This Year’s Title


This October, Roanoke Valley Reads will promote the reading of the novel Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist by Sunil Yapa. Set during one day of the 1999 World Trade Organization (WTO) protests, the story weaves through multiple perspectives exploring the question of what we stand up for, what we defend, and how we do it.

The book has been called fast-paced, enthralling, compassionate, and visceral.  In a period of protests and civic action, the book is sure to start conversation.

A finalist for the 2017 PEN/Faulkner award, Sunil Yapa’s debut novel Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fistwas a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Pick, an Indies Next Pick, and was named one of the best books of 2016 by Amazon, Time Magazine, The Washington Post, and others. The novel was described as “fast-paced and unflinching” by The New Yorker, “a genuine tour-de-force” by The Seattle Times, and “generation-defining” by The Toronto Star.

Mr. Yapa will visit the region on October 4-6 in partnership with Hollins University’s Jackson Center for Creative Writing and Cityworks (X)po. We’re working with interested partners to set up events throughout October around themes such as

  • empathy
  • the citizen’s voice in democracy, and
  • effecting change in your community.

Consider connecting a conversation of your group to the read.
Download a discussion guide for your book club.
Read the August 4 Roanoke Times article.