Mississippi native Jesmyn Ward, the first woman and first person of color to win two National Book Awards for fiction, will present a public reading Tuesday, April 12, sharing with the Mississippi State community excerpts from her nationally acclaimed writing.
The 7 p.m. MSU event in Lee Hall’s Bettersworth Auditorium is free and open to the public. Sponsors are the university’s Division of Access, Diversity and Inclusion; Division of Student Affairs; African American Studies; and the Department of English.
The National Book Award first was created in 1950 and today is considered one of the most prestigious literary prizes in the country.
“It truly is an honor to have Ms. Ward engage with our MSU faculty, staff, students and Starkville community,” said MSU Vice President for Access, Diversity and Inclusion Ra’Sheda Forbes. “Not only is she a prolific writer with numerous accolades, but she is a Mississippian which provides a deeper connection and understanding of the history and experiences.”
Ward received National Book Awards for her novels “Salvage the Bones” (Bloomsbury, 2011), and “Sing, Unburied, Sing” (Scribner, 2017). Additionally, she is the author of the novel “Where the Line Bleeds” (Scribner, 2008) and the anthology “The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race” (Scribner, 2016), as well as the memoir “Men We Reaped” (Bloomsbury, 2013), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.
Ward accepted a Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University from 2008-10 and was the John and Renée Grisham Writer in Residence at the University of Mississippi for the 2010-11 academic year. In 2016, the American Academy of Arts and Letters selected Ward for the Strauss Living Award for literary excellence. A Master of Fine Arts graduate of the University of Michigan, Ward currently is a professor of creative writing at Tulane University.