Ama Ata Aidoo (23 March 1942 – 31 May 2023) was a Ghanaian author, poet, playwright and academic.
Christina Ama Ata Aidoo was born on 23 March 1942 in Abeadzi Kyiakor, near Saltpond, in the Central Region of Ghana. Some sources (including Megan Behrent, Brown University, and Africa Who's Who) have stated that she was born on 31 March 1940. She had a twin brother, Kwame Ata.
Aidoo was raised in a Fante royal household, the daughter of Nana Yaw Fama, chief of Abeadzi Kyiakor, and Maame Abasema.
She grew up at a time of resurgent British neocolonialism that was taking place in her homeland.
Her grandfather was murdered by neocolonialists, which brought her father's attention to the importance of educating the children and families of the village on the history and events of the era. This led him to open up the first school in their village and influenced Aidoo to attend Wesley Girls' High School, where she first decided she wanted to be a writer.
Aidoo attended Wesley Girls' Senior High School in Cape Coast, from 1961 to 1964. After high school, she enrolled at the University of Ghana, Legon, where she obtained the degree of Bachelor of Arts in English and also wrote her first play, The Dilemma of a Ghost, in 1964.
The play was published by Longman the following year, making Aidoo the first published African woman dramatist.
She was Secretary for Education in Ghana from 1982 to 1983 under Jerry Rawlings's PNDC administration.
Upon her passing, Aidoo had worn several hats playing crucial roles in different industries across the continent, among them the secretary for education in Ghana, 1982 to 1983, and a curriculum developer for Zimbabwe’s education ministry during her stay in the southern African nation from 1983-86.
As a novelist, she won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize in 1992 with the novel Changes.
In 2000, she established the Mbaasem Foundation in Accra to promote and support the work of African women writers.