Bringing Honour, Prestige and Colour to African Publishing!

At Kente Publishing we believe in stories that are profoundly African. We liken our stories to the Kente cloth – ceremonial garment of the powerful Ashanti Chiefs of Ghana. The Kente cloth brings honour, is prestigious and never ceases to bring colour to an auspicious occasion.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Book Signing at Indigo Erin Mills, 19 May 2013

A Wonderful day indeed for Kente Publishing and Mary Ashun!!!!

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Book Signing at Chapters!

Kente Publishing can now proudly say that we've had a signing in Chapters! For those outside of Ontario, Canada, this is one of the largest bookstore chains in the world and definitely in Canada. Together with six other authors who were nominated for a MARTY, our own Mary Ashun had her two books on display at the store on Vega Boulevard in Oakville.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

iMemoir Club

We're so pleased to introduce Dr. Mary Ashun's new project - the 'iMemoir Club' for all those who want to get their stories out!

Following on the phenomenal success of Tuesday's  Child, we've encouraged Mary to pursue this idea of getting people together to share their stories. Check out her page at Sign up for a local class, or just hang around the blog - we're convinced this will be too much fun to miss!

We're even ready to pursue some of them as Kente Publishing projects...yes we are! But first, check it out and see what it's all about. We're hoping we'll hear from you soon.


Saturday, 23 February 2013


So yesterday, we found out all the way in Ghana, West Africa that one of our Authors - Dr. Mary Ashun, has been nominated for a MARTY! This is the annual award given by the Mississauga Arts Council to members of its community who are involved in the arts - literary and visual. Isn't this utterly amazing? We are so proud of you Mary and we're keeping our fingers very crossed for a big win on May 9th, 2013. For more on the MARTYS, click here.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

New Author - Dr. Amala Okpala

We're pretty pleased with ourselves here at Kente...we're working on a new novel! The author is Dr. Amala Okpala and it's tentatively titled "Dr. Oppong: Enemy Of The State". It's a cross between Robin Cook and David Baldacci...a medical thriller that races to the very end and the best part of it? It's set in Ghana and the events described will tickle even the most un-political readers! Here's an excerpt:

“Please contact the telephone exchange to get Dr. Fiadjoe for me. Tell her it’s a case of perforation of the stomach secondary to ingestion of a corrosive substance, with massive intra-abdominal bleeding. Tell her I’ll start the operation while I wait for her to come in.”
More intravenous fluids were already been hung onto the drip stands, and the second unit of blood was being warmed up.
Suddenly the monitors started beeping.
We rushed back to the bedside of the patient. The electrocardiograph tracing had flatlined. Since he was still under mechanical ventilation, I just started chest compressions. 
“Get me adrenaline!” shouted the anaesthetist. The matron scurried away, and after a frantic search, had to rush to the theatre to get a vial of adrenaline.
I continued working at the chest, compressing the chest at a regular rate.
After two minutes, the tracing was still flatlining. The matron finally came back, puffing like a beached whale. With an angry glance, the anaesthetist snatched the vial away, drew the amount he needed and gave the shot of adrenaline intravenously.
 I continued working away on the chest feverishly, sweat dripping down my face. 
Three minutes passed.  The alarms were still beeping. The Electrocardiograph tracing was still a line.
The anaesthetist took a pen torch and examined the eyes of the patient. He shook his head sadly.
“No use. He’s dead.”
I stopped the chest compressions, panting heavily, my eyes smarting from the sweat that had gotten into them. Damn it, I thought. After all the hard work?
“What a way to die,” said the anaesthetist sadly. “You’re thinking it was a corrosive substance that caused it eh?”
“Mhmmm” I replied, nodding in agreement. “Why he would that to himself is amazing. There are easier ways of killing yourself than swallowing such a substance!”
The anaesthetist was already leaving.
“Not if it was forced on him,” he replied over his shoulder.
I filled out a post-mortem form quickly, and left the intensive care unit with the bitter taste of defeat in my mouth. I didn’t sleep again till the sun rose. 
No doctor sleeps well after a death on his hands.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Tuesday's Child...coming Spring 2013

We are incredibly pumped for the release of Tuesday's Child, Mary Ashun's newest offering from Kente Publishing. As you know, as This African Child, it was read by York students this past semester and...they loved it! We gathered a focus group together to re-think the name and after much soul-searching, author and publisher have agreed on Tuesday's Child. Below is the amazing cover designed by E.K. Bitherman and an excerpt...enjoy!

PROLOGUE: “A Person who has children does not die”

~ A proverb from Nigeria

Nov 5, 1968, Accra, Ghana

The red and yellow taxi sped into the tiny alcove at the entrance to the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, spewing toxic smoke from an exhaust that was so loud it announced its presence long before the car was visible. It was 2:35 am and the hospital was swathed in darkness, with the few orderlies and nurses holding lanterns or candles up to light whatever needed to be lit.  A rickety hospital gurney, flying at top speed down a corridor, met a tall, slim Hausa orderly and literally knocked the man over. Its inept driver was another orderly, who was stocky and bore a tribal cut on his left cheek. He lumbered down the corridor, struggling to hold onto the wayward gurney.  Half way down the hallway the gurney got stuck in a large crack on the floor where an errant tile, laid down circa 1950, had finally decided to give up the ghost after eighteen years of scant maintenance. It would seem that the orderly had received instructions to bring this gurney down because of the screaming woman being helped out of the taxi with legs open wide and pain contorting her features.

No telephone call had announced her arrival. Two years after Kwame Nkrumah, the architect of Ghanaian independence, was removed from power by a military coup, it was unlikely that telephone lines were in operation, or that if a call had been placed, anyone would care enough to answer it. The pregnant woman was just over five feet tall with a bouffant hairstyle, large eyes and, save for the protrusion of an oncoming baby, a slight build. Helping her out of the taxi were two people, an even shorter woman, wizened and yet firm, with a strong jaw and piercing dark eyes, wearing traditional cloth and fake leather slippers. The other one was a tall man in his thirties with thick black hair and large glasses that made him look every inch the academic. He looked nervous, like an unwilling participant; the tiny old woman was leading the way.

“Can’t anyone see we need a doctor?” she shouted through the darkness.

No one answered her, so she continued pulling the pregnant woman and the man towards the stocky orderly who was failing to dislodge the gurney from the cracked floor. She gently released her hold on the pregnant woman who then leaned heavily on the man. The old woman rushed towards the orderly, yanked his hands away from the gurney and, with all the force of her small frame, struggled to dislodge the gurney from the cracked floor.

“So is no one going to help me? The fact that Nkrumah has been deposed doesn’t mean we can’t use common sense to help people!”
“Please Madam, I was trying to help but…”
“But what? Since you people kicked out the white people, everything has gone downhill. Are you one of the people who pulled down Nkrumah’s statue in Accra after the coup? Or are you one of those who admired him?”
The orderly did not respond. The old woman sucked in her teeth with a tschew sound as she kept tugging and pulling the crooked gurney in pitch-black darkness while muttering to herself.
“This Ghana of ours, when are we going to be truly free eh? We have the Volta Lake but we can’t make enough electricity. We have gold but somehow, it cannot be sold to build proper hospitals. We have diamonds and yet our paved roads end just outside the capital city of Accra. And then some stupid people decide that the best way to move forward is to kick out the people who at least knew what they were doing!”

Two things then happened all at once. The gurney came loose, flinging the old woman against the cement wall just as a wail emanated from the pregnant woman. Suddenly, lanterns appeared as nurses seemed to spring into action.

“Look at you people – can’t you see that she is the one who needs the help? She’s having a baby and if you don’t hurry up, her husband will also faint from anxiety!”
The old woman was looking angrily at the hospital workers who had rushed to her aid. She pointed them in the direction of the pregnant woman and her husband as she struggled to get back on her feet. They wheeled the pregnant woman along the corridor, taking care to avoid the potholes in the floor as well as the nervous husband.
The pregnant woman whimpered. The man consoled. The old woman glared.
By 3:30 am, everyone was tired, especially the pregnant woman. A doctor had come into the birthing ward at 3 am to assess her and declared her to be well on the way to delivery of a healthy baby. The husband was pacing up and down the darkened hallway; anyone passing him as he paced could hear him muttering a prayer. The old woman was inside the room holding the pregnant woman’s hand. Every so often she’d bend towards the pregnant woman and say something softly…it almost sounded like a song.
“Yeh me ho nsenkyerene, Na ensi mi yie, Na ma tanfo ehu…”
At 4:30am, as the sun began its ascent into the Ghanaian sky and the cocks were beginning to let out their morning welcome, the contractions were now just 1 minute apart. The wails had increased in number and intensity and the prayers coming from the hallway continued abated. There were now two nurses and a doctor in the room. And of course, the old woman.
“Push, push, push”, they all seemed to be saying.
The pregnant woman did as she was told.
4:45 am arrived. The old woman moved towards the single window in the room, standing with her back to the action, muttering under her breath; every so often, she’d turn to look at the heaving woman. She moved closer as the doctor announced that the head was crowning.
At 4:55 am a baby’s wail pierced the crisp morning air. There were claps everywhere as all those present rejoiced in the new birth. Or maybe they rejoiced at the sunlight streaming through the single window, allowing everyone to do their jobs without the help of a candle or a lantern. The old woman kept shouting, “Halleluiah! Praise the Lord! Halleluiah, he is good!” The husband dashed in from the hallway, jubilant. The doctor held up the screaming baby, mucky from the ordeal, as one of the nurses enveloped it in a thick white towel.
“Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Apea, you have a baby girl,” announced the doctor.
“Correction. WE have a baby girl”, said the old woman.
Everyone laughed heartily, as if they had never been worried at all. A flurry of activity ensued as the doctor gave orders to the nurses. The lady in the bed looked exhausted but relieved. The baby was being measured and prodded at a wooden table by the window while the old lady looked on. After a few minutes, the doctor left and returned with some papers on a clipboard.
“Mr. Apea, I’m going to have to confirm some details in order to register the new baby. Let’s start with the name.”
“Mary Apea,” the father responded without hesitation.
“Ummhhh…. Father’s name we have on record: Emmanuel Apea. Profession: Chemistry Teacher at Achimota School. Hometown: Asamankese in the Eastern Region. An address?”
“P.O Box AH1245, Achimota,” Mr. Apea replied.
The doctor made a few scribbles on the clipboard.
“And Mr. Apea, can you please confirm your wife’s details for me?”
“Yes of course. Her name is Emma Apea. She is also a teacher by profession, currently at Anumle Middle School and her hometown is Asamankese also.”
“Thank you,” acknowledged the doctor. He continued his scribbling for a minute more and turned around when he heard one of the nurses call to him.
“Doctor, we are done. Would you like to take another look?”
“Why, what is wrong?” said the old woman springing into action from her perch at the corner of the room.
The doctor ignored her as he poked and prodded the little baby. Mr. Apea left his wife’s side and moved across the room to the old woman, imploring her with his eyes and his words.
“Nana, you know they just say these things as they check the baby over, so please don’t be worried. We’ve prayed long and hard and look, Emma is doing well so I’m sure there’s no cause for alarm”.
“But…But…ah well…are you sure?” Nana bleated out.
Mr. Apea smiled a very re-assuring smile. Even Nana couldn’t afford to be worried as she basked in the glow of Emmanuel’s confidence that everything would be all right with this first-born child.


I loved this story of how I was born because, somehow, all three family members present at the birth -- Nana, Mummy and Daddy – managed to tell the story differently. This version just recounted is Mummy’s and I guess I should take her word for it – she was the one giving birth after all. Daddy claims that he fell asleep at home after dropping Mummy off at the hospital, and that he knew I’d been born only because one of his friends, who was a doctor at the hospital called to congratulate him; he’d thought the birthing process was a few days long, so it’d be okay to take a nap while Mummy negotiated labour all by herself! .  For me however, Nana’s tale —given her larger than life personality—always seemed to have a ring of truth to it. In her version, she alone delivered the baby. And when I came out, I shocked everyone by uttering my first word.
And of course I said, “Nana”.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

We're being read at York University!

Yes that's right! Professor Cheryl Cowdy and Professor Andrea Emberly of the Faculty of Liberal Arts have chosen an excerpt from Rain On My Leopard Spots as one of their course texts!!!! We are so pumped about this, especially as the book is not due to be released till Spring 2013...

The course is titled "Worlds of Childhood" and we hear there are already 250 students registered for the course! Kente Publishing author, Dr. Mary Ashun will visit the class on October 16th 2012  to chat with students, answer questions etc. We will be sure to post some pictures and get some tweets happening...hey there might be some interesting questions and if you've heard Mary speak, you know she doesn't shy away from "Do black people have an extra muscle in their legs?" (no lie...true question from a Grade 11 student)!