The common reading program is designed to foster intellectual engagement and participation for all members of the NDMU community through a shared experience.

What is Common Read?

All students, faculty, and staff read the selected literary work and participate in various opportunities throughout the academic year to engage in scholarly inquiry, broaden and deepen their understanding and responsiveness to social problems, promote dialogue and interdisciplinary exchanges, and seek opportunities to put the new learning into action.

Faculty members integrate the common read into each course for the academic year inviting the student to explore the same piece of work through multiple lenses, an approach consistent with the liberal arts tradition.

2021-22 Selection: Homegoing

Homegoing Book Cover

Homegoing tells the story of two half-sisters born into different villages in Ghana in the eighteenth century. One of Oprah’s Best Books of the Year and a PEN/Hemingway award winner, Homegoing follows the parallel paths of these sisters and their descendants through eight generations: from the Gold Coast to the plantations of Mississippi, from the American Civil War to Jazz Age Harlem.

Author Presentation

Yaa Gyasi will conduct a virtual visit with NDMU on October 26, 2021. Join us for a public presentation at 7:00 p.m. via Zoom.

About the Author

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.

Book Selection

The entire campus community is encouraged to submit nominations for the common reading each September. An interdisciplinary group consisting of faculty members, staff, and students review the nominations and feedback and select the piece of work based on the following criteria:

  • Consistent with the mission of the University
  • Raises issues related to gender and global perspectives
  • The topic is broad enough for the widest range of disciplines to apply their specific approaches to the exploration of the piece of work and to provide an infrastructure for interdisciplinary inquiry and discussion
  • Accessible for first year students in terms of interest and level of academic difficulty
  • Lends itself to related activities such as service experiences, artistic projects, residence hall activities, etc.
  • A reasonable chance that the author would be able to visit campus