Join the Department of English as the Esther Freier Lecture Series presents novelist Jesmyn Ward reading from and discussing her new novel Let Us Descend (published by Scribner on Oct 24). Ward is the MacArthur Fellow and two-time National Book Award-winning author of Sing, Unburied, Sing and Salvage the Bones. Co-sponsored by the Department of African American and African Studies. This in-person event is free and open to the public. Captioning and ASL interpretation provided.
One thousand copies of Ward's book Let Us Descend will be given away. Winning registrants via a random drawing will be notified in advance with instructions on how to pick up books at the event.
Hailed as “the new Toni Morrison” by the American Booksellers Association, Ward is the youngest person to receive the Library of Congress’s Prize for American Fiction and the first woman and first person of color to win the National Book Award for Fiction twice—joining the ranks of William Faulkner, Saul Bellow, John Cheever, Philip Roth, and John Updike. Ward’s novels, primarily set on Mississippi’s Gulf Coast, are deeply informed by the trauma of Hurricane Katrina. Ward’s first historical novel, Let Us Descend—out this Oct—tells the story of an enslaved teenage girl sold by her white father after being separated from her mother. Let Us Descend incorporates elements of Dante’s Inferno, magical realism, and slave narratives to explore grief, resilience, imagination, and kinship.