Afua Cooper - Author
Afua Cooper is a celebrated and award-winning poet, author, historian, curator, performer, cultural worker and recording artist. A recent winner of the Planet Africa Renaissance Award and the Harry Jerome Award for Professional Excellence, Afua was also chosen by the editors of Essence magazine (October 2005) as one of the 25 women who are shaping the world. Afua has been featured in the most recent volume of Contemporary Black Biography: Profiles from the International Black Community from Thomson and Gale. Cooper's poems have been anthologized in national and international publications, and translated in several languages. She has published five books of poetry, including the award-winning Memories Have Tongue. Her newest book of poetry is Copper Woman, a work in which she attempts to bring together the personal and the political, the exoteric and the esoteric. Her first solo recording, Sunshine, is a collection of poems for children.
Afua holds a Ph.D. in history with specialties in slavery, abolition and women's studies. She is one of Canada's premier experts and chroniclers of the country's Black past. Dr. Cooper has done groundbreaking work in uncovering the hidden history of Black peoples in Canada. Her recent history publication, The Hanging of Angélique: The Untold Story of Canadian Slavery and the Burning of Old Montréal, cogently explores the life and death of Marie-Joseph Angélique, a Portuguese-born Black slave woman who was hanged in Montréal in 1734 for allegedly setting fire to the city.
Recently, Afua completed a pair of historical novels for the young adult audience. These novels are based on the experiences on enslaved children from the Black Diaspora. She was inspired to write these books because she was moved by the real-life experiences of Phillis Wheatley and Henry Bibb, both of whom she researched while studying Black history. These two persons were enslaved but overcame slavery and oppression to make their mark in the world and contribute to society.
Afua has also written poetry for children and one can enjoy such poetic expression by reading The Red Caterpillar on College Street. Afua's inspiration for writing children's literature stems from the many hours she spent as a child in public libraries reading books and listening to stories told by librarians during the “children's story hour.”
Dr. Cooper is currently the Ruth Wynn Woodward Endowed Chair in Women's Studies at Simon Fraser University, British Columbia.