An Interview with Golden Baobab Prize Longlist Author Portia Dery

Hello Everyone. As you may be aware, we are publishing a five-question interview with Ghanaians on the longlist of the Golden Baobab Prize. Today, we feature Portia Dery. Portia is a social entrepreneur and blogs at portiadery.wordpress.com
Her works have been published by the UK poetry library, Artsbeat Afrika’s first anthology, Ayiba magazine; and the Young Journalists and Writers(YJAW) platform. Portia is also the founder of the African Youth Writers Organization (AYWO), which seeks to lure children to read and write by grooming them in an incubator programme for a specific period of time.

We asked her the usual dosage of 5 questions on makkng it on to the longlist!

CWG: How did you hear about the Prize and why did you decide to enter this particular category?

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PD: I heard of the golden baobab prize via face book. In fact to be honest I have been following the activities of golden baobab and eventually fell in love with its whole idea of stimulating the imagination of children through beautiful African stories. Why I decided to write for the picture category was because I love kids but I adore them most when they are nine and below! So I thought the better way to show them love was to write for them.

CWG: How did you receive the news about the longlist, where were you and how did you feel?

PD: Wow good question! It was almost 10pm (in Gushegu, a district in Tamale where I work) and I was yet to check my email for the day. As soon as I saw congratulations Portia, I froze on my bed and then I took a deep breathe, eventually I went back to the mail, and then it dawn on me that I had been longlisted. Since I was alone in my room, I only had my walls to share the good news and so I shouted THANK YOU JESUS!

CWG: Is this your first time making a Longlist? What are writing at the moment?

PD: Indeed it is! I am currently working on some short stories, rewriting and editing a collection of poems.

CWG: In the past prizes, very few Ghanaians have made the Longlist. Are you confident you’ll make the shortlist?

PD: Nothing is impossible! In any case I have nothing to lose by hoping. Indeed with my faith in God , I know something great is on the way. By the way congratulations to the other longlisted writers, especially the Ghanaians!

CWG: Thank you for making the Writing community in Ghana proud. Any final words?

PD: Yes. I would like to tell young writers out there…especially you who have worked so hard that they should write and write because someday, somehow everything would fall in place. I thank Deborah for her golden baobab. She has indeed dared to put her passion in action. I encourage all writers/readers/literary platforms to partner with each other, for it is only when we join forces that African literature can grow. I am also looking forward to partner my project called the African youth writers organization-AYWO with other literary platforms to lure children to read and write. And thank you so much creative writing Ghana for promoting African literature!

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