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January 21, 2018

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Library News Release

Release Date: 12/26/2017

20th Anniversary of Seattle Reads to Feature ‘Homegoing' by Yaa Gyasi

headshot of Yaa Gyasi

In 1998, The Seattle Public Library launched a program to get Seattleites reading and discussing the same book. Seattle Reads is now an annual event and has been emulated in cities, states and countries around the world.


In the 20th year of the series, the Library will feature "Homegoing" by Yaa Gyasi. Gyasi will visit Seattle in May 2018. Details and a schedule of events will be announced soon.


"Homegoing" drew us in with its stunning writing, engaging characters, and the historic sweep of the novel. Gyasi brings to life the lasting impact of slavery on generations of American individuals and families.


The novel has won the PEN/Hemingway Award and the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Award. It is also a New York Times and a Washington Post Notable Book. It was named one of the best books of 2016 by, NPR, Time, Entertainment Weekly and Esquire.



 "Homegoing" follows the parallel paths of two sisters, born in Ghana in the 18th century, each unaware of the other. One marries an Englishman and leads a life of comfort. The other is captured in a raid on her village and enslaved.


We meet their descendants through eight generations and two continents: from the Gold Coast to the plantations of Mississippi, from the American Civil War to Jazz Age Harlem. This extraordinary novel illuminates slavery's troubled legacy-both for those who were taken and those who stayed-and shows how the memory of captivity has been inscribed on the soul of our nation.



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. She lives in New York City.



  • Individual copies of "Homegoing" will be available at all Library locations for informal borrowing by any person or book group. Details to be announced soon.
  • Book group kits of "Homegoing" will be available to reserve in mid-February. Book groups already registered with the Library may reserve their kits then.


"Seattle Reads" deepens readers' appreciation of and engagement in literature, creates community around reading, and promotes conversation between readers and writers, friends and family. It is made possible by The Seattle Public Library Foundation and The Wallace Foundation, with support from media sponsors KUOW 94.9 Public Radio and The Seattle Times.


For more information, visit, call the Library at 206-386-4636 or Ask A Librarian.

For more information contact:


Linda Johns, Coordinator for Washington Center for the Book

Andra Addison, communications director

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