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Yaa Gyasi’s multigenerational novel Homegoing is now mandatory reading for freshers at her alma mater, Stanford University. The heavy-hitting first novel was chosen as part of the university’s “Three Books” programme in which freshers are encouraged to read three recommended books.

Set in Ghana and the US, Homegoing spans three centuries and seven generations, and follows two half-sisters, Effia and Esi, and their descendants as they navigate the irrevocable damage of slavery. Bought for a rumoured $1 million, the novel has found what the Los Angeles Times describes as “blazing success”: it won the 2016 National Book Critics’ Circle (NBCC) John Leonard Prize, earned a nomination for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction at the 2017 PEN America Literary Awards, was a The New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and secured Gyasi a place on Granta‘s prestigious Best of Young American Novelists list of 2017.

Months ago, we did a feature how the novel compares to other major books of historical fiction from Africa.

Here’s information from Stanford’s Website on the selection.

Three Books is a signature Stanford New Student Orientation program for first-year and new transfer students. Each year, a faculty moderator selects three books for incoming undergraduate students to read over the summer. The program culminates in a panel and roundtable discussion with the authors during NSO, where students are given the special opportunity to ask the authors questions and hear their perspectives.

This year, our faculty moderator, Dr. Noah Diffenbaugh (Professor of Earth System Science), chose books on the theme of Sustainability & Equity:

  • Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing

  • Elizabeth Kolbert’s The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History

  • Jesmyn Ward’s Salvage the Bones

Here is the university Website page for the novel.

Congratulations to Yaa Gyasi.

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About Otosirieze Obi-Young

View all posts by Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young is Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. He is a judge for the 2018/19 Gerald Kraak Prize and the 2019 Miles Morland Writing Scholarships. He is an editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective, which has published volumes including We Are Flowers (2017) and The Inward Gaze (2018). He is the curator of the Art Naija Series, a sequence of e-anthologies of writing and visual art focusing on different aspects of Nigerianness, including Enter Naija: The Book of Places (2016), which explores cities, and Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (2017), which explores professions. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition. He has completed a collection of short stories, You Sing of a Longing, is working on a novel, and is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. He attended the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where he got an M.A. in African Studies and a combined honours B.A. in History & International Studies and English & Literary Studies. He taught English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. Find him at otosirieze.com, where he accepts writing and editing offers, or on Instagram or Twitter: @otosirieze. When bored, he Googles Rihanna.

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