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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 was born in Aba, Nigeria and attended the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. A finalist for the 2016 Miles Morland Writing Scholarship, his short stories include: “A Tenderer Blessing,” which appears in Transition Magazine and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2015; “Mulumba,” which appears in The Threepenny Review; and “You Sing of a Longing,” which was shortlisted for the inaugural Gerald Kraak Award and appears in Pride and Prejudice, an anthology by The Jacana Literary Foundation and The Other Foundation. His essays appear in Interdisciplinary Academic Essays and in Brittle Paper where he is Deputy Editor. His interviews appear in Africa in Dialogue, Bakwa Magazine, SPRINNG, and Dwartonline. He is the editor of the Art Naija Series, a sequence of themed e-anthologies of writing and visual art exploring different aspects of Nigerianness. The first, Enter Naija: The Book of Places (October 2016), focuses on Nigerian cities. The second, Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (June 2017), focuses on professions in Nigeria. A postgraduate student of African Studies, he currently teaches English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu, Nigeria. When bored, he blogs pop culture at naijakulture.blogspot.com or just Googles Rihanna.

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I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

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