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Ambrose Massaquoi

 

ambrose massaquoi

 

Born in the diamondiferous Tongo Fields in eastern Sierra Leone, Ambrose Massaquoi developed interest in the arts early in life. He took to the stage reciting poetry and performing in plays during his primary school days. He would later tour with drama groups of his alma maters (Christ the King College and Fourah Bay College), performing in local adaptations of plays such as Julius Caesar, The Government Inspector, and Volpone. Before going off to college, he also performed briefly with the Sierra Magnamex Theatre in Freetown.

 

While studying at Fourah Bay College, Massaquoi was a member of the sierra Leone Association of Writers and Illustrators (SLAWI). He later became a founding member of the Falui Poetry Society, and, more recently, of the newly established Sierra Leone Writers Guild. He is also a Fellow of Writing of the University of Iowa in the USA, where he participated in the prestigious International Writing Program in 1994—the third Sierra Leonean after Yulisa Amadu Maddy and Syl Cheney-Coker.

 

His poems and short stories have appeared in Sierra Leonean and international publications including The Iowa Review, 100 Words, Songs that Pour the Heart, Kalashnikov in the Sun, and Leoneathology.

 

Massaquoi is also songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. Growing up, music constituted an integral part of family life for him, with deep influences coming from artists of the era like Peter Tosh, Bob Marley, Fela Kuti, and Eddie Grant. Massaquoi believes it is the posture of these artists in their music, together with his Christian upbringing and faith that have colored his artistic expressions. His poems and short stories, which mainly deal with the socio-politics of Sierra Leone, have appeared in several Sierra Leonean and international publications.

 

Ambrose Massaquoi presently lives with his family in Lagos, Nigeria, where he heads Africa Centre for Theological Studies.