Ekow Eshun is a former editor of the British men's magazine Arena and is now artistic director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, where he lives. This is his first book.
Eshun, an African-British author and the artistic director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, ventures from his home to Ghana to explore his heritage. By his early 30s, Eshun still cannot adequately answer the question put to him since his school days in Queensbury: "Where are you from?" He has never felt welcome in England, where his father, a Ghanaian government official, moved the family in 1974. Eshun's memoir focuses on his April 2002 trip to Ghana, on the African Gold Coast, so-called because of the vast stores of gold the Europeans extracted. In fact, the author comes to the painful realization that his ancestral country colluded intimately in the African slave trade, and his own ancestors, both the white Dutchman Joseph de Graft and de Graft's mixed-race son, were slave traders. Eshun carries a frozen idea of provincial Ghana from living there briefly in his youth, and his trip proves an awkward, self-scrutinizing attempt at reconciling the reality of the modern country, built on slavery and scarred by discrepancies in class. Eshun elegantly incorporates stories of previous notable travelers such as W.E.B. Du Bois and Richard Wright-along with an occasional illustration by Ofili. (June) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
"A life-affirming memoir about belonging, identity, and hope." --Ebony"An impressive debut. . .An unusual memoir in which the personal and the political are entwined with great skill." --The Times (London)"Leavened with insight, self-awareness, and flashes of humor . . .Eshun is a skilled wordsmith." --Christian Science Monitor "Refreshing. . .Eshun's writing is fluid and self-assured. . .his wistfulness and wry sense of humor add to the book's charm. . .an engaging and eye-opening account of one man's journey toward self-discovery." --Black Issues Book Review