Wednesday, October 12, 7 p.m.
Presented by the Rock Island and Moline Public Libraries
Hailed by O the Oprah Magazine as "an attentive and precise writer who dazzles with natural and supernatural observations and lyrical details," bestselling author Jesmyn Ward will take part in a virtual conversation hosted by the Rock Island and Moline Public Libraries, her October 12 event treating participants to an audience with the talent lauded by Entertainment Weekly as "one of the most searing and singularly gifted writers working today."
A Mississippi resident, Ward received her MFA from the University of Michigan and is currently a professor of creative writing at Tulane University in New Orleans. She is the author of the novels Where the Line Bleeds and Salvage the Bones, which won the 2011 National Book Award, and Sing, Unburied, Sing, which won the same prize in 2017. She is also the editor of the anthology The Fire This Time and the author of the memoir Men We Reaped, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. From 2008 to 2010, Ward had a Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University, and she was also the John and Renée Grisham Writer in Residence at the University of Mississippi for the 2010-2011 academic year, winning the American Academy of Arts and Letters' Strauss Living Award in 2016. Meanwhile, earlier this year, the U.S. Library of Congress selected Ward as the winner of the Library's Prize for American Fiction, making the author, at age 45, the youngest person to receive the Library’s fiction award for her lifetime of work.
In her virtual October 12 appearance, Ward will discuss her latest book Navigate Your Stars, and describe how her literary vision and personal experiences address urgent questions about racism and social injustice. The author's new work will surely continue the lavish praise Ward has received for her previous works, with Publishers Weekly writing of Sing, Unburied, Sing: “Ward tells the story of three generations of a struggling Mississippi family in this astonishing novel ... Jojo and his little sister, Kayla, live with their grandparents, while Leonie, their mother, drifts in and out of their lives, causing chaos ... Leonie wants to be a better mother, and when Jojo’s and Kayla’s father is released from prison, Leonie takes the kids with her, hoping for a loving reunion, but what she gets instead is a harrowing drive across a muggy landscape haunted by hatred. Throughout the novel, though, are beautifully crafted moments of tenderness. When the dead, including Leonie’s murdered brother, make their appearances and their demands, no one in the family’s surprised. But their stories are deeply affecting, in no small part because of Ward’s brilliant writing and compassionate eye.”
A Conversation with Jesmyn Ward will take place at 7 p.m. on October 12, participation in the online event is free, and more information is available by visiting MolineLibrary.com and RockIslandLibrary.org.