Penn State Altoona announces ‘Transcendent Kingdom’ as 2023-24 Common Read

Book Cover: Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

Yaa Gyasi’s novel “Transcendent Kingdom” will be the Common Read for the 2023-24 academic year.

Credit: Provided

ALTOONA, Pa. — Yaa Gyasi’s novel “Transcendent Kingdom” will be Penn State Altoona's Common Read for the 2023-24 academic year.

“Transcendent Kingdom” is a moving portrait of a family of Ghanaian immigrants that addresses depression, opioid addiction, racism, and the intersections of science and religion.

The novel follows Gifty, a neurobiology graduate student. Her brother died of a heroin overdose after an ankle injury left him hooked on OxyContin, and her suicidal mother is living in her bed. Gifty is determined to discover the scientific basis for the suffering she sees all around her. But even as she turns to the hard sciences to unlock the mystery of her family's loss, she finds herself hungering for her childhood faith and grappling with the evangelical church in which she was raised.

A novel about faith, science, religion and love, its contemporary themes will resonate in the campus community and inspire important discussions.

Gyasi was born in Ghana and raised in Huntsville, Alabama. A graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, she is the winner of the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Prize, the PEN/Hemingway Award for Best First Novel, and was a finalist for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize for Fiction and the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize. Her first novel, “Homegoing,” was one of the most celebrated debuts of 2016 and was a winner at the 2017 Audie Awards.

Common Read is sponsored by Penn State Altoona’s Division of Arts and Humanities. More information and a listing of events will be posted on the Common Read website as information becomes available.