Courtesy Photo
Courtesy Photo

Ucross, Wyoming – March 1, 2018 – Ucross Foundation and Sheridan College are pleased to co-host acclaimed novelist Yaa Gyasi for a reading, 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.

Born in Ghana and raised in Huntsville, Alabama, Gyasi is a graduate of Stanford University and the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. She currently lives in Berkeley, California. Winner of the 2017 PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Fiction, Gyasi will be in residence at Ucross in early March. Homegoing is the story of two half-sisters born into different villages in Ghana in the eighteenth century. Unaware of each other, one sister marries an Englishman, and the other is sold to slavery. The novel follows the paths of the sisters and their descendants through eight generations up to present day, illuminating slavery’s troubled legacy and how captivity came to be inscribed in the soul of a nation. Copies of Homegoing will be available for purchase at the March 8 event provided by Sheridan Stationery Books and Gallery.

The reading is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities Grant: Creating Humanities Communities along the Hemingway Highway, a multi-year initiative that explores Hemingway’s continuing relevance, both in contemporary literature and as an icon. Sheridan College partners in this NEH Grant include the Wyoming Humanities Council, Wyoming Institute for Humanities Research and Ucross Foundation.

Among the many accolades bestowed upon Yaa Gyasi, she was chosen by Ta-Nehisi Coates as one of the National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35,” honoring young writers “whose work promises to leave a lasting impression on the literary landscape.” Homegoing was also the winner of the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Prize. The New York Times Book Review hailed Homegoing as “magical…hypnotic,” and called Gyasi “a stirringly gifted writer.” Paste magazine said of the novel, “Carrying on in the tradition of her foremothers—like Toni Morrison, Edwidge Danticat, Assia Djebar and Bessie Head—Gyasi has created a marvelous work of fiction that both embraces and re-writes history.”
Upcoming NEH Hemingway Highway events include a reading and talk at Sheridan College by novelist, poet and Iraq war veteran, Kevin Powers, on Sunday, April 15. Powers is the author of the PEN/Hemingway Award-winning novel The Yellow Birds. Other distinguished 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.

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