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Class of 2021 First-Year Read

The selection for the fall 2017 First-Year Read is Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. Using stories about members of seven generations from the 18th century to the present, Gyasi explores the history and legacy of colonialism and slavery in Africa and the United States. Homegoing won the 2016 National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Prize for the best debut book and the 2017 PEN/Hemingway Award for Best First Novel.

First-Year Student Involvement

After downloading the book onto their Hood iPads to read over the summer, incoming first-year students meet in small groups during fall orientation to discuss the themes, issues and conflicts that are raised by Homegoing. Specially trained Hood faculty, staff, and students co-facilitate these discussions. These meetings are followed by a session in which students write an essay about the book as their first college assignment, which will be assessed by their First-Year Seminar professors.

All Hood students are invited to attend First-Year Read special activities scheduled during the fall semester and to weigh in with their opinions about the book on Facebook. The program culminates with Gyasi’s visit to our campus on Oct. 25, when first-year students will have a special opportunity to meet with the author during the day. Later that evening at 6 p.m., Gyasi will give a public lecture followed by a book signing in Hodson Auditorium, Rosenstock Hall. We encourage parents to attend these evening events!

Learn how to download onto the iPad.