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Golden Baobab's award

On Monday, March 24 this year, Golden Baobab was awarded the Best Children's Publisher of the Year in Africa at the annual Bologna Children’s Book Fair in Italy. The award was in recognition of Golden Baobab’s efforts to help improve and develop children's content on the African continent.

The Bologna Children’s Book Fair is one of the most important international events dedicated to the children’s publishing and multimedia industry.  It is a meeting of authors, illustrators, literary agents, licensors and licensees, packagers, distributors, printers, booksellers, and librarians. It also serves as a platform for finding the very best of children’s publishing and multimedia production, for generating and gathering new contacts while strengthening professional relationships. This year’s event saw an exhibition of more than 30,000 illustrators, writers, exhibitors and trade operators from all over the world. 

The Bologna Book Fair in Italy

In the words of the Executive Director of Golden Baobab, Deborah Ahenkorah, quote, “We are absolutely honoured and delightfully surprised that Golden Baobab’s nascent publishing efforts have been recognized while we launch our publishing activities this year.”

Photo of award winners

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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When the African Women's Development Fund (AWDF) announced that it would be holding a three-day workshop on Results Based Management (RBM) for eight of its grantees, we at Golden Baobab knew we had to seize the opportunity! We put in our application and Nanama Acheampong, the programmes coordinator of the prize was accepted as a participant.

The RBM workshop took place from the 13th-16th of May, 2014 and was held at the beautiful Laico Regency Hotel in the heart of Nairobi, Kenya. 

About RBM

RBM is a strategic management approach which involves, among other things, accurately defining goals and objectives, planning activities to achieve them and effective report writing.

Programmes coordinator’s experience at RBM

Commenting on the RBM experience, Miss Acheampong said, “I was excited about being a part of the RBM training because it did not only give me the opportunity to network with women from different parts of Africa who are playing similar roles as I am, but it also helped to improve my planning, implementing and reporting skills. These will enhance my performance in my current role as coordinator of the prizes.” 

 Snapshot of presentation at the workshopSnapshot of presentation at the workshop 

According to Miss Acheampong, Awino Okech, a facilitator at the workshop, was absolutely brilliant in how she led the workshop, weaving individual work, group activities and presentations into the mix to ensure that they are properly understood and put to use, the new things they were learning.  

Awino Okech,facilitator at the workshop

In all, Miss Acheampong left the workshop knowing the importance of ensuring that goals/desired results are accurately defined and realistic and how to properly and effectively capture impact made during report writing.

 

 

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Golden Baobab is happy to introduce Daisy Chang, our Communications Fellow!  Daisy is a graduate of Wellesley, MA, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics. So far, Daisy has written and designed beautiful proposals, assisted with research work and is currently working on building a GeeBee mascot prototype which is coming along nicely, as can be seen in the photo above. We had a little chat with Daisy to find out a little more about her.

 

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

My name is Daisy (though the lady I buy oranges from knows me as Akua, meaning Wednesday born) and I am Korean-American, from New York, graduated from Wellesley, and figuring out life. 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I like to walk. Some places I really enjoy walking are across the Harvard Bridge from Cambridge to Boston, along the long dusty road from the Pastor's house to the river bank in New Longoro (Brong Ahafo), and up the mountain trail to the train tracks near my home in NY. I also like to bike, journal, and eat delicious things. 

In Accra, I find that I can't walk as much as I'd like, definitely not bike (because I fear for my life), and a lot of my favorite delicious things are not found here. I took Debbie's suggestion to use my 2-3 commuting-in-traffic time and have been going through audiobooks. I am currently making my way through LOTR; I just finished the Hobbit and am deep into the Fellowship of the Ring.

This is your second time in Ghana, what have been your impressions so far? How long are you in Ghana for?

I landed January 5 and will leave May 1, totaling four months overall. By this point, that initial honeymoon phase of traveling to a new country has definitely worn off. My view of Ghana has normalized a lot, in the same way people who idealize a country (like the United States or France) realize over time that every place has its own conveniences and struggles. However, I will say that I enjoy the friendliness and trust here; yesterday on my morning commute, a woman handed me and a stranger each a baby to hold while she held her third child. Sometimes though, that friendliness goes a little far...like the group of children who walk me home from the bus stop every evening. After walking me yesterday and in the midst of saying goodbye, one child picked an orange out of our tree and the next thing I know, there are like 30 crazy children stripping the poor tree of all its unripe fruits. They are a very threateninggang of 7 year olds.

How much of Ghana have you been able to see and what activities have you managed to do?

The furthest north I've been is to Brong-Ahafo. I've also been to the Bui Dam, Suame Magazine in Kumasi, and Elmina Slave Castle near Cape Coast. However, I am most proud of getting around in Accra and learning to navigate the trotro system. 

How did you decide to join the Golden Baobab team?

As a student, I had heard the name Golden Baobab because of its association with the Echoing Green Fellowship. When a friend offered to introduce me to a number of different organizations and listed Golden Baobab as one, I put it at the top of my list. I really believe that Golden Baobab is going to be big and push the frontier of children's literature, so it was an honor to be connected.

What is your role during your time at Golden Baobab and what about it excites you most?

My role as a fellow has been somewhere in the junction of communications and business development. I've been exploring the idea of corporate sponsorships as a means of distributing books locally and talking with key people in these corporations and writing proposals. I also have had the opportunity to support Nanama in finding the applicant base for the new Illustrators' Prizes, as well a number of other exciting tasks. For example, later this week, I get to go hunting for materials to prototype a Golden Baobab mascot.

What has been your experience at Golden Baobab so far? What are some of the opportunities you have received to learn new things?

My experience has been that the Golden Baobab staff is excellent and good at what they do, and a personal challenge for myself is to always learn from people and adapt habits I would like to have. For example, I admire Nanama's serious focus as well as her confidence and eloquence in voicing her thoughts; as for Debbie, I respect her vision casting and the speed at which she generates ideas. Her brain is like a high speed train and well.

Aside from those things that I am trying to learn from them, I've also learned how to use new software which was (is) a pleasant challenge.

Who was your favourite storybook character growing up? 

I had many. Thinking back to kindergarten, when I would sit on the story-time reading mat at the back of the classroom, the characters I can clearly recall are: Strega Nona for her pasta making prowess and ability to transport me to Italy through the words and pictures, the Rainbow Fish for his beautiful glimmering scales, Tikki Tikki Tembo for the rhymes and the challenge of reciting as many lines from memory as fast as possible, and--though I read this later in life--Punchinello from You are Special, for teaching me about God.

As I grew a bit older, I made new friends who (in their books) were also my age--I really liked Salamanca from Walk Two Moons and wanted to be Ella from Ella Enchanted, but I also lived through Ender, Harry, the Narnia children, the Animorphs, Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, and so so so many more...I'll stop here so I can get back to work.

What are your plans for the future?

Stay in Ghana until It's time to leave.

 

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Accra, February 24th, 2014 – Golden Baobab has launched the 2014 Golden Baobab Prizes for African children’s literature and illustrations. In this 6th year of the prize, the Ghana based literary social enterprise Golden Baobab and its supporters will be awarding 6 distinct prizes worth $20,000. These 6 prizes are:

  • The Golden Baobab Prize for Picture Book
  • The Golden Baobab Prize for Early Chapter Book
  • The Golden Baobab Prize for Rising Writers
  • The Golden Baobab Prize for Illustrators
  • The Golden Baobab Prize for Rising Illustrators
  • The Golden Baobab Lifetime Achievement in Children’s Literature Award

Marking the 6th anniversary of the Golden Baobab Prizes, its coordinator, Nanama B. Acheampong states, “we are excited this year to be presenting 6 prizes. For 5 years we have successfully run 3 prizes for literature. As we enter our 6th year, we are thrilled to be able to transfer the expertise we have gained to illustration in Africa and to recognizing lifetime contributors to African children’s literature. The new prizes we are launching this year are: the Golden Baobab Prize for Illustrators, The Golden Baobab Prize for Rising Illustrators and the Golden Baobab Lifetime Achievement in Children’s Literature Award.”

2014 Golden Baobab Prize winners will receive cash prizes worth $20,000, opportunities to be published, invitations to the Golden Baobab Award ceremony, mentorship, press opportunities and participation in exhibitions.

Commenting on the launch of the 2014 Prizes, Deborah Ahenkorah, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Golden Baobab said, “I’m thrilled that as we mark the 6th anniversary of the prizes, we are doing more than we ever have to champion the work of African writers and illustrators of children’s stories. For example, we have increased cash prizes from an annual $3000 to an annual $20,000. This increase reflects the value we place on the work created by incredibly talented writers and illustrators of African children’s stories. This is only the beginning of our aspirations for this space.”

2014 will see Golden Baobab launch an active search for corporate and foundation partnerships to continue to do more for African children’s literature. For information about the Golden Baobab prizes, visit Golden Baobab’s website. The Golden Baobab Prizes are supported by the African Library Project.

We encourage you to share this post with anyone you know who might be interested in participating in any of the above prizes. For further information, please contact Nanama B. Acheampong at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

  • To view and share our 2014  Promotional Poster for The Golden Baobab Prizes for Literature, please click here
  • To view and share our 2014  Promotional Poster for The Golden Baobab Prizes for Illustrations, please click here

 

 

 

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Our Golden Baobab Prizes coordinator, Nanama B. Acheampong, had the pleasure of attending the Ake Arts and Book Festival in Nigeria. She shares her experiences in this new blogpost!

The Ake Arts and Book Festival, if you haven’t already heard, was a tremendous success. It took place in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria, from 19-24 November, 2013 and was organized by writer and women's rights activist, Lola Shoneyin. The theme of the festival was 'Shadow of Memory.'

When at work we decided it would be a great idea for Golden Baobab to be at the festival, I did a little dance in my head. I had been stalking the Ake Festival website for a while and was intrigued by all the activities that promised to be memorable. I wanted to attend for this reason and for some others:

  1. I had never been to Nigeria and so badly wanted to go before the end of 2013
  2. I wanted to meet and speak with many of the writers who were listed on the Ake website
  3. The adventure junkie in me wanted to ride an Okada
  4. I wanted to try Nigerian food

I arrived at the Murtala Muhammed Airport on Thursday 21 and found my way to my hotel in Abeokuta. On arrival, I freshened up and immediately headed to the June 12 Cultural Centre which was the venue for the festival. At the lounge area, lunch was almost over and so I quickly grabbed myself a bowl of jollof and spicy chicken (I was told it was the last one left, lucky me!) from the lovely caterer whose accent sounded like a mixture of British and Nigerian. I then looked around for a place to sit and decided on a chair beside a corn-rowed woman who was busily poking away at her iPad. Through conversation, I found out she was Doreen Baingana, Ugandan writer and winner of the 2006 Commonwealth Writers Prize for “Tropical Fish.” I bought a copy and got it signed by her. It was a good start to my Ake Festival experience.

I thoroughly enjoyed my four days at the festival. The following were my highlights:

Meeting writers, who I had previously only read or read about:  I bumped into Muthoni Garland, who was a 2010 judge for the Golden Baobab Prizes, Tope Folarin who is the 2013 winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing, Syl Cheney-Coker whose poetry I have seen in countless places and whose new book, Sacred River, I am eagerly waiting for. I met Sitawa Namwalie, who gave a splendid performance with Muthoni during the cocktail event, Binyavanga Wainaina, who had green hair to go with his green African print shirt and Lisa Teasley, who had such warm words, a ready smile and enviable locks.

The numerous book chats and the art exhibition: Teju Cole described scenes in Open City so well that it made me wish I had already read the book, Chibundu Onuzo touched on her story, The Spider King’s Daughter and made me debate with myself whether it’s really possible for two very different worlds to come together, Marlon James read excerpts from his novel, The Book of Night Women, in Patois, the language it was written in, which fascinated me and made me want to hear more of it. I also met Temitope Olorunfunmi, who was longlisted for this year’s Golden Baobab Prize for Early Chapter Books and looked at beautiful paintings at the art exhibition.

The stage adaptation of Lola Shoneyin’s The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives: The show started quite late and I was hungry but two minutes the first song and my hunger was all but forgotten. This play, which was adapted by Rotimi Babatunde, 2012 Caine Prize winner, was such a spectacle. It had enough music, dance, humour and drama in it to keep you completely entertained.

An audience with Wole Soyinka: At this special event, four under 21’s were given the chance to ask Wole Soyinka any question they wanted to. It was such a marvel to hear the professor talk about his hair regimen, something you probably wouldn’t hear anywhere else! After this, he sat down for a book signing. I was with a friend and we both wanted his autograph but didn’t have any of his books with us. We quickly ran up to the book fair that was taking place in the main auditorium and bought “Climate of Fea.r”  We took it back down to be signed, only to realize that Wole Soyinka had gotten in his car and was being driven off. We couldn’t help but laugh at ourselves!

The barbeque: I have two left feet that have made it quite impossible to keep to rhythm but during the barbeque on the evening of Saturday 23, I couldn’t help but join the dancing crowd that had gathered under the white tents behind the cultural centre. There was great food and drinks and a live band that played some catchy tunes. This was my last night in Nigeria and at the Ake Festival and I must say, it was a great way to spend it!

At the end of the Ake Festival, I had met so many wonderful writers, artists and book enthusiasts, I had bought a number of books to add to my Christmas reading list, I had gobbled mouthfuls of delicious Nigerian food, I had danced and I had been on one or two Okada rides. What more could I have asked for?

For more photos from The Ake Festival, visit our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151701364991734.1073741838.20509716733&type=1.

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