Kwakye, Benjamin 1967-
KWAKYE, Benjamin 1967-
PERSONAL: Born January 7, 1967, in Accra, Ghana; son of B. S. K. (a police officer) and Victoria (in business; maiden name, Mensah) Kwakye. Ethnicity: "Ashanti." Education: Dartmouth University, B.A., 1990, Harvard University Law School, J.D., 1993. Hobbies and other interests: Soccer.
AWARDS, HONORS: Commonwealth Writers Prize, regional prize (Africa), best first book, for The Clothes of Nakedness.
The Clothes of Nakedness (novel), Heinemann (Portsmouth, NH), 1998.
The Sun by Night, Africa World Press (Trenton, NJ), in press.
ADAPTATIONS: The novel The Clothes of Nakedness was adapted as a play of the week by the British Broadcasting Corporation.
SIDELIGHTS: Ghanaian author Benjamin Kwakye's debut book, The Clothes of Nakedness, takes place in Accra, Ghana. This award-winning novel examines the dichotomies of wealth and poverty and of integrity and evil. The main character, who goes by the name Mystique Mysterious, introduces evil to a suburb of Accra and brings pain and suffering into people's lives. Mystique can create havoc and turbulence and cause the most well-intentioned people to commit evil deeds. A Publishers Weekly contributor deemed The Clothes of Nakedness a "cautionary tale of greed and excess," noting that while the setting could hold promise of exotic events, it contains "an unsatisfying and forced conclusion."
Kwakye once told CA: "I am afraid that the Publishers Weekly reviewer had a rather narrow and simplistic approach to the book. As a 'Western' reviewer, he or she probably expected a certain genre of book for an African novel. I wonder why a setting must yield a certain expected result. Please note that the book has won the Commonwealth Writers Prize for best first book for the Africa region."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Publishers Weekly, April 20, 1998, review of The Clothes of Nakedness, p. 49.