LCCMedia was introduced to Yaa Serwaa Somuah by a mutual friend. Since then, she has attended our Panel and interacted with us in many ways. During the panel, we talked about the problems immigrants writers face here in Edmonton. One of the problems discussed was the fact that immigrant writers are unable to focus on their craft, they must juggle their writing with two or three jobs to make ends meet. Immigrant writers also struggle to get published by mainstream media houses. The problem here is that main stream publishing houses don’t recognize the value immigrant writers bring to the community. Immigrant writers have to go the independent route which can be expensive and tedious. Finally, some immigrant writers lack support. There seems to be. She is in many ways an asset to Edmonton as an immigrant writer. There are numerous immigrant writers in the city: including Eileen Omosa and Edmonton’s new poet laureate Titilope Sonuga.
Yaa Sewaa is a trained writer and speaker. She is a trained teacher with a Bachelors of Education from the University of Education, Ghana. She is currently living and working in Alberta, Canada. Yaa arrived in Edmonton in the spring of 2008. She has worked with many families in Edmonton. She volunteers her talents for many organizations such as The Afrikan History Library Project, The African Centre of Edmonton, Sinkunia Community Development Organization, Historica-Dominion Institute, as well as many churches in the city and in her home country Ghana.
Tell me a little bit about your self.
I was born Yaa Serwaa, christened Agnes and surnamed Somuah. I am turning 50 in September 2021. I just completed Athabasca University with Med. I am married to the noblest of all men Peter Arkosah for 25 years and we have four children between ages 5 and 23. I am originally from Ghana and came to Edmonton thirteen years ago with a temporary work permit. I have worked all sort of jobs like any other immigrant trying to find a foothold. Before I left Ghana, I was a teacher with a Bachelors on Education. I currently work with Sinkunia Community Development Organization here in Edmonton as a Program Manager.
Why do you write?
My desire for writing started when I was a teenager growing up in a small village in the eastern part of Ghana. At the time there was only one primary and Middle school in the village owned by the Catholic mission. The very first piece I wrote was a poem titled Mama. I was inspired to write that poem when my mom insulted my best friend Kofi, accusing him of having sexual affair with me which was not true. Since then, I have written many more poems, drama, inspirational and children’s stories. I must say that growing up as an African child with a strong background in oral tradition, I tell more stories than those that have found themselves on prints and online platforms.
What is your creative process like?
I will say I am a spontaneous writer who can write a whole book or poem in the shortest possible time when the edge comes to write. Sometimes after I write to relieve myself of that compulsion, I may not look at that piece again until something happens when I remember writing something like that or I am flipping through old notebooks and I come
across it and may develop it further. I take delight in writing in my mother’s tongue- Akan and in English. So far, I have Self-published two inspirational book for adult, four Akan Drama for teens, eight children’s stories and about thirty more children’s stories I am working on. I have now taken greater interest in creating Digital Stories for adult and teenage consumption.
What inspires your writing?
What inspires my writing mostly are a number of experiences, first, my own life challenges and my painful upbringing- this is seen in my poems. I am also inspired by all the oral stories I listened to as a child. I don’t tell the same stories but I am able to create lots of situational stories mostly for children along the same route and characters. I also write from a point of inner desire to share, to be a part of the generation I am in and to provide something for my children to judge me one day when I am old or I am dead.
Where can we interact with you?
I am on Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and Skype. My name to reach me is Yaa Serwaa Somuah.