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Jesmyn Ward    

Author │ Novelist │ Memoirist

Jesmyn Ward is a fiction writer exploring the bonds of community and familial love among poor African Americans in the rural South. She is the author of three novels and a memoir, all set in the Gulf Coast region of her native Mississippi and centered on marginalized black communities. In prose that is simultaneously luminous and achingly honest, Ward captures moments of beauty, tenderness, and resilience against a bleak landscape of crushing poverty, racism, addiction, and incarceration.

The novel Salvage the Bones (2011) follows the four siblings of the Batiste family as they protect and nurture each other in the days leading up to and just after Hurricane Katrina.

Sing, Unburied, Sing (2017), Ward's most recent novel, is wider in its scope, moving back and forth in time and including the voices of ghosts and the people they haunt. Her additional publications include the novel Where the Line Bleeds (2008), a memoir, Men We Reaped (2013), and The Fire This Time (co-editor, 2016).

In her novels and nonfiction accounts of her own experiences with loss and injustice, Ward is offering a raw and powerful portrayal of the circumscribed possibilities and lost potential faced by many African Americans after generations of racial and economic inequality.

Currently an associate professor in the Department of English at Tulane University, Ward was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University from 2008 to 2010, the Grisham-Writer-in-Residence at the University of Mississippi from 2010 to 2011, and an assistant professor of creative writing at the University of South Alabama from 2011 to 2014.

Ward received a B.A. (1999) and M.A. (2000) from Stanford University and an M.F.A. (2005) from the University of Michigan.

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