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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 LMA/4462/I
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1995-2002
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 0.08 linear metres
Name of creator(s): The Ananse Society | black literature study and promotion group


Administrative/Biographical history:

The Ananse Society was created from two 'Bookeater panel discussions' at Centerprise in East London, organised by the Black Literature Project in October 1995 and April 1996. A working committee was set up in 1996 and those individuals articulated the aims and objectives of the society. The founding members and steering committee of the organisation were: Jan Blake, Jean Buffong, Kadija George, Bonnie Greer, Ahmed Sheikh Gueye, Eric Huntley, Jessica Huntley, Earl Lovelace, Sonia McIntosh, Alex Pascall OBE, Paa 'C' Quaye and Jacob Ross.

The Patrons of the society were Baroness Amos, Dr Petronella Breinburg, Professor Merle Collins, Dr Walter Fluker, Professor Rex Nettleford, Dr Ato Quayson and Mavis Stewart. They were based at Centerprise, 136-138 Kingsland High Street, Hackney LB, where Kadija George was the literature officer. They used the Bogle-L'Ouverture Press post office box address.

The spelling of 'Ananse' was taken from the language of the Akan people of Ghana, Africa. It means 'a male born on a Wednesday'. The character is also known as Anansy, Anancy and Bro Anansi di Spiderman. It derives from West African countries; Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Mali, and travelled with enslaved Africans to become part of the oral tradition in the Caribbean and the Americas.

The Ananase Society Committee stated aims and objectives were to:-
- 'explore and collate the Ananse legend
- raise the self-esteem of our children through the ethics of storytelling and writing
- create a positive public focus on the creative; to enhance the impact that Ananse had had on lives and society, by using readings, seminars and discussions
- actively pursue raising and sharing literary skills, particularly storytelling, between Africans on the continent and the Diaspora
- produce information packs for use in research, education and other institutions as well as for general interest
- take Ananse from survival to action for the positive development of our mental, physical and spiritual selves
- provide an information and archival resource on Ananse stories and stories/folk tales form Africa and the Diaspora
- liase and consult with outer organisations and institutions on how to effectively use Ananse resources and information to achieve these aims and objectives.'

The Ananse Society was launched between 25 -30 April, 1998. Key note speakers were Merle Collins and Dr Ato Quayson. Keith Waithe and the Macusi players performed an original commissioned composition for the occasion. Bogle-L'Ouverture Publications organised a symposium, 'Ananse in the Diaspora' held at Hackney Town Hall. Participants were Dimela Yekwai, storyteller and poet, Kofi Nyaako, lecturer, Charles da Costa, a graduate in film, Jean Buffong, novelist and Marc Matthews, storyteller.

In 1999 the first edition of the Society's newsletter, 'Krick Krack', was produced and a fund raising event was organised to mark the first anniversary.

In December 2001 Jean Buffong proposed the idea that the Ananse Society should be incorporated into African Writers Abroad. The Society would continue to set its own programmes, retain a Chair and a Secretary but share office space and fundraising efforts with this bigger group which was a member of International PEN. This merger was agreed and the Ananse Society was incorporated into African Writers Abroad in 2002


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of The Ananse Society, including minutes, correspondence, programmes, press cuttings and stationery. For detailed introductions to these series please see the individual series descriptions in the detailed catalogue.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

These records are arranged into five series:

Conditions governing access:

These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information may be subject to access restrictions.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright to these records rests with the depositors.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Their archive collections were the first deposit from the African-Caribbean community to be made to the London Metropolitan Archives, in 2005 with additional deposits since that time.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
November 2009 to February 2010

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