Nii Ayikwei Parkes is a Ghanaian novelist, editor, sociocultural commentator, and poet. A 2007 recipient of Ghana’s national ACRAG award for poetry and literary advocacy, he has held visiting positions at the University of Southampton and California State University. Parkes’s books include ballast: a remix (shortlisted for the Michael Marks Award), the recent The Makings of You (Peepal Tree) and his debut novel, Tail of the Blue Bird (forthcoming in the United States in 2011), which was shortlisted for the 2010 Commonwealth Prize (see WLT, Jan. 2010, 68).
As a performer, Parkes is known for his versatility on stage and his love for jazzy collaborations. He has performed on major stages like the Royal Festival Hall in London, Java in Paris, and Paradiso in Amsterdam as well as at festivals such as the 2005 London Jazz Festival. In 2002 he completed a sellout six-week tour of the United States and recorded the spoken-word CD Incredible Blues, which includes collaborations with Randolph Matthews and Kumar Raghunathan.