Cooper, Afua

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Cooper, Afua

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1957-

History

Afua [Ava Pamela] Cooper was born on November 8, 1957, in the Whithorn district of Westmoreland, Jamaica. She moved to Canada in December 1980 as a direct result of the increasing political violence in Jamaica. After the birth of her son Akil in July 1981, Cooper worked as an instructor at Bickford Park High School in Toronto, but she was already beginning to perform her poetry at Toronto's spoken word venues. Her first book of poetry, Breakin Chains, was published in 1983, the same year that she enrolled at the University of Toronto to major in African Studies. In 1988 she took up a residency fellowship at Banff School of Fine Arts and wrote two books of poetry, The Red Caterpillar on College Street (1989), for children, and Memories Have Tongue (1992), which was a finalist in the 1992 Casa de las Americas Award. Dr. Cooper is currently the Ruth Wynn Woodward Professor at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver.

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Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto

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