History as Structure

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In a Q & A with debut novelist Yaa Gyasi on the ZYZZYVA blog, Ismail Muhammad asks Gyasi to expound on narrative structure and the far-reaching effects of the international slave trade:

I realized that I was interested in tracking how slavery, colonialism, and institutionalized racism work over a very long period of time—not just the beginning and end, but the movement from the beginning to the end. Then I thought that I might as well try a structure that allowed me to stop along as many historical moments as possible.

And, for more on Homegoing, check out The Rumpus’s interview with Gyasi here.


Kelly Lynn Thomas reads, writes, and sometimes sews in Pittsburgh, PA. Her creative work has appeared in Sou’wester, Thin Air Magazine, Heavy Feather Review, metazen, and others, and she received her MFA in Creative Writing from Chatham University. She is hopelessly obsessed with Star Wars and can always be found with a large mug of tea. She also runs the very small Wild Age Press. Read more at kellylynnthomas.com. More from this author →