Zoë Gadegbeku is a Ghanaian writer living in Boston. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College, where she worked in communications and taught first-year writing. She was a participant in the 2017 Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop at the University of the West Indies-Cave Hill, Barbados and a fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts in June 2019. She is the 2021 writer-in-residence at Mother Mercy, an arts incubator in Boston. Her writing has appeared in Saraba Magazine, Afreada, Blackbird, The Washington Post, and elsewhere.
Zoë is the daughter of Harriette Essie, the granddaughter of Lilian Violet, the great-granddaughter of Alwin Mana, and the great-great-granddaughter of Sarah Lolomo. This is as far back as she is able to name her mothers for now, but she knows that those whose names are still unknown to her are with her as well. She is also loved by an aunty with a gold tooth you can see if she laughs wide enough, an aunty who she still sees as a literal angel through her formerly 11-year-old eyes, cousins who are far taller than her even though she is the oldest, a grandma with a scandalous sense of humor, an uncle who took her to concerts and film screenings and food fairs, an uncle who took her on the best walks when she was little, several chosen family members in Boston and elsewhere, and sister-friends who she sees and speaks to with varying levels of frequency.
She is currently writing and living in Boston, and has been able to find joy and peace of mind there (at last) due to Black women she has met at yoga/dance classes, at the nail salon, and other places around the city, a therapist who quotes Haitian proverbs at least once a session, low insurance co-pays for healthcare, and a willingness to allow herself to be loved. She is trying to separate the idea of her worth from the dollar amount on her paycheck, and to refuse the feelings of shame that persistent financial stresses are a part of life under capitalism and not a result of some moral lack or failure on her part. She is also trying to be present enough to continue to earn said paycheck without sinking into corporate quicksand. She tries her hardest to treat other people with care without negating her self in the process (martyrdom is not a good look). She belongs to herself only and in all ways.