Jesmyn Ward

Jesmyn Ward is an American novelist and an associate professor of English at Tulane University. She is best known for her novels 'Salvage the Bones,' which won the 2011 National Book Award for Fiction, and 'Sing, Unburied, Sing,' which won the same award in 2017. Ward's work explores themes of poverty, race, and family in the rural South. She is the first woman and the first person of color to win two National Book Awards for Fiction.

Books

This list of books are ONLY the books that have been ranked on the lists that are aggregated on this site. This is not a comprehensive list of all books by this author.

  1. 1. Sing, Unburied, Sing

    The novel explores the journey of a 13-year-old boy, his drug-addicted mother, and his baby sister as they travel through Mississippi to pick up their white father from the state penitentiary. The story is steeped in the harsh realities of poverty, racism, and struggle, and is further complicated by the presence of a ghost from the family's past. It's a haunting tale about the legacy of trauma and the power of family ties.

  2. 2. Salvage the Bones: A Novel

    Set in a poor rural community in Mississippi, this novel follows the story of a pregnant teenage girl named Esch and her three brothers as they navigate their lives in the days leading up to Hurricane Katrina. Their mother is dead and their father is a neglectful alcoholic, leaving the siblings to fend for themselves. The book explores themes of poverty, racism, and survival, showcasing the resilience and strength of the human spirit in the face of adversity.

  3. 3. Men We Reaped

    This memoir is a poignant exploration of the author's life growing up in a poor, rural, predominantly black community in the Southern United States, and the tragic deaths of five young men close to her, including her brother. Through her personal experiences, the author provides a powerful critique of systemic and institutional racism, poverty, and the lack of opportunities for black men in America. The narrative weaves together these stories of loss, revealing the devastating impact of societal inequities on marginalized communities.