Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Susan D Peters  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction Non-Fiction

Audience: Adult;

Born: 1949 in Chicago, Illinois

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Illinois Connection

Peters was born and raised in Chicago. She attended Chicago Public Schools; graduating from Jean Baptiste Point DuSable High School and Depaul University. Some of her poetry, fiction and plays have been set in Illinois. She now reside on Chicago's South Side.

Biographical and Professional Information

Susan Peters, aka, Ahnydah (pronounced ah-NIE-dah) Rahm, brings a treasure trove of experience gained as an expatriate living in West Africa, to her memoir, Sweet ''Liberia, Lessons from the Coal Pot''. Her sojourn began during a 1978 vacation to Liberia and Ghana. She returned in 1979 with her family and with the exception of two weeks in 1982, she remained in Liberia for 11 years until 1990 when Liberia’s escalating Civil War finally forced her to flee for her life.

In 1979, she had no way of knowing that the presidency of William R. Tolbert, which had provided her family the vision of stability in Liberia, would end abruptly with his assassination and the April 1980 coup d'etat, setting the stage for future conflicts. Over the years, Ahnydah had the unique opportunity to experience Liberia and its people during the sweet times when development and the nation seemed to be moving rapidly forward, through seething internal hatreds leading to a stream of attempted assignation plots and military coups.

During her “Liberian Years,” as she fondly refers to them, she worked for the Liberian National Red Cross Society in positions ranging from health educator, Director of Red Cross Day Care Center and Kindergarten and fundraiser. In January 1989, she left the Red Cross and, with a Liberian partner, opened First Steps, Child Development Center. Unfortunately, by May she and her partner closed their fledgling business, due to the encroaching war. There was yet more learning as she found herself alone with her children during the escalating civil war. The British Broadcasting System described it as, “The bloodiest war in West Africa since the Biafran War.” Ahnydah has lived in both urban and rural Liberia. Her experiences helped her understand the inner connectedness of humanity while bestowing upon her lessons of humility, tolerance and flexibility. “Throughout my stay in Liberia, I often learned my personal life lessons by peeking objectively at the lives of my Liberian sisters and seeing my own face reflected.” She fondly remembers her extended Liberian family as the foundation of her happiness, productivity and ultimately, her survival.

Of the people, culture and customs of Liberia she reflects, “There was so much about Liberia that I loved from my first moment on Liberian soil. There was much about Liberian culture that I grew to understand, and there were customs that I simply learned to tolerate,” says Ahnydah. “However, all of my experiences are precious to me for the richness and texture they brought to my life.” She feels strongly that despite the ravages of the civil war, Liberia will someday rise from its ashes due to the remarkable pride and the indomitable spirit of the Liberian people. Susan is the mother of five children, three born in Liberia.

A native of Chicago’s south side, she is a graduate of DuSable High School and DePaul University. She has worked in women’s development, communication, sales, marketing, event management, fund raising and currently manages community relations at a prestigious academic medical center. A lifelong author of poetry, essays, short stories, and plays, Susan was awarded the 2010, African American Alliance of the Arts in Chicago prize for excellence in the non-fiction category and a 2011 Illinois Women’s Press Association Mate E. Palmer Communication Award- non-fiction category. Her book, ''Broken Dolls'', is the first of a detective series.


'Sweet Liberia, Lessons from the Coal Pot ' Award of Excellence - non-fiction, African American Alliance of the Arts in Chicago, 2010 Mate E. Palmer Communication Award - non-fiction, Illinois Women's Press Association, 2010

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Selected Titles At Your Library

Broken dolls :
ISBN: 9780982712511. OCLC Number: 904759318

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Having earned a reputation for tackling grisly cases that typically weed female cops off homicide, Sommers transfers to Chicago's south suburbs, envisioning a calmer life. When a wealthy church Elder is found murdered in the den of his stylish home, it initially appears to be a random homicide, presumably committed during the act of robbery. However, the gruesome nature of the killing and closer scrutiny of the evidence signals that the motive for this murder was much more personal. The question is, who would want this pillar of the community dead, and why?

Stolen rainbow.
ISBN: 9780982712566. OCLC Number: 955542147

Sunrise Consulting,. .

Sweet Liberia :
ISBN: 0982712502. OCLC Number: 698130565

Sunrise Consulting,. .

Sweet Liberia :
ISBN: 9780982712535. OCLC Number: 948825908

Sunrise Consulting,. .

Sweet Liberia, Lessons from the Coal Pot is a delightful, painfully honest memoir that chronicles the thick slice of humanity sandwiched between Liberia's April 12, 1980 coup and the Civil War in 1989. Like many others who embraced Black Pride, Afros, African clothing and names in the 70's, Susan and thousands more took it one step further and immigrated to Mother Africa. This touching memoir is set against the author's personal growth, her cultural struggles, and her triumphs, and is an informative, personally revealing, and often-comical account of her family's eleven-year journey immersed in the rich culture of Liberia, West Africa.