‘Americanah’ chosen as 2015 Greenwich Reads Together selection

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has been chosen for Greenwich Reads Together 2015. The title was announced on Wednesday, May 20 at Greenwich Library in a ceremony attended by more than 50 community members. The book was suggested by Greenwich High School English teacher Kim Steinhorn.

Two thematically related companion books were announced for younger readers: Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate for Middle School readers and My Name is Sangoel by Karen Lynn Williams and Khadra Mohammed for Elementary School readers.

Greenwich Reads Together (GRT) is a community-wide reading experience which engages all of Greenwich in exploring a single book, culminating in a month-long series of special events and programs in the fall. This year’s programming is generously underwritten by The Friends of Greenwich Library.

Americanah is a powerful, tender story of race and identity, unfolding across three continents. Ifemelu and Obinze are young and in love when they depart military-ruled Nigeria for the West. Self-assured Ifemelu heads for America, where despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time. Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hoped to join her, but with post-9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, they reunite in a newly democratic Nigeria, and reignite their passion—for each other and for their homeland.

The New York Times writes, “Americanah examines blackness in America, Nigeria and Britain, but it’s also a steady-handed dissection of the universal human experience…. Americanah is … a novel that holds the discomfiting realities of our times fearlessly before us. It never feels false.”

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie grew up in Nigeria. She is the author of the novels Purple Hibiscus, which won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, and Half of a Yellow Sun, which won the Orange Prize and was a National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist, a New York Times Notable Book, and a People and Black Issues Book Review Best Book of the Year; and the story collection The Thing Around Your Neck. Americanah has received numerous accolades, including winning the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction and The Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize for Fiction; and being named one of The New York Times Ten Best Books of the Year.

More than 60 GRT suggestions were submitted by the community to the selection committee. In order to be selected, a book must be of high literary quality, reflective of universal issues and capable of generating thought-provoking discussions. It should also lend itself to engaging public programs and appeal to a diverse population. In addition, the book should be currently in print and available in large quantities and multiple formats.

The Selection Committee was led by Byram Shubert Library branch manager Miguel Garcia-Colon and included Alice Sherwood, former Children’s Librarian; Amy Fleishman, Community Volunteer; Carolyn Surgent, Friends of Greenwich Library; Eric McCarthy, Resources Management Manager; Jeannie Gillespie, Diane’s Books; Joan Eaton, Library Technical Assistant; Joanne Gaither, Librarian; Karen Harris, Assistant Manager of Lending Services; Renee Ketcham, Alliance Francaise and the Byram Shubert Library International Book Club; Robin Terzi, Library Technical Assistant; and Roy Brayton, Part-Time Librarian.

Previous Greenwich Reads Together selections include The Book Thief (2011), Zeitoun (2012), When the Emperor Was Divine (2013) and The Boys in the Boat (2014).

“Reading one book together helps to foster communication and spark ideas,” said Barbara Ormerod-Glynn, Greenwich Library Director. “This year’s Greenwich Reads Together will once again bring together thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds to compare views and interpretations; share feelings and personal stories; view exhibitions, movies, and performances; attend classes discussions and workshops–all inspired by a common reading experience,” said Ormerod-Glynn.

Greenwich Reads Together will take place in October 2015. Complimentary copies of the 2015 selection were distributed at the announcement ceremony. Copies are available to borrow at Greenwich Library and may also be purchased at local bookstores including Diane’s Books.

Opportunities are available for community organizations and volunteers. Those interested should contact Kate Petrov at Greenwich Library at [email protected]

About Greenwich Reads Together

Greenwich Reads Together is a community-wide reading experience which will engage all of Greenwich in exploring a single book. Several community organizations are leading this initiative including Greenwich Library, Greenwich Arts Council, Greenwich Historical Society, Greenwich Alliance for Education, Greenwich Pen Women, Greenwich Public Schools and Independent Schools and Friends of Greenwich Library. In 2014, almost 20 community organizations and more than 6,500 Greenwich residents participated in events around The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown. Numerous adult, children and teen book discussions were held across Greenwich. For more information, visit www.greenwichreadstogether.org.

 Greenwich Library President of the Board of Trustees Haley Rockwell Elmlinger and First Selectman Peter Tesei reveal Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie as the 2015 Greenwich Reads Together title.

Greenwich Library President of the Board of Trustees Haley Rockwell Elmlinger and First Selectman Peter Tesei reveal Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie as the 2015 Greenwich Reads Together title.

Library Director Barbara Ormerod-Glynn, Greenwich Library President of the Board of Trustees Haley Rockwell Elmlinger, and First Selectman Peter Tesei with Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the 2015 Greenwich Reads Together title.

Library Director Barbara Ormerod-Glynn, Greenwich Library President of the Board of Trustees Haley Rockwell Elmlinger, and First Selectman Peter Tesei with Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the 2015 Greenwich Reads Together title.

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