Fui Can-Tamakloe is a short story writer and poet. He co-authored Made In Ghana: A Collection of Short Stories with Rodney Assan. His stories also appeared in Kenkey for Ewes & Other Very Short Stories, an anthology by Flash Fiction Ghana, and How To Say My Country’s name, a Contemporary Ghanaian Writers’ Series project. His works have been published by online platforms like Tampered Press, Afreada, Flash Fiction Ghana, and The Garlic Project. He writes in English and Ghanaian Pidgin.
FFGH: What is your conception of African writing and Ghanaian writing? Do you consider yourself a Ghanaian writer?
FC: I think African writing refers to literature by Africans or people of African descent. Ghanaian writing, to me, is about writing by Ghanaians in Ghana or in the diaspora, set mainly in Ghana. I consider myself a Ghanaian writer, yes.
FFGH: Great. You have published a collection of short stories “Made in Ghana” with Rodney Asan. You have also had your story recently published in the anthology “How To Write My Country’s Name”. What have been some developments in your writing over the years?
FC: Sometimes I like to compare my writing from previous years to some of my recent works. I can say that there’s more maturity in the writing now. My experiences inform my perspective when writing, and the more things I experience, the better my writing gets. I’m also more focused on the organisation of my writing and what it explores. These days, generally, I select themes before I begin to write a story. Previously, I allowed the story to dictate what the themes would be.
FFGH: That’s interesting, seems you’ve taken back some control of the writing process in a unique way. Was flash fiction a form you ever considered writing in?
FC: I started my writing journey trying to write poems with rhyme schemes and detective novels. Needless to say I never completed any novel when I was younger. I just didn’t have the attention span for it. I took to flash fiction as a medium because it was relatively easier to finish a flash fiction story than it was to finish a novel. These days I feel I have a better handle on my attention span and so I’m slowly branching towards longer forms of prose.
FFGH: When did you get the confidence to get your work published as a book?
FC: Rodney Assan was the catalyst, to be very honest. I’m eternally grateful to him as a friend and brother. He’s a doer, and he came to me with the idea of combining our stories for an anthology. We had no idea what we were doing, but we were able to successfully launch our book. You ask me when I got the confidence to publish a book? I got it after we published it. I was so tense throughout the entire process. It wasn’t until feedback started trickling in that I began to feel good about it. But even today I feel there’s a lot we could have done better. I guess there’s always going to be a little bit of doubt gnawing at the back of my head. Maybe it’s a creative’s thing.
FFGH: Willing to bet many creatives will agree with you on that! Do you have any advice for writers struggling to complete writing projects?
FC: My only advice would be to dedicate yourself to finishing it. Try to be consistent in writing or even just thinking about the project. Any other idea you have, write down and put a pin in it. It’s advice that has helped me a lot.
FFGH: That’s good advice. Any future collaboration or projects you would like to see in the Ghanaian literary space?
FC: I’d love to see more writers enter the YouTube channel space. Scripting videos for personalities and so on. I’d also like to see writers themselves collaborate with each other. Collaboration is what started my journey, and I encourage it.
Personally, I’m looking to enter the comedy scene in Ghana as a ghostwriter and I’m looking for avenues to do that.
FFGH: We look forward to that! We’re going to assume the writer-reader trope here and ask this final question: What books are you currently reading?
FC: Currently I’m reading about eight different books, but the one I’ve taken to is C.L.R James’ Kwame Nkrumah & The Ghanaian Revolution.