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Author Profile: Jesmyn Ward

Each month, we research our authors so that you can learn more about their background and how their stories came to life.



Where she comes from & where she is now: Ward was born in DeLisle, Mississippi. Ward currently still lives in Mississippi. 

Where she studied: Ward has a B.A. in English and and M.A. in media studies from Stanford University.  She was the first in her family to attend college. Ward received her M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Michigan.

You might know her from: Ward’s work has received many accolades.  She has won the National Book Award two times, the first for her novel Salvage the Bones and the second for her most recent novel Sing, Unburied, Sing .  Her memoir Men We Reaped was shortlisted for the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award (Autobiography).  In 2017, she received one of the prestigious MacArthur “genius grants."

When’s she’s not writing: Ward is an associate professor of English at Tulane.  She has also taught at the University of South Alabama and the University of New Orleans. 

Ward on writing: “I feel like in every book that I commit to telling the truth about the place that I live in, and also about the kind of people who live in my community.” - Ward

There’s so much more to know: The above quote is from Ward’s interview with NPR on Fresh Air in 2017.   Listen to the full interview here.