Yaa Gyasi’s new novel, Transcendent Kingdom, has been longlisted for the 2021 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.

Gyasi’s novel, a follow-up to her magnificent debut Homegoing, follows a Ghanaian family in Alabama dealing with loss and the heartbreaking effects of drug addiction.

The longlist of ten was selected from 419 submissions by a judging panel that included Charles Finch, Bernice L. McFadden and Alexi Zetner.

In a press release, Louis Bayard, the PEN/Faulkner’s Awards Committee Chair said: “These extraordinary times have called forth extraordinary art, and the ten titles chosen for our longlist are a powerful reminder that fiction is as essential as ever.“

Established in 1980, the PEN/Faulkner Award is named in honor of American writer and Nobel laureate William Faulkner, who was notable for his charity towards younger writers, and the international writing organization PEN. The “largest annual peer-juried prize in America,” the award confers a $15,000 cash award to the winner and $5,000 to four finalists.

Previously shortlisted authors of African origin include Nigeria’s Julie Iromuanya for Mr. and Mrs. Doctor in 2016. In 2017, Cameroonian novelist Imbolo Mbue made history as the first African to clinch the prize for Behold the Dreamers. 

A shortlist of five would be announced in early March and the winner revealed in April. For more information about the award and other books on the longlist, head here.

Best wishes to Yaa Gyasi.