Yaa Gyasi

Author

Yaa Gyasi (born 1989) is a Ghanaian-American novelist. Her debut novel, Homegoing, published in 2016, won her, at the age of 26, the National Book Critics Circle's John Leonard Award for best first book, the PEN/Hemingway Award for a first book of fiction, the National Book Foundation's "5 under 35" honours for 2016 and the American Book Award. She was awarded a Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Literature in 2020.

Shortly after graduating from Stanford, she began her debut novel and worked at a startup company in San Francisco, but she did not enjoy the work and resigned after she was accepted to Iowa in 2012.

Her debut novel Homegoing was inspired by a 2009 trip to Ghana, Gyasi's first since leaving the country as an infant. The novel was completed in 2015, and after initial readings from publishers, was met with numerous offers before she accepted a seven-figure advance from Knopf. Ta-Nehisi Coates selected Homegoing for the National Book Foundation's 2016 "5 under 35" award, and the novel also was selected for the National Book Critics Circle's John Leonard Award, the PEN/Hemingway Award for the best first book, and the American Book Award for contributions to diversity in American literature.

Her writing has also appeared in such publications as African American Review, Callaloo, Guernica The Guardian, and Granta.

Gyasi cites Toni Morrison (Song of Solomon), Gabriel García Márquez (One Hundred Years of Solitude), James Baldwin (Go Tell It on the Mountain), Edward P. Jones (Lost in the City), and Jhumpa Lahiri (Unaccustomed Earth) as inspirations.

As of 2016, Gyasi lived in Berkeley, California.

book(s) by this author

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