Acclaimed author Yaa Gyasi delivered the 2021 Kylene and Brad Beers Reading Project Lecture on Tuesday, Nov. 2, in Dixon Hall. First-year Tulane students read Gyasi’s novel Transcendent Kingdom as the Newcomb-Tulane College Reading Project. Every fall first-year students read and discuss a selected book with a faculty member during orientation. The Reading Project lecture gives students the opportunity to hear the author, or an expert in a related field, discuss the book. For this year’s event, Ebony Perro, professor of practice in the Department of English, interviewed Gyasi, who was born in Ghana and raised in Alabama. Perro explored numerous aspects of the novel with the author, such as her motivation for writing, Black women in STEM, identity, American culture, the trauma of mental health problems such as addiction and depression, and religious faith.