Friday, February 7, 2020, 7:30 PM
Moss Arts Center, 190 Alumni Mall, Blacksburg, VA 24061
Street and Davis Performance Hall, Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre
$25 general admission
$10 students with ID and youth 18 and under, 20%-30% subscription discounts available
MacArthur Genius and two-time National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward has been described as the standout writer of her generation. The first woman and the first person of color to win two National Book Awards for Fiction—joining the ranks of Faulkner, Bellow, Cheever, Roth, and Updike—Ward’s novels Sing, Unburied, Sing (2017) and Salvage the Bones (2011) build deep empathy for the human condition. Described as “the new Toni Morrison” by Betsy Burton of the American Booksellers Association, Ward’s stories are largely set on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, where she grew up and still lives, and her writing is deeply informed by the trauma of Hurricane Katrina. She is currently an associate professor of creative writing at Tulane University.
Ward proves her “fearless and toughly lyrical” voice in novels, memoir, and nonfiction. Ward’s memoir, Men We Reaped, delves into the five years of Ward’s life in which she lost five young men—to drugs, accidents, suicide, and the bad luck that follows poor people and people of color. Lauded by Kirkus Reviews as a “modern rejoinder to Black Like Me [and] Beloved,” Men We Reaped is a beautiful and painful homage to Ward’s ghosts and the haunted yet hopeful place she calls home. Men We Reaped won the Heartland Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.
Ward is the also the editor of the critically acclaimed anthology The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race, which NPR named one of the Best Books of 2016. Taking James Baldwin’s 1963 examination of race in America, The Fire Next Time, as a jumping-off point, this groundbreaking collection features essays and poems about race from the most important voices of our time—including Edwidge Danticat, Natasha Trethewey, Isabel Wilkerson, Mitchell S. Jackson, Kiese Laymon, and Claudia Rankine.