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Episode 56 - Peace Adzo Medie

"Elikem married me in absentia: he did not come to our wedding."

Talk about a killer first line. I absolutely loved Peace Adzoe Medie's debut novel, His Only Wife. I read it in two days and probably would have finished it in a day if I didn't have family and work responsibilities. It is just. that. good. Peace was born in Liberia and grew up in Ghana. Today, she lives in the U.K.

Her contemporary Ghanaian novel is about an arranged marriage. The protagonist, Afi (AH-fee), is asked to marry, Eli (EL-ee), a man from a wealthy family. His mother, whom everyone calls Auntie, disapproves of Manu, his live-in girlfriend who is the mother of his child. So she sets things in motion for Afi and Eli to marry. Afi is from a more modest background, and this marriage will mean stability for her and her mother who's a widow. Auntie hopes this marriage will force Eli and Manu apart. But he has trouble letting her go, and Afi grows increasingly frustrated with the whole situation.

In addition to being an author, Peace is also a a senior lecturer in gender and international politics at the University of Bristol in England and a research fellow at the University of Ghana. Her fiction touches on a lot of the topics she researches. Peace says His Only Wife is definitely a feminist novel even though Afi never refers to herself as one. The novel explores gender dynamics, the conflict between traditional values and more progressive ones, class differences, and the impact of obligation on women. There's also a healthy dose of romance.

Interview Highlights:

Peace reveals...

- Why she didn't want to make Eli a villain

- What she hoped to accomplish with the novel's steamy sex scenes

- The novel that absolutely blew her mind as a teenager

Click here to listen to the episode. You can also help Peace and the show by purchasing the book here.

During the show, Peace mentioned a novel by a Zimbabwean author that she's read over and over again. The first person to tell us the name of that novel on Twitter or Facebook will win a free copy of His Only Wife.

If you have won a ReadMore giveaway in the last 90 days, you're ineligible for this contest. If you and I ever attended band camp together at Ferrum College, you're probably ineligible. But we'll always have perfection in musicianship, precision in marching, and quality in character.


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