Having studied Publishing at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, there was no way she could avoid writing. Read our exclusive interview with the great writer below.
This young Ghanaian author did not set out to write books when she was introduced into the world from her mother’s womb. At the point, her only concern was probably how to COL, (Cry Out Loud … LOL) and disturb the peace and harmony of her parents.
But things change.
For Portia Arthur, her passion for writing was initiated by a somehow forced academic requirement. Having studied Publishing at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, there was no way she could avoid writing.
So she wrote, and wrote, and wrote.
However, the writings Portia did was not enough for her if they weren’t going to make an impact in the lives of people. Then came the ‘Book Per Child’ project.
An encounter with some group of children who could not have an impressive command over the English language sparked Portia’s willingness to help her community in the little ways that she could.
Since then, there’s been no way back. Just a look into making a section of our future leaders great right from the start.
Here’s how Portia narrates her story.
What inspired the idea of writing a book?
My passion for writing began during my university days. As a publishing student, I had the privilege of writing story books as part of my academic responsibilities.
Although it started as something I was compelled to do for grades, it landed me my first job at one of Ghana’s renowned media houses, Pulse Ghana, under of the supervision of Godfred Akoto Boafo.
I reported on a story about the lack of school infrastructure in my neighborhood. After interacting with some pupils for my report, I felt I had to do something for my community.
The pupils couldn’t express themselves well in the English language. Others couldn’t read and write. The illiteracy level among the pupils was heartbreaking.
In response, I started a project called ‘The Book Per Child Initiative’ as a way of improving the literacy level of our future leaders. But I reckoned what better way than to contribute to solving the problem I had spotted by actually tapping into my publishing training and passion to write a book? I subsequently also realized I could sponsor some kids with their tuition with proceeds from book sales.
What did you seek to achieve with the title character Milly? What was her purpose?
Milly is a lovely girl with big dreams. At a young age, she knew what she could become in the future. She saw a loophole in the community setup, the lack of quality medical care leading to many maternal and infant deaths. She believed she could achieve against the odds (girl child education being frowned upon), and she was patient and hard working in her wait, preparing for the right time and opportunity to propel her towards her dreams.
She also started saving at a young age towards her dreams. There is light at the end of the tunnel for anyone who is willing to prepare and persist, and these are the values the book seeks to instill in children. They have to learn to be ambitious, hard working and diligent, in order for luck to locate them.
Did you write the book to teach a lesson, or it just sprang out of your imagination with an aim to entertain?
The lesson bit is important – children’s books should be able to achieve the subtle art of being entertaining and didactic at the same time. Personally, I still believe there are some good people out there; God sent people to positively impact the lives of others.
It could come in any form; money, guidance or mentorship to help achieve dreams. Never give up on yourself or your long-term goals in life, because there are always opportunities waiting for you along the line. Also, with determination, self-discipline, and education, you can be a better person to serve your community.
Which journalists and writers in Ghana do you look up to?
Well, Godfred Akoto Boafo and Ben Avle. These men were born leaders and they are masters of their craft. Pulse Ghana’s Head of News, Betty Kankam Boadu is one of the best female journalists in Ghana. She is a talented woman, determined and a good team player.
Fiifi Anaman is a great and passionate writer. I always enjoy reading his long articles. Kwame Boakye is also a creative writer and editor.
What do you forsee the book doing? Do you have any dream as to what it would achieve particularly?
As a visionary, I hope the book would be approved by the GES in the long term. We are also looking forward to working with United Nations on the Sustainable development goal 4. My team and I, like Milly, love to dream big. We have big plans.
Against The Odds is Available NOW on Amazon.com: *ebooks only for $9.99.
All kindle lovers should follow this link to purchase book ( https://www.amazon.com/dp/B077K52MW5).