National Book Award Winner Jesmyn Ward to Read at Marymount on April 8

The public is invited to a free reading by National Book Award-winning author Jesmyn Ward at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, April 8 at Marymount University’s Reinsch Library Auditorium, 2807 North Glebe Road. A reception and book signing will follow.

Ward’s latest work, “Men We Reaped,” was read by hundreds of Marymount composition students this year, part of an annual tradition that concludes with the selected author visiting campus. Also chosen for the community-wide Arlington Reads, the author will discuss the book at the Arlington Central Library that night at 7 p.m.

The acclaimed 2013 memoir focuses on five young black men lost to drugs, accidents, murder and suicide in the author’s hometown of DeLisle, Mississippi. The dead include her younger brother, killed by a drunken driver.

Ward, an associate professor of English at Tulane University, won the 2011 National Book Award for her novel, “Salvage the Bones.”

“This trim, fiercely poetic novel takes place in the fictional town of Bois Sauvage, Mississippi, in the 10 days leading up to Hurricane Katrina,” wrote Ron Charles, editor of the Washington Post’s Book World.

“On one level, ‘Salvage the Bones’ is a simple story about a poor black family that’s about to be trashed by one of the most deadly hurricanes in U.S. History,” Charles wrote. “What makes the novel so powerful, though, is the way Ward winds private passions with that menace gathering force out in the Gulf of Mexico. Without a hint of pretension, in the simple lives of these poor people living among chickens and abandoned cars, she evokes the tenacious love and desperation of classical tragedy.”

Publishers Weekly called Ward’s debut novel, 2009’s Where the Line Bleeds, “Starkly beautiful…a fresh new voice in American fiction.”

Photo Captions:

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Jessmyn Ward
Photo credit:  Tony Cook

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Acclaimed author Jessmyn Ward reads from “Men We Reaped” on April 8 at Marymount University.