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Episode 48 - Yaa Gyasi

Photo Credit: Peter Hurley/Vilcek Foundation

Yaa Gyasi burst onto the literary scene in 2016 when her debut novel, Homegoing, was published. It went on to receive several honors, including the American Book Award.

Her second book, Transcendent Kingdom, was published in September and is racking up positive reviews.

Yaa's new book drew me in right away. It tells the story of Gifty, a Phd candidate at Stanford University Medical School. She's a neuroscientist who's studying addiction, or reward-seeking behavior, to try to determine if it's something science can control. Her work is incredibly close to her heart. Her brother, Nana, died of a heroin overdose. Gifty is also trying to help her mother who suffers from debilitating depression and reconciling her strict religious upbringing with her work as a scientist. She was born in the U.S., but her family came from Ghana and settled in Huntsville, Alabama.

I recently caught up with Yaa by phone ahead of her appearance at the first all-virtual Miami Book Fair in November.

Interview Highlights:

Yaa reveals...

- why she wanted to explore religious faith and spirituality

- the classic novel she's been assigned several times but cannot get through

- why she expected questions about possible autobiographical ties between her and her protagonist

Click here to listen to the episode. You can also help Yaa and ReadMore by purchasing the book here.

This week instead of giving away one free copy of the featured novel we're giving away three! One copy will go to the first person to reach out to us on Twitter to tell us the writer Yaa would most like to quarantine with. Another will go to the first listener to go to our Facebook page and tell us the name of the short story collection that Yaa says she likes to read over and over again. The third book will go to the first person to tell us the debut novel that Yaa says she recently finished. You can get that last answer to us via Twitter, Facebook, or passenger pigeon. Whatever works, right?

If you have a won a ReadMore giveaway in the last 90 days, you are ineligible for this giveaway. Or, if you and I ever worked on the U-desk together at the DTH, you're probably ineligible. ReadMore does not have a friends and family plan! But we'll always have those special memories of late nights at the Union.


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