Meshack Asare

Meshack Asare Meshack Asare


The Blue Marble [Children's Literature, Sub Saharan Publishers/UNESCO, 2005] 

Co-authored with Jackee Budesta Batanda

Noma's Sand: A Tale from Lesotho [Children's Literature, Sub Saharan Publishers, 2002]

Meliga's Day [Children's Literature, Sub Saharan Publishers, 2000]

Nana's Son [Children's Literature, Sub Saharan Publishers, 2000]

Sosu's Call [Children's Literature, Sub-Saharan Publishers, 1997]

The Magic Goat [Children's Literature, Sub Saharan Publishers, 1997]

Halima [Children's Literature, Macmillan, 1992]

Bury my bones but keep my words: African tales for retelling [Short stories, Harper Collins, 1991]

Cat in search of a friend [Children's Literature, Jungbrunnen, 1984]

Chipo and the bird on the hill: A tale of ancient Zimbabwe [Children's Literature, Zimbabwe Publishing house, 1984]

The Brassman's secret [Children's Literature, Education Press, 1981]

Tawia goes to Sea [Children's Literature, Ghana Publishers, 1970]

Mansa helps at home [Children's Literature, Ghana Publishers, 1969]

I am Kofi [Children's Literature, Ghana Publishers, 1968]


Where there are no dates, achievements are ordered alphabetically

First Prize for Children's and Young People's Literature in the Service of Tolerance - UNESCO (1999)

Noma Children's Book Award (1985)

Noma Award (1982)


Profile 1 (commissioned)

14 Jun 2005, by Lizzy Attree - Researcher in African literature


Meshack Asare is a Ghanaian children's author who has had a long and successful career in both writing and illustration. He has won prestigious prizes such as the Noma Award in 1982 and the 1999 UNESCO First prize for Children's and Young People's Literature in the Service of Tolerance for Sosu's Call, which is also named as one of the top twelve books amongst the 100 Best Books from Africa List. He was also was one of the nominated candidates for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award 2005 and a jury member for the prestigious Macmillan African Writers Award 2002.


Meshack Asare, born 1945 in Ghana, studied Fine Arts at the College of Art in Kumasi and taught in Ghana for 12 years between 1967 and 1979. During that period, he took an extension course in Educational Psychology at the University of Wisconsin.


His first published works were Ghana Welcomes You (VALCO: 1968), I am Kofi (1968) and Mansa helps at home (1969). This was followed by other picture books including Tawia Goes to Sea (GPC: 1970) which has been translated into several foreign languages, including Japanese and some Scandinavian languages. It also received an UNESCO citation as 'Best picture book from Africa'.


After a lapse of ten years during which he could not publish any work, Asare published The Brassman's Secret (EDUPRESS: 1981), which won the prestigious Noma Award in 1982 as the best book published in Africa in the preceding year. This was followed by The Canoe Story in 1982. In 1984, Asare published Chipo and the bird on the Hill in Zimbabwe. In the same year he published Cat in Search of a Friend (Jungbrunnen:1984) in Austria, which won the Austrian National Prize (1985) and a BIB Golden Plaque at the Bratislava Biennale (1985).


Asare studied for a M.A. in Social Anthropology at University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies. He has been living and working in London since 1983.


In 1990, Children of the Omumborombonga Tree, was published by Lamuv in co-operation with the German-Namibia Project at the occasion of the independence of Namibia. His first juvenile story, Halima, was published in 1992. For a period of 15 years, Seeing the World (1989) was the only book by Asare that was published in Ghana. In the 1990's, however, he has published two new books in Ghana: Sosu's Call and The Magic Goat (Sub-Saharan Publishers 1997).


The Magic Goat won the 1999 Toyota/Children's Literature Foundation Best Picture Story Book Illustrator's Award. His latest book to be published in Ghana is Meliga's Day published by Sub-Saharan Publishers in 2000.


Asare's work is regularly translated and published in Danish, Swedish, Dutch and German, it has also been published in America, Japan, Russia, Spain and the former Yugoslavia.


Sosu's Call (Sub-Saharan Publishers, Ghana. 1997) won the 1999 UNESCO 1st prize for Children's and Young People's Literature in the Service of Tolerance. Beautifully illustrated on art paper, the delightful story tells of Sosu, a young disabled boy who cannot walk. He misses going to school and all the activities of the other children. But his village is on a lagoon, and one day when everyone is away fishing, working in the fields or at school, he raises the alarm with his drumming, and saves the village from total destruction by the sea. His heroism is rewarded when a wheelchair is donated and at last he can go to school.


In Meliga's Day (Sub-Saharan Publishers, 2000) the reader is introduced to the daily activities of a young boy in Africa. The wonderful illustrations capture the essence of rural life. Meliga notices all around him as he returns home from school - the great Baobab tree; the basket weavers, the tanner, and the blacksmith at work; Ma Amopoka firing her pots; the women cooking; and the animals he cares for. His heifer Namboa goes missing, but he eventually finds him. After supper grandfather sings, then the family retire to bed. A hush descends on the compound at the end of another day.


Nana's Son (Sub-Saharan Publishers, Ghana. 2000) is set in Africa. This beautifully illustrated story of creation has a different twist. Nana (God) creates the different parts of a human being - the head, arms, legs and stomach. Each part is sent to fend for itself in different landscapes - the plains, the sea and the fields. One day Nana sends a parrot to bring news of the parts, and learns they do not appreciate the beauty of the world around them. To resolve this Nana joins the parts and makes them into a 'Person'.


The Magic Goat (Sub-Saharan Publishers, 1997) won the 1999 Toyota/Children's Literature Foundation Best Picture Story Book Illustrator's Award. Beautifully produced and illustrated on art paper, the story tells of a time long ago when there were two great kingdoms in the world: the mighty Animal Kingdom and the Kingdom of People. But Goat and Sheep find in their search for salt, that not all the animals in their kingdom are friendly and well-intentioned.


Cat in Search of a Friend (Jungbrunnen. 1984) (Sub-Saharan Publishers, Ghana. 2000) is the story of how cat became the human's friend and is imaginatively told. Cat wants a friend to protect her and to live with. She learns it is better protection to be friends with stronger creatures so she works her way up the animal kingdom. She first befriends the monkeys, then the chimpanzees, gorillas, leopards, lions, rhinoceros, elephants, the man and then the women - the strongest creatures!


The Brassman's Secret (EDUPRESS: 1981) (Sub-Saharan Publishers, Ghana. 2001) has been newly revised and reprinted. This tale is recognised as one of the most important children's books in Africa. The jury of the Noma award cites the book: 'an exciting and unusual children's story, beautifully and imaginatively illustrated, to bring out important aspects of Asante culture'. The story is of Kwajo who is transformed into a land of proverbs and riddles by a little brass drummer made by his father. In this land Kwajo is tempted with the possibility of riches but must decode the animal symbols he is presented with along the way. Unfortunately, he is not able to hold his head at the last test, but nevertheless learns an important lesson.

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