Nana-Ama Danquah on the triple burden of mental health, menopause and being Black - THE SHIFT REVISITED

One of my favourite things about making The Shift podcast is all the fascinating women I get to interview - and learn a little bit from. So I’m revisiting a few of my favourite episodes while I finish putting together the new season. I had never heard of Nana-Ama Danquah before I started The Shift and speaking to her was one of my most enlightening conversations. Nana-Ama's writing has recently found a new audience and was shortlisted for this year's Caine Prize.

Here are the original show notes:

My guest today is the Ghanaian American writer Nana-Ama Danquah. Nana-Ama found herself in the public eye when, in the late 90s, she published her memoir Willow Weep For Me about suffering from clinical depression - one of the first books to openly discuss black women’s mental health experience. Critically acclaimed by the likes of the late, great Maya Angelou, its description of the shame, dismissal, denial and out and out despair experienced by many black women started a much-needed conversation that was widely credited with “saving lives”. (It's currently not published in the UK - publishers I AM LOOKING AT YOU!)

Now 53, Nana-Ama joined me from her home in (sunny) California (grrr) to talk about the double - in fact, make that triple - burden of mental health, menopause and being black, why black women are driving change right now, how menopause turned her into a hot mess and how she’s finally learnt the joy of doing what you do until you die.

• You can buy all the books mentioned in this podcast at, including the book that accompanies this podcast, The Shift: how I lost and found myself after 40 - and you can too by Sam Baker. Willow Weep For Me by Nana-Ama Danquah is not published in the UK, but you can buy it from or

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The Shift (on life after 40) with Sam Baker is created and hosted by Sam Baker and edited by Emily Sandford. If you enjoyed this podcast, please rate/review/follow as it really does help other people find us. And let me know what you think on twitter @sambaker or instagram @theothersambaker.

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