WorldCanvass - The Ghanaian-American Experience in Literature and Art: A Conversation with Yaa Gyasi and D.K. Nnuro

February 24 | 7:00 p.m.

Renowned author Yaa Gyasi, whose novel Homegoing won the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Award for best first book and the Pen/Hemingway Award among others, was our guest for “The Ghanaian-American Experience in Literature and Art” on the first WorldCanvass of 2021. Joining her was fellow author and graduate of the UI Writers’ Workshop D.K. Nnuro and Associate Provost and Dean of International Programs Russ Ganim. Nnuro engaged with Gyasi writer-to-writer in a special interview segment introduced by Ganim.

Yaa Gyasi

Yaa Gyasi was born in Ghana and raised in Huntsville, Alabama. She holds a BA in English from Stanford University and an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she held a Dean’s Graduate Research Fellowship. Her widely acclaimed Homegoing was followed by a second novel, Transcendent Kingdom. Ta-Nehisi Coates said of her writing: “I think I needed to read a book like this to remember what is possible. I think I needed to remember what happens when you pair a gifted literary mind to an epic task. Homegoing is an inspiration.”

D.K. Nnuro

D.K. Nnuro is a Ghanaian American fiction writer based in Iowa City. He is associate writer and collections/exhibitions associate at the University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art. Nnuro is also the co-founder of The Reclamation Project, an initiative that, through the literature of the African Diaspora, reconnects, reconstructs, and heals the distance and divide created by the Middle Passage between Black people on either side of the Atlantic. His debut novel, What Napoleon Could Not Do, is forthcoming from Riverhead/Penguin Random House.


Program Details

The Ghanaian-American Experience in Literature and Art

Introduction: UI engagement with Africa

Russell Ganim—associate provost and dean, International Programs, University of Iowa

The writer’s perspective

Conversation between Yaa Gyasi and D.K. Nnuro


Following the live event, the video recording of WorldCanvass will be available here and on YouTube.  In addition, audio podcasts of all WorldCanvass programs can be found on iTunes and the Public Radio Exchange (PRX). WorldCanvass is produced by University of Iowa International Programs.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Amy Green in advance at or 319-335-1433.