Acclaimed Novelist Yaa Gyasi Coming to Sheridan College March 8

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Feb. 22, 2018

Contact: Wendy Smith, Director of Marketing and Public Information (307) 675-0412, wsmith@sheridan.edu

Claire Barnes, Writer/Editor (307) 675-0416, cbarnes@sheridan.edu

Sheridan College and Ucross Foundation are pleased to welcome acclaimed novelist Yaa Gyasi for a discussion and book signing of her breakthrough novel “Homegoing” on Thursday, March 8 at 7 p.m. in the Whitney Academic Center W153. This event is free and open to the public.

The event is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities Grant: Creating Humanities Communities along the Hemingway Highway.  Sheridan College partners in this NEH Grant include the Wyoming Humanities Council, Wyoming Institute for Humanities Research and Ucross Foundation, where Gyasi will be a writer-in-residence.

 

Gyasi is the author of the highly acclaimed debut novel “Homegoing” and recipient of the 2017 PEN/Hemingway Award. Her brilliant and relevant novel moves through histories and geographies and captures—with outstanding economy and force—the troubled spirit of our own nation. An illuminating speaker, Gyasi captivates audiences with her sincerity and compassion. In September 2016, she was chosen by Ta-Nehisi Coates as one of the National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35” honorees. Personable and intimate, Gyasi’s lectures explore contemporary craft, cultural identity, and the complex racial landscape of America’s past and present.

“Homegoing” is the story of two half-sisters, Effia and Esi, born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and will live in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle, raising children who will be sent abroad to be educated before returning to the Gold Coast to serve as administrators of the empire. Esi, imprisoned beneath Effia in the Castle’s women’s dungeon and then shipped off on a boat bound for America, will be sold into slavery. “Homegoing” stretches from the wars of Ghana to slavery and the Civil War in America, from the coal mines in the American South to the Great Migration and twentieth-century Harlem. A powerful and emotional American novel about race and history, this is truly a book for our times.

Born in Ghana and raised in Huntsville, Alabama, Gyasi is a graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop and lives in Berkeley, California.

“I’m very excited we’ll have the opportunity to host Yaa Gyasi in Sheridan.  She’s an amazingly talented writer who, like Hemingway, has found her own distinct voice,” said Project Director, John Sutton. The National Endowment for the Humanities Hemingway Highways Grant is a multi-year initiative that explores Hemingway’s continuing relevance, both in contemporary literature and as an icon.  The grant was inspired by the 90th anniversary of Ernest Hemingway’s writing of “A Farewell to Arms” in Wyoming. Upcoming NEH Hemingway Highway events include an author talk with award-winning writer and Iraqi war veteran, Kevin Powers, on Sunday, April 15.  Powers is the author of “The Yellow Birds”.  Other award-winning writers, including Sigrid Nunez, will be featured at events over the summer. The public opening of events for the grant will take place Sept. 6 – 8, 2018.  Events include the performance of Carol Hemingway’s play, “Hemingway on Stage”, and a gala at the Sheridan Inn featuring Hemingway cocktail historian, Phil Greene. Ucross Foundation has partnered with the PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Fiction since 1995. The award was founded in 1976 by Mary Hemingway, the wife of Ernest Hemingway, to honor his legacy. Each year, the award winner, two finalists and two honorable mentions are invited for one-month residencies at Ucross. More than sixty writers have come to Wyoming through this literary collaboration, intended to support emerging writers at a crucial time in their writing careers. The partnership was conceived by Annie Proulx, who was a Ucross trustee at the time, after she had served as a judge for the award. The annual ceremony for the PEN/Hemingway award takes place each spring at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum in Boston. The award is administered by PEN/New England, which is a chapter of PEN America, a worldwide community of writers celebrating creative expression and defending the liberties that make them possible. PEN New England

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