LIVE from NYPL, Online: Transcendent Kingdom: Yaa Gyasi with Doreen St. Félix

Date and Time
November 24, 2020
Event Details

The bestselling author affirms the possibility of turning loss and devastation into inspiration and hope in her new novel. 

Four years after publishing her bestselling debut novel, Homegoing, Yaa 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. 

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

LIVE from NYPL is made possible by the support of Library patrons and friends, as well as by the continuing generosity of Celeste Bartos, Mahnaz Ispahani Bartos and Adam Bartos, and the Margaret and Herman Sokol Public Education Endowment Fund.

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 Magazine, New York, Vogue, The 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.

If you have a NYPL library card—or live in New York state and want to apply for one now—you can borrow Transcendent Kingdom for free with our e-reader app SimplyE, available for iOS and Android devices. The title is available in accessible formats for community members who do not use standard print. Find out more at: You can also request this book, and more, for pickup at one of our Grab & Go locations

Readers everywhere who wish to purchase copies of Transcendent Kingdom can do so at The New York Public Library Shop. Proceeds benefit the New York Public Library. Plus, receive a 125th Anniversary tote bag with your purchase!

Yaa Gyasi suggests these titles for further reading:
Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments by Saidiya Hartman
Lost in the City by Edward P. Jones
Life on Mars by Tracy K. Smith

This program will be streamed live on Zoom and simulcast to YouTube. You must register with your email address in order to receive the link to participate. Please check your email shortly before the discussion to receive the link. Captions for this event will be provided. If you miss registration, join us on YouTube to watch at 8 PM EDT on Tuesday, November 24th. 


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