Benjamin Kwakye

The Executioner's Confession (Short Stories) (Cissus World Press)

Selected Works

An epic chronicle of Rwandan born Shama's struggles and triumphs as an immigrant.
A collection of short stories
A collection of three novellas that explore grief and the tenacity of the human spirit.
An epic novel on the African immigrant experience. Winner of the 2011 IPPY Gold Award Multicultural Fiction (Adult )
A novel of intense sibling rivalry that stands as a powerful metaphor of Africa’s socio-political past and present.
"[A] compelling revelation of post-colonial concerns presented through a brilliant weaving together of events... "
--CWP Citation
A compelling portrait of relations between the rich and poor in urban Ghana.

Current Titles

The Three Books of Shama (Cissus World Press, June 2016)

Spanning multiple continents and countries, including Rwanda, the United States and Ghana, The Three Books of Shama is an epic chronicle of the life story of Rwandan born Shama Rugwe, following her from her birth to a Christian father and a Moslem mother, to her migration to the United States and her eventual nomination as Chief Justice of the United States. Identified as a Tutsi, Shama survives the Rwandan genocide at great cost, including the loss of her parents and brother, as well as a horrific personal assault that leaves deep emotional scars. Despite this, her migration to the US (and naturalization as a citizen) provides her with new opportunities, including her marriage to the son of an African-American lawyer and Ghanaian migrant, and her enrollment at Harvard Law School, where she excels. Shama gains notoriety after defending two of social opprobrium: a white supremacist (under pressure from her law firm) and a Hutu man who marries her aunt and is later accused of killing Tutsis in the Rwandan genocide. And then all hell breaks loose when she is eventually nominated as Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court. The ensuing senate confirmation hearings and opposition to her nomination unearth stubborn gender, racial and xenophobic beliefs, as well as religious biases.


Scrolls of the Living Night (Cissus World Press) --A darkly humorous modern take on the fleeting triumph of money, corruption, deceit, and evil.”--Kirkus Review

“Kwakye’s imaginative tale takes place in Ghana but could just as easily be set in the United States or any country beset by corruption…Rhyming quatrains move the story along with wit and grace, and despite the tragic outcome, Kwakye’s writing contains exuberant humor…and cutting insights into human nature… A darkly humorous modern take on the fleeting triumph of money, corruption, deceit, and evil.” — Kirkus Reviews


Multi award-winning novelist Benjamin Kwakye pens an incredible tale of good and evil in his fourth, and most recent, work. An epic poem, Kwakye’s third-person verse is replete with a wealth of characters set within Ghana. …Divided into three books, and designed in chapters, Kwakye’s ballad follows over 300 pages of stunning un-metered ABAB scheme, laced with rich descriptive verbiage. Keeping his narrative constantly moving, Kwakye alternates between various character scenes... Of particular interest is the way Kwakye incorporates traditional culture aspects within a modern-day scenario…Filled with a flurry of twists and turns, Scrolls of the Living Night is not only a delightful welcome to African literature, but also a refreshing read for poetry aficionados.”—Manhattan Book Review


"Benjamin Kwakye’s Scrolls of the Living Night… cleverly follows the life unfoldings of a boy subject to emotional turmoil and intense pressures and expectations in his family, using the idea of a happy child as a basis for comparison. Presented in a loose ABAB rhyming format and rife with symbols and abstractions, yet written in sentence style, this work of fiction is a nice hybrid of both poetry and prose…. [a] thought-provoking treatise on an important subject."—San Francisco Book Review


“Kwakye's evocative blend of detail, memory, stories, characters and lyrical commentary makes this book an ambitious project that will have a lasting impact on the reader. Traditional and modern Ghanaian/​African culture clash in this courageous adventure rich with memorable characters, myths, places and sophisticated language.” -- Editorial Review


Legacy of Phantoms (Africa World Press)

"‘Legacy of Phantoms’ has a lot to offer in fashioning a new direction for African literature. The style is engaging and the use of idioms and metaphor rich. Perhaps the greatest contribution this novel will make to the corpus of African literature is its psychoanalytical appraisal of the past through the smoky lens of the present, with the future in sight. Students of African politics will find the novel helpful in understanding the psychoanalytical considerations that inform some of the present colonial discourses. The universal truth that the novel tries to advance, that the mastery of logic, truth, communalism, is always present but that it is also displaced and is never completely absorbed by the generality of the people. Scholars will find the position of the novel and its writer engaging." -- Dr. Sola Adeyemi


The Other Crucifix (Winner 2011 IPPY Gold Award Multicultural Fiction Adult )

“The novel raises important questions about identity and belonging as it discusses both Badu’s individual struggles and the more generalized experience of the modern African man.” World Literature Today


“This is a moving and readable story in which one individual’s choices and experiences speak for wider and more universal concerns, encompassing radical upheaval and personal development; crossing borders, crossing continents.” New Internationalist


“With a powerful message of the place of the modern African man, "The Other Crucifix" is a fine read that shouldn't be missed for world literary fiction collections.” Midwest Book Review


“[A] captivating tale of double estrangement… In a nutshell, The Other Crucifix is the handiwork of a literary virtuoso, anchored in the themes of psychological and physical exile and the quest for self-identity. The pedagogical import of this novel resides in its suitability to the young and the old. The language is clear and free of sophistry. Students and teachers with an interest in African history, languages and cultures would find the text an invaluable resource.” Peter W. Vakunta in Pambazuka News


“With The Other Crucifix , Kwakye has given us a book that manages to both entertain and educate, often touching on issues that Africans in the Diaspora have grappled with, as they try to integrate into their adopted countries.” Africa Book Club


“The Other Crucifix stands out because apart from painting for readers the obvious challenges for Africans abroad, such as communication and other familiar things, [it] manages to clearly define the deep questions in the heart about race and differences.” Daily Graphic


"Benjamin Kwakye is a novelist whose genius becomes more apparent with each novel he writes. The Other Crucifix, his third, is a must read for anyone who loves a good story. But this work is no ordinary narrative of the transplanted African in search of an education in the West. Benjamin Kwakye demonstrates why he is the grandmaster of storytelling, and with the creation of Jojo Badu, the often naïve narrator, we come to know a character who by turns is infuriating and endearing, and whom we see mature into a responsible adult. Yet, this is no mere bildungsroman, Benjamin Kwakye’s mastery of the novel’s form and language enables him to economically capture the breath, depth and emotional energies that inform the actions of the characters whose lives speak not only to the specificity of life in an elite Liberal Arts College, or being in Ghana intoxicated by the heady promise of the post-independence era, or caught-up in the transformative period of the U.S. during the 60s and 70s. The Other Crucifix is a modern-day epic that embodies the wisdom of the Sankofa bird as it reviews the last century: the lessons learned or not, the paths taken or untrod, and prepares us, like Jojo, as we finish reading the last page, that “life starts again.” There is hope resonating in this gem of a novel."
Prof. Vincent Odamtten