Monday, April 10, 2017

Iowa Writers' Workshop graduate Yaa Gyasi has had her work recognized in a quick succession of major literary awards, in celebration of her debut novel, Homegoing, published by Knopf in 2016.

In a ceremony on March 16, she received the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Award, which recognizes "an outstanding first book in any genre." Past winners include Kirstin Valdez-Quade, Phil Klay, and inaugural recipient Anthony Marra. 

Yaa Gyasi will be honored later this month as a finalist for the 2017 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction from PEN America, an award that "honors an exceptionally talented fiction writer whose debut work—a novel or collection of short stories—represents distinguished literary achievement and suggests great promise."

Yaa Gyasi has also just been awarded the 2017 PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Fiction, and will be honored in a ceremony with PEN/New England  in early April. Past winners of the PEN/Hemingway Award include Marilynne Robinson, George Saunders, Jhumpa Lahiri, Junot Diaz, Teju Cole, and Yiyun Li.