Kofi Awoonor was born in 1935 in Wheta, Ghana and grew up as George Awoonor-Williams. His father was a trader and tailor. When Awoonor was eight, the family moved to Keta. He studied English at University College of the Gold Coast and then taught at the University of Ghana. He published his first book of poetry in 1971. He became head of the Ghana Film Industries Corporation before studying for a M. A. at the University of London. He then taught in the United States, where he wrote This Earth, My Brother ... An Allegorical Tale of Africa. He returned to Ghana in 1975 but was soon arrested for involvement in an attempted coup and held eight months till his trial. He was found guilty and sentenced to a year in prison but never served any further time in prison. Since then, he has been much more active in Ghanaian politics, including spells as Ghanaian ambassador to Brazil, Cuba and the United Nations.