views that I put across.
4. You are a liaison officer of the Border Crossers Literary Group. Could you tell us more about the organization, your role in it, and how others can get involved if they are interested?
The Border Crossers Literary Group is a result of Crossing Borders, a British Council initiative that used information technology to link young writers from ten different countries in Africa with experienced mentors in the UK.
When the project in Ghana ended we sought to keep the network of participants together and created “Border Crossers”, a diverse range of writers who meet regularly to take a leading role in the development of literature in Accra.We thought as a group that critical to every writer's development was critique and assessment so we meet monthly to review and critic each others work.
As the Liaison Officer of the Border Crossers Literary Club, I liase with other groups with the same objectives as ours and ensure that there is as much interaction as possible geared towards improving our work as literary people.
As a group we have been able to hold two rather successful shows, first a poetry recital that was hosted by the British Council and then the first ever interactive book reading in Accra, where three members of the group's works was read and we sought instant input and appraisal from the audience.
We are an open group in that membership is open to all and sundry who are interested in African literature. We can be contacted via bordercrosserslg(at)yahoo.com or +233 20 8255992.
5. Could you tell us a bit about the publishing process for your poetry collection? Was it a rewarding experience for you?
Frankly the publishing process has been arduous to say the least but it's been a huge learning experience and it reinforces the need for groups like the Border Crossers. Because what I have now resolved to do is to get book publishers now and then to meet with the group to "let us in" what they require from us as writers.