Jesmyn Ward

Even before she received the 2017 National Book Award for fiction - her second such honor (in three novels), Jesmyn Ward’s evening here would be an occasion of note. Author of two earlier novels - Where the Line Bleeds (being newly reissued) and the National Book Award-winning Salvage the Bones - she has also edited a vital, important anthology with over twenty writers contributing, The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race. This past fall saw publication of the current NBA winner, her haunting, beautifully written novel, Sing, Unburied, Sing (Scribner).

"While the magical element is new in Ward’s fiction, her allusiveness, anchored in her interest in the politics of race, has been pointing in this direction all along. It takes a touch of the spiritual to speak across chasms of age, class, and color ... The signal characteristic of Ward’s prose is its lyricism. “I’m a failed poet,” she has said. The length and music of Ward’s sentences owe much to her love of catalogues, extended similes, imagistic fragments, and emphasis by way of repetition ... The effect, intensified by use of the present tense, can be hypnotic. Some chapters sound like fairy tales. This, and her ease with vernacular language, puts Ward in fellowship with such forebears as Zora Neale Hurston and William Faulkner." -The New Yorker.

Sing, Unburied, Sing is a road novel turned on its head, and a family story with its feet to the fire. Lyric and devastating, Ward's unforgettable characters straddle past and present in this spellbinding return to the rural Mississippi of her first book.  You'll never read anything like it.”—Ayana Mathis.



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Wednesday, January 17, 2018 - 7:30pm
Benaroya Hall
200 University
Seattle, WA 98101
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