Two local authors are setting up a charity to boost adult literacy in the African nation of Ghana.

Friends Naa Otua Swayne, 49, of Bessborough Road, Harrow, and Siobhan Curham, 38, of Ruislip Manor, want to arrange free night classes in which illiterate villagers will be taught to read and write.

Fundraising for the charity, named Happy Ever After, begins on Saturday at Waterstone's, St Ann's Road, Harrow, at the launch of Mrs Swayne's book The Dancing Tortoise, between 2pm and 5pm.

The book is a fictional tale of an arranged marriage set in Ghanaian communities.

Ms Curham, who met Mrs Swayne two years ago through the Harrow Writers' Group, which she runs, and ended up editing The Dancing Tortoise, said: "We're linking writers in Harrow with writers in Ghana to set up a literacy programnme.

"Over here, most people taking reading and writing for granted and don't realise how lucky they are."

Mrs Swayne, who grew up in the west African country, said: "In Ghana a lot of children leave school early and many can't read or write.

"It is a poor country and school classes can have over 50 pupils in them. For a lot of people, the reason they can't read and write is because of a lack of money.

"Some students go to Oxford and Cambridge but there's a large gap between them and those who can't even write their name.

"We'll launch a night class for adults so they can help their children with their homework. This will be for people who are grown up and have missed the boat.

"My education was small but I had help and now I can say I'm a novelist and I want to help other people who hadn't had that chance."

Happy Ever After's first classes will be held in Kpefwei and Adidome, the eastern Ghanaian settlements mentioned in The Dancing Tortoise, although the pair hope the scheme will spread nationwide and to other African countries.

Members of the Ghanaian Writers' Association will be appointed supervisors of particular areas and will be responsible for hiring retired teachers for £50 month, setting targets and filing reports to track progress, and distributing packs of books, pens and pencils to the mature students.

Ms Curham said: "Meeting Naa Otua, I realised I could go and actually help. By extension, all members of Harrow Writers' Group can help and beyond that anyone who wants to help. It's a great way to link writers in both countries."

* For more information on Happy Ever After and to make a donation visit