Nana Awere Damoah- The Bourgeoning Writer and Master Storyteller

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Nana Awere Damoah has become a name to be reckoned with in writing. One can almost not keep pace with his steady and undisturbed rise in African literature. The progress in his writing career parallels the progress that African literature has made in recent times; a steady and continuous progress.

Nana was born in Accra, Ghana. He holds a Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Nottingham, UK, and has a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, (KNUST), Kumasi, Ghana. His secondary education was at the prestigious Ghana National College, Cape Coast, Ghana. For Nana, growing up in the suburb of Kotobabi, in Accra was extremely interesting. He finds it difficult to forget his early days at the Local Preparatory School where he learnt some of his life’s lessons.

This gifted writer is a British Chevening alumnus and an employee of PZ Wilmar in Lagos, Nigeria. He is also an associate of joyful way Incorporated, a Christian Music Ministry in Ghana, where he was the group’s National President from 2002 to 2004.

Nana is an assiduous ready writer that finds inspiration even in the most unlikely element. He sees writing as more than a past time but a creation that has the ability to influence its readers. His stories are known to be compelling, diverse and suspense filled. He is seen as a versatile writer with a healthy sense of humor, who gladly combines poetry, stories, articles and aphorisms to form irresistible pieces, and one would imagine that his intention is to experiment with all the genres of literature. But surely he says; For my non-fiction books, I try to mix most of my varied styles. Story telling is natural to most Africans and even when we sat by the fireside to listen to our parents, a lesson was delivered in the form of a story. I have been doing poetry both in print and on stage for some years, and I don’t want to do a book of only poetry, which I think is usually for a specialist audience. I like to experiment and not pigeonholed. My pieces are diverse”

Despite the great motivation the readers of his literature find while reading his pieces, Nana insists that he is not a motivational writer, and prefers to be called a reflective writer for the understandable reason he gave Geosi Reads in an interview; I prefer being referred to as a reflective rather than a motivational writer. I will explain. I like being motivated to being inspired to develop speed. A person can move fast but in the wrong direction. A quote I love – ‘It doesn’t matter how hard you row if you are headed in the wrong direction.’ When your speed comes after reflection, what you have is velocity – speed in a specific direction. That is what I aim to achieve with my writing; for my readers to pause, think and act. I hope to think motivation is encapsulated in this”.

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This exceptional writer started writing earnestly in 1993, in his sixth form and has had a number of his short stories, “the show down” published in the Mirror and the Spectator; this was in fact an amazing achievement and a launch pad unto higher accomplishments for the young writer. He recounts; “my goodness! I can still remember that day in 1995! We were supposed to be in first year at (Kwame Nkrumah) University of Science and Technology but were at home due to a year-long lecturers’ strike. I submitted the story to a family friend who worked at Graphic, he gave me his thumbs up and asked me to put it in an envelope. I have been a regular buyer of the Mirror since my teens and when I saw my name in the national weekly – my name! – I almost passed out! My greater joy was seeing the pride on the faces of my parents. I still have the cutting from that day’s Mirror!”

The experience sure gave him the confidence that his first work of fiction was well appreciated. And like the early morning Rose the 38 year old writer bourgeoned, and became a master of his craft. He has since won several awards and gained great prominence, in Africa and beyond. It is clear that the young man’s gift has made a way for him. In 1997, he won the first prize in the Step Magazine National Story Writing Competition. His short story Truth Floats was published in the first edition of African Roar Anthology. Nana is the author of Excursions in My Mind, Through the Gates of Thought and Tales from Different Tails.

His recent works include I Speak of Ghana (published September 3, 2013), Through the Gates of Thought (published October 18, 2013) and My Book of #Ghcoats, (published December 3, 2013).

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The master story teller has got an advice for the young and upcoming writers. He says; “My advice to young writers has been to draw an analogy with eating an elephant: no sane person attempts to eat an elephant at once; you do it one bite at a time. Start publishing in magazines, in newspapers, on social media (Facebook notes, blogs) and get feedback from your friends. Learn to hone your skills – keep writing. As you evolve, your confidence will increase as well. Read widely and develop your style – don’t be afraid to experiment. I don’t know where I got this lesson from: ‘Learn from the masters, but develop your own voice’. This is on building oneself as a writer”.

He is married to Vivian, the couple and their children, Nana Kwame Bassanyin, Nana Appiah and Maame Esi Akoah live in Tema, Ghana.

Nana has seen footprints on the moon; therefore he believes that the sky can never be a limit for anyone that is determined to fulfill his purpose. Do you feel he is talking about you? Well I do.

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Lovelyn Okafor is a Journalist/Writer, Poet, Lawyer and God-Lover. She enjoys a good read and sees everyday as an opportunity to live and enjoy her calling whilst working towards perfecting it. She believes that someday soon, Africa will reach her full potential as the light-bearer of the world. You can find her on Twitter: @lovelyn_o

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