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Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond Discusses How Books Shaped Her Understanding of the World

Ghanaian writer Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond spoke to Daniel Musiitwa of Africa Book Club about her first novel Powder Necklace and how the themes explored in this book closely mirror her own coming of age story. Musiitwa asked her if the novel is semi-autobiographical, and Brew-Hammond replied that the book is fiction but many of the experiences her protagonist went through were inspired by her own. She also lists the books by several authors that really resonated with her, books which she believes offer the reader “deeply nuanced slices of African life and history–a necessary counterpoint as many still think Africa has nothing to offer but famine and disease.”

Powder NecklaceThe Slave GirlA Man of the PeopleHalf of a Yellow Sun IndigoHarmattan Rain

Buchi Emecheta’s The Joys of Motherhood, Chinua Achebe’s A Man of the People, Ayesha Harruna Attah’s Harmattan Rain, Chimamanda Adichie’s award-winning novel Half of a Yellow Sun and Catherine E. McKinley’s memoir Indigo are all books she says helped her understanding of the world and her place in it as an African. She says she wants her work to also reflect the nuances of African life, just as these books do.

This month, Africa Book Club speaks to Ghanaian writer, Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond. Nana ( is an accomplished author and copywriter, who has written for AOL, The Village Voice, JET Magazine, Metro, and Trace Magazine, among others. Her short stories have been published in African Writing and the anthology This Woman’s Work; while her poem, “The Whinings of a Seven Sister Cum Laude Graduate Working Bored as an Assistant,” was published in the anthology Growing up Girl. A cum laude graduate of Vassar College, she attended secondary school in Ghana. Her debut novel, Powder Necklace (published by Simon and Schuster) was released in 2010 and was featured as one of our 2010 Books of the Year.

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