Yaa Gyasi has won the 2017 PEN/Hemingway Award for her novel Homecoming.
Judges of the award scheme praised Gyasi’s novel as “towering book––imaginative, artful and insightful, and striking in its scope.”
She will receive a cash prize of US$25,000, and a Ucross Residency Fellowship at the Ucross Foundation,
The PEN/Hemingway Award is awarded annually to a full-length novel or book of short stories by an American author who has not previously published a full-length book of fiction.
The award is named after Ernest Hemingway and funded by the Hemingway family, the Ernest Hemingway Foundation/Society, and PEN New England. Mary Hemingway, a member of PEN, founded the award in 1976 both to honor the memory of her husband and to recognize distinguished first books of fiction.
The award will be presented on Sunday, April 2, 2017 at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum in Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.
Yaa Gyasi was born in Mampong in the Ashanti Region of Ghana.
She is the daughter of Kwaku Gyasi, a professor of French at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, and her mother Sophia, who is a nurse.
Her family relocated to the United States of America in 1991 where her father completed his Ph.D at Ohio State University. They lived in Illinois and Tennessee.
From the age of 10, young Gyasi was raised Huntsville, Alabama. She got hooked on writing after she submitting her first story to a young author’s competition and receiving a letter of achievement for her effort.
She completed her book ‘Homecoming’ in 2015. “The novel is inspiring readers to dig into their own family history. That response from people is really cool.” says Gyasi on her highlight.
Gyasi recently was honoured at the 2016 National Book Critics Circle Award with The John Leonard Prize.