Ishmael Fiifi Annobil was born in Accra, Ghana. He taught himself hand drumming at the age of four, and started writing poetry at the age of eleven, becoming a member of the Ghana National Association of Writers at nineteen.
After a short stint on Ghana’s Daily Graphic Newspaper as a proof-reader and freelance reporter, Ishmael emigrated to East Africa, living in Southern Sudan and Kenya, where he wrote, co-produced and performed the acclaimed multi-media show, Criers on the Thresholds of Reality, for refugees and the homeless. He subsequently worked on the Kenya Business Spotlight as a politics, economics, and arts reporter.
He came to England in 1983, and worked briefly on a London Diaspora magazine as deputy editor, before spending eleven years in Wales, where he founded the international poetry festival, Iolo’s Children and Wales’ first serious arts newspaper, Circa21. He is the founder of the international film collective, Stonedog Productions (Camden, London).
An ardent screenwriter, producer and director, Ishmael’s films for Stonedog include In The Presence of Awe - The Transvangarde, and Kenji Yoshida - Artist of the Soul. He is currently directing two surreal feature films, and a definitive documentary about controversial Danish artist Kristian Von Hornsleth. He has published two collections of poetry: Seven Horn Elegy and Ethiop. His forthcoming books include Portrait of a Man in Pain (novel) Utopia of the Worms (poetry), and Yoshida (photographic monograph).
Known in Kenya and the UK for his poetry/drum recitals, Ishmael started composing music digitally in 2007, initially for his own films. He has about 40 full-blown songs to his name, including PANGAEA, a 40-minute score for a choreographic collaboration with German dancer katharina Roll. He plans to issue four albums this year, including a contemporary classical suite, ‘Procession of Very Beautiful Angels’.
Ishmael studied Social Anthropology extramurally at Goldsmith’s College, and took a PgDip in Visual Communications at West Herts College. He lives in London with his wife and two grown-up offspring.