#Okay100Women

YAA GYASI

OkayAfrica's 100 Women celebrates African women who are making waves, shattering ceilings, and uplifting their communities.

Yaa Gyasi, an award-winning writer hailing from Ghana, spent years researching her novel, Homegoing. It was a visit to her native country in 2009 on a Stanford University grant that led Gyasi to rethink her initial story idea.




At the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, she honed in on her thoughts and wrote the critically-acclaimed book—securing a seven-figure advance for the work. A New York Times Best Seller, Homegoing caught the attention of cultural critics Ta-Nehisi Coates and Roxane Gay—who both endorsed it. Since Homegoing’s release in June 2016, NPR named it the Debut Novel of the Year, and it was also one of Oprah’s 10 Favorite Books of 2016, as well as a Time Top 10 Novel of 2016. Recently, Forbes named Gyasi as one of their 30 under 30 honorees and she is a National Book Award 5 under 35 honoree.



Homegoing follows two half-sisters, separated by the slave trade. One is sold into slavery while the other marries a British slaver on the Ghanaian coast. The book traces three generations of family on the African and North American continent over a 300 year period.



Gyasi, 26, was born in Ghana but grew up in Alabama. She studied English at Stanford University as an undergraduate student and is excelling in her field. For writing about a traumatic time period with incredible power, Gyasi is an African writer to watch—as her 2017 Pen America Literary Award nomination shows.



-JO

Interview

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A trip canceled, plans interrupted, projects stalled. It is six months now since Wavy the Creator has had to make a stop at an undisclosed location to go into quarantine and get away from the eye of the pandemic.

The professional recording artist, photographer, writer, fashion artist, designer, and evolving creative has been spending all of this time in a house occupied by other creatives. This situation is ideal. At least for an artist like Wavy who is always in a rapid motion of creating and bringing interesting things to life. The energy around the house is robust enough to tap from and infuse into any of her numerous creative outlets. Sometimes, they also inspire trips into new creative territories. Most recently, for Wavy, are self-taught lessons on a bass guitar.

Wavy's days in this house are not without a pattern, of course. But some of the rituals and personal rules she drew up for herself, like many of us did for internal direction, at the beginning of the pandemic have been rewritten, adjusted, and sometimes ditched altogether. Some days start early and end late. Some find her at her sewing machine fixing up thrift clothes to fit her taste, a skill she picked up to earn extra cash while in college, others find her hard at work in the studio, writing or recording music.

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