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Go Big Read

Each year Madison Public Library partners with UW-Madison to extend the perennially popular Go Big Read program into the broader community.

The 2021-2022 Go Big Read selection is the novel Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi, which uses a fictional story to explore the very real issues of race, immigration, science, faith and family. Read more about the selection of this title in the UW-Madison press release.

About the book

Gifty is a PhD candidate in neuroscience studying reward-seeking behavior in mice and the neural circuits of depression and addiction. Her brother, Nana, was a gifted high school athlete who died of a heroin overdose after an ankle injury left him hooked on OxyContin. 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 church in which she was raised. It’s a moving portrait of a family of Ghanaian immigrants in a novel about faith, science, religion, love.


Book Availibility

Madison Public Library is pleased to announce that book club kits for the UW-Madison Go Big Read title will available for checkout beginning Wednesday, September 1, 2021. Please call 608-266-6300 to reserve a kit.

Transcendent Kingdom is also available for checkout in print, large print, book on CD, and Playaway formats, as well as downloadable eBook and audiobook formats via Overdrive

Download the Reading Guide & Discussion Questions.


Book Discussions

Sequoya Library, Thursday, September 23, 2021, 1pm
Sequoya Library, Thursday, September 23, 2021, 7pm
Pinney Library, Wednesday, September 29, 2021, 2:30pm
Goodman South Madison Library, Saturday, October 16, 2021, 1:30pm
Alicia Ashman Library, Thursday, November 4, 2021, 1pm
Meadowridge Library, Wednesday, November 17, 2021, 6pm
Hawthorne Library, Thursday, December 2, 2021, 6pm
Lakeview Library, Thursday, January 6, 2022, 6:30pm
Central Library, Wednesday, January 19, 2022, 7pm *NOW ONLINE! Click here to register.

Online Discussion: Tuesday, October 19, 2021, 7pm 

Keynote Event with Yaa Gyasi

November 3, 2021, 7:00-8:30pm
Memorial Union Theater
No Tickets Required

About the Author

author photo

Yaa Gyasi is the author of the highly acclaimed debut novel Homegoing and a recipient of the National Book Foundation's 2016 "5 Under 35" Award. 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 second novel, Transcendent Kingdom, was published in September 2020. She lives in New York City.

Wisconsin Book Festival

Watch the replay of the Wisconsin Book Festival event from September 2020 featuring Yaa Gyasi


This program was made possible in part by generous support from: