After a month and nearly 50,000 votes cast in its favor, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah has been voted the winning novel of the One Book, One New York program. The acclaimed title will be read and discussed throughout the five boroughs of New York City over the next several months.
Julie Menin, commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME), made the announcement Thursday morning.
“It has been nothing short of electrifying to see all of the excitement building around this campaign,” Menin said. “We look forward to an incredible series of events and discussions throughout the City in the months to come.”
The selection of Americanah will spur a wide variety of activities in New York; discussions and special events will be based on the novel’s themes of immigration, feminism and race. Beginning in March Americanah’s publisher, Penguin Random House, will donate 1,000 copies of the book to New York City’s three public library systems. The effort is being done to to ensure New Yorkers all over city have access to the book.
Robin Desser, v-p of editorial director of Knopf (the PRH imprint that published Americanah), said the novel is a "dazzling" work that, in telling the tale of a young Nigerian immigrant America, "allows us to see our country with fresh eyes." Desser continue: "Americana is destined to resonate among New Yorkers who share a common belief: that wherever we may come from, all our stories matter.”
Scribd, the digital reading subscription service, will provide free access to the audiobook version of Americanah for 90 days, through June 2017. People can sign up for access to the free audiobook via the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment website.
One Book, One New York and MOME will feature a series of free events beginning in April that will include panels at the Schomburg Library in Harlem; a discussion with novelist Min Jin Lee and author Simon Westchester at the New York Public Library; film screenings at BAM in Brooklyn; and a party at the offices of the Paris Review. A full list and schedule of events are available on MOME's website.
There will also be reading guides to the novel, and a curriculum guide for New York City high schools. The Center for the Professional Education of Teachers at Columbia University Teachers College will offer a series of workshops built around the themes of the book. Look for more info at the New York City government website.
Organized by the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment in partnership with BuzzFeed, One Book, One New York is a program through which a single book is selected to be read throughout an entire city. Beginning in February, New York City residents were asked to vote on one of five novels to read: Americanah, Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz, The Sellout by Paul Beatty, and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith.
Americanah, which won the 2014 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, follows two young Nigerians--Ifemelu and Obinze--who fall in love, but are separated as they leave their country. They eventually return to Nigeria and to each other: Ifemelu, after living in the U.S. and learning what it means to be black in America, and Obinze, after living an undocumented life in London.
Adichie said she was thrilled that Americanah won. “I hope you enjoy Americanah–which I like to think of as a book about love, immigration, race, hair, and so much more."