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Producing Outstanding Scholarship

Portia Owusu picture
Dr. Portia Owusu is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of English at Texas A&M University and an Accountability, Climate, Equity, and Scholarship (ACES) Fellow. We interviewed Dr. Owusu about her new book, Spectres from the Past: Slavery and the Politics of “History” in West African and African-American Literature.
When did you realize you wanted to write this book?
The book desire stems from an intellectual curiosity to look at slavery and the politics of history and memory in West African and African-American literature. I was born in Ghana and grew up in England and had a desire to examine the West African relationship to the history of slavery.
What were the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?
I learned that writing is hard. There is a lot of emotional involvement attached to writing, which involves drawing from yourself and showing a level of empathy. I learned to be clear and concise and to write in a way that readers outside academia can understand. I would suggest other writers think about your audience and what you want to achieve and try different publishers.
How has being an ACES Fellow contributed to your success and being an author?
I have benefited from being an ACES Fellow because the opportunity allowed me the time and space to work on my book’s final corrections and indexing. The time needed was helpful and my published work is accessible as an eBook and is ideal to assign to classrooms.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I like to exercise and enjoy really good food like jollof (Ghanaian jollof). I enjoy traveling. I have traveled to New Orleans and Hong Kong. I like the mix of culture. I am looking forward to what the future holds.

Media contact:
Crystal S. Carter
Communications Specialist