Homegoing: A Conversation with Yaa Gyasi | Washtenaw Reads 2018 Author Event

Tuesday February 6, 2018: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Rackham Auditorium, 915 E Washington St

This event is intended for grade 9 - adult

2018 Institute for the Humanities Jill S. Harris Memorial Lecture

The Institute for the Humanities at the University of Michigan will host a conversation with Yaa Gyasi, author of Homegoing (2016), the 2018 selection for Washtenaw Reads.

Homegoing tells the stories of two West African half-sisters and their descendants. One sister, Esi, is captured and brought to the Americas as a slave; the other sister, Effia, stays in Africa and marries a British slaver. Over the course of seven generations, Gyasi illuminates the legacies of slavery and the wide spectrum of colonial African and African-American experiences.

Each of the novel's fourteen chapters centers on the life of a person descended from Effia or Esi. Through these stories, Gyasi narrates their every day lives, as well as their roles in major historical events. The novel begins in the late eighteenth century and ends in the present day, so that by the end we feel the full weight of history behind her characters.

Yaa Gyasi was born in Ghana and came to the United States as a child. She is a graduate of Stanford and received her Masters of Fine Arts from the Iowa Writers Workshop. In 2016, she was chosen for the National Book Foundation's "5 under 35" award. Homegoing, her debut novel, has been nominated for the several awards and won the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award in 2017.

About Jill S. Harris: The Jill S. Harris Memorial Endowment was established in 1985 in memory of Jill Harris, a resident of Chicago and undergraduate student at U-M who passed away due to injuries from an auto accident. Established by Roger and Meredith Harris, Jill’s parents, her grandparents Allan and Norma Harris, and friends, the fund brings a distinguished visitor to campus each year who will appeal to undergraduate students interested in the humanities and the arts.

This event is part of the 2018 Washtenaw Read. The Washtenaw Reads program is a community initiative to promote reading and civic dialogue through the shared experience of reading and discussing a common book. Participating libraries include Ann Arbor, Chelsea, Dexter, Milan, Northfield Township, Saline, and Ypsilanti. For more information about Washtenaw Reads and previous years' reads, go to wread.org.