Dr Michelle Yaa Asantewa
Michelle was born in Guyana, South America in 1969. She migrated to the UK to reunite with her mother in 1980. Her interest in African traditional spiritual practices and cultural identity prompted her to do a PhD on the Guyanese Komfa ritual. She taught English Literature, Editing and Creative Writing at London Metropolitan University and currently facilitates writing workshops as an Independent Scholar. She set up Way Wive Wordz Publishing, Editing and Tuition Services, an education platform to accommodate a range of learning and creative aspirations. Her first novel Elijah and poetry collection The Awakening and Other Poems were self-published in 2014. Guyanese Komfa: The Ritual Art of Trance - her PhD thesis, Something Buried in the Yard and Mama Lou Tales: A Folkloric biography of a Guyanese Elder, were published in 2016. She lives in London. She writes a regular blog: waywivewordzspiritualcreative that highlights a range of cultural, educational, creative a spiritual experiences.
Michelle Asantewa graduated from the then University of North London (now London Met) with First Class Honours in English. She completed an MRes (Masters in Research) in Postcolonial Studies and PhD on Guyanese Komfa there also. Guyanese Komfa practice involves spirit possession - spirits who manifest are identified as either African, Amerindian, Chinese, Dutch, English, Portuguese or Spanish, reflecting the historical context of previously colonised British Guyana. African indigenous and diasporic spiritual systems are her main research interest and cultural practice.
Concerned with the media image of black boys and gang-related violence, coupled with personal experiences of the realities and impact of this profile, Michelle explored these themes in her first novel Elijah. The novel considers the influences black youth are exposed to and how they impact their life choices. It explores cultural and peer identity as determiners for self-perception and social responsibility.
Michelle is Co-Chair and founding member of Johmard Lyme, a Voluntary Community Organisation that provides opportunities for young people to develop social, personal and life skills. She is also part of an organising group set up to redevelop Bogle L'Ouverture Publications. BLP was co-founded in 1968 by Eric Huntley and Jessica Huntley, and was among the first Black owned publishers in the UK. Michelle collaborates with Black History Walks on a range of Black History educational events, including courses, presentations and film screenings. She is regularly invited to curate and host a number of events. Michelle is a freelance literary consultant for the Literary Consultancy. Dr Asantewa collaborates with a number of community organisations, such as Black History Walks and Pan-Afrikan Society Community Forum, and Education Through Culture. Her contact details are below.