Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing Selected as the 2017 Community Read

Posted By:  Chantal Strobel
Date Posted:  12/2/2016

HomegoingDeschutes Public Library Foundation reveals the next “A Novel Idea” selection at annual public celebration in Bend

Deschutes Public Library is pleased to announce Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi as the 2017 “A Novel Idea…Read Together” selection. Homegoing’s selection as the fourteenth annual community read was announced at a public unveiling on December 2 at the Downtown Bend Library.

“A Novel Idea” is the largest community read program in the state of Oregon. Last year thousands of residents read, discussed and attended free cultural and author events at the Library’s six branches and at partnering businesses. With this year’s selection of Homegoing, the Library is anticipating the highly successful program’s continued growth.

Homegoing tells the story of Effia and Esi, half-sisters born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle. Unbeknownst to Effia, her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath her in the castle’s dungeons, sold with thousands of others into the Gold Coast’s booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery. One thread of Homegoing follows Effia’s descendants through centuries of warfare in Ghana, as the Fante and Asante nations wrestle with the slave trade and British colonization. The other thread follows Esi and her children into America. From the plantations of the South to the Civil War and the Great Migration, from the coal mines of Pratt City, Alabama, to the jazz clubs and dope houses of twentieth-century Harlem, right up through the present day, Homegoing makes history visceral and explores how the memory of captivity came to be inscribed in the soul of a nation.

“Once again the ‘A Novel Idea’ selection will take us to new places and times,” says Community Relations Manager Chantal Strobel. “Books selected in the past have taken readers from Afghanistan to the Manhattan, and Papua New Guinea to Japan, as well as to time periods that span centuries. Homegoing

promises to not only take readers to new places, but to bring new ideas and topics into the conversation,” she continued.

Strobel says the program provides Deschutes County residents with a common forum in which they can discuss ideas, discover culture, create art and explore similarities and differences in a safe and neutral environment.

“A Novel Idea” kicks off on Saturday, April 8, 2017 at the Downtown Bend Library. That event will be followed by four weeks of programs that explore and expound upon the themes and ideas found Homegoing. The programming culminates with a free presentation by author Yaa Gyasi on Sunday, May 7, at 4:00 p.m. at Bend High School. A book signing will follow Gyasi’s presentation. Free tickets are required for Gyasi’s talk; they will be made available to the public on April 15 online and in all Deschutes Public Libraries.

Reader’s guides will be available at each of the public libraries in Deschutes County beginning April 1. Free book club kits are available upon request—and while supplies last—by calling 541-312-1032.

About the Book: Homegoing
The New York Times bestselling novel Homegoing begins with the story of two half-sisters, separated by forces beyond their control: one sold into slavery, the other married to a British slaver. Homegoing traces the generations of family who follow, as their destinies lead them through two continents and three hundred years of history, each life indelibly drawn, as the legacy of slavery is fully revealed in light of the present day.

About the Author: Yaa Gyasi
Yaa Gyasi was born in Ghana and raised in Huntsville, Alabama. She holds a BA in English from Stanford University and an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she held a Dean’s Graduate Research Fellowship. Her short stories have appeared in African American Review and Callaloo. Homegoing is her debut novel.

For more information about A Novel Idea, please contact Liz Goodrich at (541) 312-1032 or Check out the “A Novel Idea” website at for event listings as they are scheduled and for author information.

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