This event will be held in person until further notice.
Hailed as “the new Toni Morrison” by the American Booksellers Association, MacArthur Genius and two-time National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward is the author of fiction, nonfiction, and memoir that the New York Times Book Review called “raw, beautiful and dangerous.” In 2017, she became 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, and John Updike. Ward’s novels, primarily set on Mississippi’s Gulf Coast, are deeply informed by the trauma of Hurricane Katrina. Her newest novel, the critically acclaimed Sing, Unburied, Sing, won the 2017 National Book Award. Named “a searing, urgent read for anyone who thinks the shadows of slavery and Jim Crow have passed,” it was named one of the best books of 2017 by the New York Times, Time, Washington Post, and Publisher's Weekly. The novel was also nominated for the PEN/Faulkner Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Aspen Words Literary Prize. Ward’s latest is Navigate Your Stars, an adaptation of her 2018 Tulane University Commencement speech that champions the value of hard work and the importance of respect for oneself and others. Ward is a professor of creative writing at Tulane University and was named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People of 2018.