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'Americanah' Named Winner of City's One Book, One New York Initiative

By Darinelle Merced-Calderon | March 16, 2017 9:19am | Updated on March 16, 2017 3:00pm
 The city let New Yorkers pick which novel would be the first in its
The city let New Yorkers pick which novel would be the first in its "One Book, One New York" program.
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Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment

Throughout February, New Yorkers cast their ballots for the book they wanted millions of residents to read simultaneously. Fifty thousand votes later, the people have spoken. 

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Americanah is the winner of a contest launched by the citywide community reading program One Book, One New York" organizers announced Thursday morning.  

The contest nominated five award-winning books — all with connections to the New York area — and invited New Yorkers to pick their favorite online or at digital kiosks on subway platforms. Stars like Bebe Neuwirth ("Madame Secretary") and William H. Macy ("Shameless") made pitches for their favorite novel in campaign videos like the one below.  

Americanah, Neuwirth's victorious choice, centers around two young Nigerian lovers who depart for different cities in the Western world and later reunite in a democratic Nigeria. Ifemelu, the protagonist, heads for America, where her life as an immigrant changes her perspective on race and identity. 

Published in 2013, Adichie's novel won a National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction and was named one of The New York Times' "Ten Best Books of the Year."

New Yorkers who want to get their hands on a copy can access the full audio-book version for 90 days through a city partnership with the digital reading subscription company Scribd, or borrow one of the thousands of additional copies donated by publishers and other organizations to New York City’s public library systems.

In the upcoming months, the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) will host events like film screenings and panel discussions to drum up excitement about the book and get New Yorkers talking about it.

You can tweet your thoughts about Americanah on social media using the hashtag #OneBookNY — or you could actually turn to the person sitting on the train, holding the same book, next to you.

No pressure.