African Writers Symposium Review: Mohammed Naseehu Ali

On November 1, 2008, the Department of English Creative Writing Fund had the pleasure of hosting the African Writers’ Symposium which featured short story writer, Mohammed Naseehu Ali of Ghana. Ali read excerpts from “Ward G-4” and “The Manhood Test,” which are short stories from his 2005 collection, The Prophet of Zongo Street. During his readings, one saw how Ali vividly portrayed the idiosyncrasies of a community and taboo topics, such as a male character’s impotency. During a discussion moderated by Professor Thomas Beller, Ali described the battle with handling the marketing and publishing world, a common topic of conversation amongst the writers of the symposium. During the creation of the The Prophet of Zongo Street, Ali’s goal was to write ten stories based on Zongo Street, but his editor wanted several stories set in the U.S. He also divulged that an illustration of a black individual’s hand was removed from his book cover. Despite Ali’s disillusionment with aspects of publishing, he expressed that he simply likes to tackle truth, and though his story content may be perceived as racy, he strives for authenticity in his work. Two of Ali’s stories are expected to evolve into future novels.


Laura Proszak


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