Kossi-Komla-Ebri-TogoItalyKossi Amékowoyoa Komla-Ebri, a medical surgeon living and practicing in Italy, was born in Togo in 1954. He left for Italy in 1974 with a scholarship to study at the University of Bologna, where he earned a medical degree in 1982. As a naturalized Italian citizen, he plays an active role in local politics to promote the status of migrant workers. He has been the President Founder of A.S.A.E (African Solidarity Association Erba), which assists African immigrants and promotes understanding of African values through cultural mediation. He is also a leading force amongst immigrant writers and their attempts to become a cohesive literary group. He is vice–director of El Ghibli, an online review of migrant literature and director of the collective Letteratura migrante.

 

Komla-Ebri has held numerous positions. Among these, he was Vice-President for the Scientific Research of IPAL (Panafrican Institut of Lugano), an NGO caring for the democratic and social progress of the African continent and was also Vice-Director of his CERA (Studies Centre of African Realities). He has received a number of awards for his outstanding work as cultural mediator, promoting intercultural dialogue and awareness. In May 2001 he became the first black Italian to stand for election in the Italian Parliament as a candidate for the Ulivo coalition of the centre-left.

 

He has won several literary prizes for his short stories, including first prize for creative prose at the third annual Eks&Tra competition, held in Rimini in 1997, with the short story, Quando attraverserò il fiume (When I’ll cross the river) based on African oral tradition. He also won prizes for the 1998 short story Mal di (Sickness), and in the same year won another prize for the short story Ninna nanna (Lullaby) in a competition held by the magazine Famiglia cristiana. Most of his shorts stories are included in the anthology All’Incrocio dei sentieri (At the crossroads) He is the author of several articles published in the journal l’incrocio and the magazine Progetto Africa.

 

He recently published Imbarazzismi. Quotidiani imbarazzi in bianco e nero Embaracisms (daily embarrassments in black and white) and Nuovi Imbarazzismi- quotidiani imbarazzi in bianco e nero..e a colori (New Embarassisms - daily embarrassments in black and white and colours), collections of anecdotes illustrating latent and unintentional racism in Italy. His novel Neyla, is the first African-Italian novel to be translated in English and published in the United States.

 

Select Bibliography

Vado a casa (I turn home) Parole oltre i confini, Fara Editore, Santarcangelo di Romagna, 1997

Mal di……(Sickness) Destini sospesi di volti in cammino, Fara Editore Santarcangelo di Romagna, 1998

Sognando una favola (Dreaming a fable) Destini sospesi di volti in cammino, Fara Editore Santarcangelo di Romagna 1998

Auch ich bin Italien (Anch’io sono l’Italia - I’m also Italy) Di Brücke-Forum für antirassistiche politik und kultur-N°4/XIX. Juli-August, 2000

Imbarazzismi –Quotidiani imbarazzi in bianco e nero (Embaracisms-daily embarrassments in black and white) Edizioni dell’Arco-Marna, 2002

Identità trasversa (Transversal identity) Antology Parole di sabbia, Edizioni Il Grappolo novembre, 2000

Neyla, Edizioni dell’Arco-Marna dicembre, 2002

Nuovi imbarazzismi- Quotidiani imbarazzi in bianco e nero…e a colori (New Embaracisms-daily embarrassments in black and white…and colours) Edizioni dell’Arco-Marna, 2004