Yaa Gyasi: Transcendent Kingdom
Wednesday, October 21, 2020, 5 - 6pm
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Novelist Yaa Gyasi will be in conversation with Nada Ayad, Associate Dean of HSS, as part of a community-wide online lecture series around the theme of intersectional justice. The event is open to current Cooper Union students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Registration required.
Yaa Gyasi’s stunning follow-up to her acclaimed national best seller Homegoing is a powerful, raw, intimate, deeply layered novel about a Ghanaian family in Alabama.
Gifty is a sixth-year Ph.D. candidate in neuroscience at the Stanford University School of Medicine studying reward-seeking behavior in mice and the neural circuits of depression and addiction. Her brother, Nana, was a gifted high school athlete who died of a heroin overdose after an ankle injury left him hooked on OxyContin. Her suicidal mother is living in her bed. Gifty is determined to discover the scientific basis for the suffering she sees all around her. But even as she turns to the hard sciences to unlock the mystery of her family’s loss, she finds herself hungering for her childhood faith and grappling with the evangelical church in which she was raised, whose promise of salvation remains as tantalizing as it is elusive. Transcendent Kingdom is a deeply moving portrait of a family of Ghanaian immigrants ravaged by depression and addiction and grief–a novel about faith, science, religion, love. Exquisitely written, emotionally searing, this is an exceptionally powerful follow-up to Gyasi’s phenomenal debut. It was the Today Show “Read with Jenna” book club pick for September.
Yaa Gyasi was born in Ghana and raised in Huntsville, Alabama. She holds a B.A. in English from Stanford University and an M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she held a Dean’s Graduate Research Fellowship. She is the winner of the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Prize and the PEN/Hemingway Award for Best First Novel. She lives in Brooklyn.
This series is co-organized by the Office of Student Affairs and Dean Ayad as a continuation of a reading and discussion series for first-year students that was held as part of the Fall 2020 new student orientation. In the spirit of The Cooper Union mission, the Black Student Union and the Cooper Climate Coalition, along with several other Cooper students and faculty, were deeply involved in the articulation of the program as well as in contributing to the reading list and suggesting speakers.