Transcendent Kingdom: Yaa Gyasi with Doreen St. Félix


Nov. 24 2020, Published 7:00 p.m. ET

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Four years after publishing her bestselling debut novel, HomegoingYaa Gyasi returns with Transcendent Kingdom,  a heartbreaking, hope-filled meditation on love and grief, faith and science, addiction and abandonment, immigration and isolation. Gifty is pursuing a doctorate at Stanford, looking for the biological and neurological drivers of addiction and depression. Her brother died years earlier of a heroin overdose after becoming dependent on OxyContin, and her mother lays silently in Gifty's bed, refusing food. While trying to unlock the scientific basis for the suffering that has shaped her family and her own identity, Gifty is haunted, by the spectres of her dead brother, depressed mother, and absent father, by the isolation she experienced as a Ghanian immigrant in Alabama, and by the contradictions of the evangelical church in which she was raised and where her worldview was shaped.

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Yaa Gyasi discusses Transcendent Kingdom with The New Yorker staff writer Doreen St. Félix.

Yaa Gyasi was born in Ghana and raised in Huntsville, Alabama. She holds a BA in English from Stanford University and an MA from Iowa Writers' Workshop, where she held a Dean's Graduate Research Fellowship. She lives in Brooklyn.

Doreen St. Félix has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 2017. Previously, she was a culture writer at MTV News. Her writing has appeared in the Times MagazineNew YorkVogueThe Fader, and Pitchfork. In 2016, St. Félix was named one of Forbes's 30 under 30 in Media. In 2017, she was a finalist for a National Magazine Award for Columns and Commentary, and, in 2019, she won in the same category.


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