Yaa Gyasi, the daughter of a professor and nurse, moved to Huntsville, Alabama from Ghana with her family when she was 2 years old. She began to write Homegoing after a trip to her native Ghana in 2009. What inspired her to write the novel was a tour of Cape Coast Castle on the west coast of the country.
In a Time article she says, “That juxtaposition of the majesty upstairs with the awfulness and despair downstairs really struck me. I was really struck also that there were women upstairs who maybe didn’t understand or realize what was going on underneath them” (Begley). This observation helped Gyasi write the novel about two half-sisters who are separated and lead different lives throughout history, one side in America, one side in Ghana.
The 26 year old Gyasi holds a BA in English from Stanford University and an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She currently lives in New York City.
Website: Penguin Random House Gyasi page
Biography: Wikipedia Gyasi page
Gyasi on the Daily Show with Trevor Noah: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tUJcL8mlLcs
Guardian interview with Gyasi: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/jan/08/yaa-gyasi-slavery-is-on-peoples-minds-it-affects-us-still-interview-homegoing-observer-new-review
Talks at Google – Yaa Gyasi: ‘Homegoing: A Novel’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BsTMmOVhYWc
Nancy Khoutsavanh ’18