Ghanaian novelist Yaa Gyasi’s Transcendent Kingdom, a novel about a small Ghanaian family in Alabama dealing with loss and the heartbreaking effects of drug addiction, has been shortlisted for the 2021 Women’s Prize for Fiction.
The world’s most significant literary honor for a woman, the Women’s Prize counts amongst its previous winners Zadie Smith, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Marilyn Robinson.
The 2021 shortlist is entirely made up of first-time nominees, the first occurrence since 2005, reports The Guardian. Chair of Judges British-Nigerian author Bernardine Evaristo revealed that the judges intended to champion stories about marginalized communities, going further to note that [Gyasi’s] novel “tells of a Ghanaian family in the deep south and how they struggle to cope when their lives are torn asunder – it’s another forgotten community.”
Like Yaa Gyasi’s classic debut Homegoing, Transcedent Kingdom was met with rave reviews upon publication and continues to garner accolades, including a longlist for 2021 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction longlist and 2021 Aspen Words Literary Prize. Most recently, it was selected for the 2021-2022 University of Wisconsin-Madison Go Big Read program. (Read an excerpt of the novel here.)
Read the Judge’s citation of Transcendent Kingdom below;
“As a child Gifty would ask her parents to tell the story of their journey from Ghana to Alabama, seeking escape in myths of heroism and romance. When her father and brother succumb to the hard reality of immigrant life in the American South, their family of four becomes two – and the life Gifty dreamed of slips away. Years later, desperate to understand the opioid addiction that destroyed her brother’s life, she turns to science for answers. But when her mother comes to stay, Gifty soon learns that the roots of their tangled traumas reach farther than she ever thought. Tracing her family’s story through continents and generations will take her deep into the dark heart of modern America.”
See the full shortlist here.
The winner will be announced on July 7.
We are rooting for Yaa Gyasi!