Oct 102017

Author Jesmyn Ward (photo via Octavia Books credited to Beowulf Sheehan)

Author Jesmyn Ward — a writer-in-residence at Tulane University who was last week nominated for her second National Book Award — will read from her acclaimed new novel “Sing, Unburied, Sing” at Octavia Books tonight (Tuesday, Oct. 10) and Garden District Book Shop on Thursday.

Ward’s event will start at 6 p.m. today at Octavia Books, 513 Octavia Street, and at 6 p.m. Thursday at Garden District Book Shop, 2727 Prytania Street.

For more details about the book, see the following information from Octavia’s website.

Please join us for a very special evening when National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward returns to Octavia Books for the New Orleans launch of her highly-anticipated novel, “SING, UNBURIED, SING.”

In Jesmyn Ward’s first novel since her National Book Award–winning “Salvage the Bones,” this singular American writer brings the archetypal road novel into rural twenty-first-century America. Drawing on Morrison and Faulkner, The Odyssey and the Old Testament, Ward gives us an epochal story, a journey through Mississippi’s past and present that is both an intimate portrait of a family and an epic tale of hope and struggle. Ward is a major American writer, multiply awarded and universally lauded, and in “Sing, Unburied, Sing” she is at the height of her powers.

Jojo and his toddler sister, Kayla, live with their grandparents, Mam and Pop, and the occasional presence of their drug-addicted mother, Leonie, on a farm on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. Leonie is simultaneously tormented and comforted by visions of her dead brother, which only come to her when she’s high; Mam is dying of cancer; and quiet, steady Pop tries to run the household and teach Jojo how to be a man. When the white father of Leonie’s children is released from prison, she packs her kids and a friend into her car and sets out across the state for Parchman farm, the Mississippi State Penitentiary, on a journey rife with danger and promise.

“SING, UNBURIED, SING” grapples with the ugly truths at the heart of the American story and the power, and limitations, of the bonds of family. Rich with Ward’s distinctive, musical language, “Sing, Unburied, Sing” is a majestic new work and an essential contribution to American literature.

Jesmyn Ward received her MFA from the University of Michigan and was a recipient of a Stegner Fellowship, a John and Renee Grisham Writers Residency, and the Strauss Living Prize. She is currently an associate professor of creative writing at Tulane University and author of the novels “Where the Line Bleeds” and “Salvage the Bones,” which won the 2011 National Book Award. She is also the author of the memoir, “Men We Reaped,” which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and won the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize and the Media for a Just Society Award. She lives in Mississippi.

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