Celebrate 20 years of Seattle Reads with featured author Yaa Gyasi! Gyasi will visit Seattle May 16-17 to discuss "Homegoing," this year's Seattle Reads selection. At the Central Library event, Gyasi will be in conversation with local arts leader Vivian Phillips from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, May 17 at 1000 Fourth Ave., Level 1, Microsoft Auditorium, 206-386-4636.

All Library programs are free and open to the public. Times and locations are listed below. For more information on these events, visit the Library's website at www.spl.org/seattlereads or call 206-386-4636.

Schedule of Events


Meet Yaa Gyasi

Gyasi will discuss "Homegoing" at three locations and have conversations with a representative from the Seattle arts and literature community. No tickets are required. Books will be available for purchase and signing at all events.



African-American Writers Alliance Showcase

Join us for a showcase of local voices, celebrating the poetry and prose of the African-American Writers Alliance.

Sense of Place: Through the Lens of Al Smith

Legendary photographer Al Smith is being celebrated in an exhibition at the Museum of History & Industry, "Seattle on the Spot: The Photographs of Al Smith." In this library series, we’ll see a selection from more than 4,000 images not included in the museum exhibit.  Presenters will lead an open discussion and share stories around the history of how the black community and individuals contributed to the vitality of Seattle and the Northwest. These events are supported by The Seattle Public Library Foundation, author series sponsor Gary Kunis, media sponsor The Seattle Times and presented in partnership with Black Heritage Society of Washington.


Who Owned Solomon? A Case Study of 19th Century African American Research

Join Dr. Janice Lovelace as she demonstrates techniques to identify slave-owners through the use of land, probate and court records. Registration is not required.

Genealogy: Getting Started and Open Lab

Just getting started on your genealogy? Rusty on your research skills? This class will provide research tips, best practices and resources for basic genealogy research. Online registration is required and closes May 18.

Finding Your Swedish Parish of Birth

Professional genealogist Jill Morelli will present an introductory class on digging into your Swedish heritage. Registration is not required.

Genealogy: Databases-Ancestry Library Edition

Learn how to search for your ancestors using the Library's electronic databases and Internet resources. Online registration is required and closes June 1.

Breaking Through the Wall of Slavery: An Introduction to African American Genealogy

Dr. Janice Lovelace will present techniques to identify emancipated slaves and their prior slave-owners through the use of land, probate, census and court records. Registration is required, call 206-684-4704 to sign up.


About the Book

"Homegoing" follows the parallel paths of two sisters, born in Ghana in the eighteenth century, each unaware of the other. One marries an Englishman and leads a life of comfort. The other is captured in a raid on her village, imprisoned, and enslaved.

We meet their descendants through eight generations and two continents: from the Gold Coast to the plantations of Mississippi, from the American Civil War to Jazz Age Harlem. This extraordinary novel illuminates slavery’s troubled legacy both for those who were taken and those who stayed—and shows how the memory of captivity has been inscribed on the soul of our nation.

The novel has won the PEN/Hemingway Award and the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Award. It is also a New York Times and a Washington Post Notable Book. It was named one of the best books of 2016 by Oprah.com, NPR, Time, Entertainment Weekly and Esquire.

About the Author

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. She lives in New York City.


In 1998, The Seattle Public Library launched a program to get Seattleites reading and discussing the same book. "Seattle Reads" is now an annual event and has been emulated in cities, states and countries around the world.

Sponsors and Partners

Seattle Reads is presented in partnership with Northwest African American Museum, Langston, Black Heritage Society of Washington and the African-American Writers' Alliance. The program is made possible by The Seattle Public Library Foundation and The Wallace Foundation, with support from media sponsors The Seattle Times and KUOW 94.9 Public Radio, and Vintage Books.